March is a wild month. It’s the beginning of Spring in the Southwest, but Winter still occasionally shows its teeth, bringing low temperatures, freezing rain, snow and nasty winds. It’s enough to make a tropical creature sob. This past Saturday I fought back, ignoring the cloudy skies, the intermittent rain and the 25mph winds… I went ahead and brought a burst of Spring air into the house.
VIETNAMESE-STYLE SPRING ROLLS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
4 rice paper rounds
1 oz dry bean threads or rice vermicelli
cooked shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
carrots, cut in long julienne strips
cucumbers, cut in long matchstick pieces
lettuce, cut in strips
for dipping sauce
6 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs water
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Cut the vegetables, cook the shrimp, and have everything ready to use on your kitchen counter. Prepare the dipping sauce by mixing well all its ingredients.
Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package (they vary according to type). Rinse them in cold water and set aside (you can add a tiny bit of sesame oil or olive oil to prevent them from sticking, but it’s not absolutely necessary if you rinse them well).
Fill a bowl large enough to hold the rice paper with very warm water. Open a damp cloth over your work surface. Soak the rice paper in the warm water until it is soft and pliable. Carefully lift it and place it over the damp cloth. Line your ingredients, starting with the cut shrimp, then the noodles, veggies, herbs. Add 1/2 tsp of dipping sauce (or just a few sprinkles of soy sauce) to the filling, and roll the paper around them. Repeat with the remaining rice papers. To serve, cut each roll at an angle and serve with a small bowl of dipping sauce.
Think about birds chirping, flowers blooming, and ENJOY!
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: What I love about these rolls is that you can improvise and use lots of different things in the filling. Granted, this practice might compromise their authenticity, but unless you’re having a Vietnamese guest for lunch, no harm done. Keep in mind that you can have too much of a good thing: avoid using 6 different veggies, two types of meat, 5 herbs, and a smear of peanut butter inside. 😉 These rolls are supposed to be delicate, fresh, and light. Perfect for the warm weather that is certainly peeking at us (fingers crossed).
Click here for a quick tutorial on how to prepare them (plus a cool song in the background!)…