I love Vietnamese-style spring rolls, which are made using rice paper wrappers. They are really quite simple to make, and no cooking is even necessary. Obviously, you could put any ingredients you like into your spring rolls. So this recipe is really just a starting point. I love fresh crab, for example, but you could substitute shrimp or ground pork or just use veggies. Be creative!
8 rice flour (or tapioca flour) spring roll wrappers
Approx. 2 ounces of rice vermicelli or bean thread noodles (very thin)
½ lb. cooked crab meat such as blue crab, Dungeness, snow crab, etc.
1 carrot, peeled and shredded or cut into thin strips
3 scallions, cut lengthwise into thin strips
1 small head of lettuce such as Bibb, Romaine or Iceberg, leaves julienned
Fresh basil leafs – I prefer Thai Holy Basil but any fresh basil or mint will do
Thin-sliced Thai peppers (optional)
1. Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain well, set aside to cool.
2. Gather all your filling ingredients on plates: fresh herbs, cooked noodles, crab or shrimp, vegetables, etc. and rice flour wrappers.
3. Fill a large bowl or pan with hot (not boiling) water. The pan needs to be wide enough to hold the spring roll wrappers.
4. To make the spring rolls, place one rice flour wrapper into the warm water for about 5 seconds. Remove the wrapper and dry it on a clean kitchen towel laid flat.
5. Place the now flexible and pliable wrapper on a plate.
6. Starting about one-third of the way from the bottom of the wrapper, place a tablespoon or two of crab meat, following by the rice noodles, scallions, carrots, lettuce and basil.
7. Roll the wrappers up tight, burrito-style, folding the opposing sides inward toward the center and finish rolling from bottom to top.
8. Place the spring roll on a serving plate and repeat with the process with remaining wrappers and fillings. Garnish with thin-sliced Thai peppers if you want to add some spiciness.
9. Serve cold or at room temperature with your favorite dipping sauce.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.