Tara called and said, “Jump on a train, we’ll try some new recipes and enjoy my garden. We’ll start with Spring Rolls.”
I’ve never made Spring Rolls.
Alongside the flowers in planters… Tara planted herbs, which we used in the spring rolls.
Tara did the cooking. I took pictures, ate, talked, listened and learned.
First we went to Mitsuwa, in Arlington Heights, a Japanese specialty store for inspiration, rice skins and Sake.
Mitsuwa is huge. Produce, ingredients, products, liquor, books, a food court and bakery worth the trip. Fortified by a platter of their Smoky Seasoned Squid to stave off sampling the shrimp, we started.
All Season Fresh Spring Rolls
1 pound of cooked jumbo shrimp, shells and tails removed, or buy frozen 21-25 per pound, prepare, chill.*
1 package of Spring Roll skins, usually 60 in a pack and you can keep extras in a sealed plastic bag
5 ounces Brown Rice Vermicelli, soak, cook and drain
2 carrots, cleaned, shaved thin with vegetable peeler
2 ounces radish sprouts, if you like spicy-zing
2 ounces bean sprouts, if you like mild
fresh basil leaves
Iceberg or Bibb lettuce for storage.
You will need a 9X13 inch baking dish or pan filled with warm water to dip Spring Roll skins.
Prepare Shrimp. If cooked: Transfer to bowl and you’re ready to go. If frozen: Prepare according to directions on package and chill. If fresh: Partially fill a medium saucepan with water, a bay leaf , 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, and a lemon cut in half. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook until just pink— about 2-3 minutes. Drain shrimp and transfer to ice bath. Remove shells, tail, bay leaf, lemon and discard. If you see thin dark intestine-line, remove with paring knife and discard, it should come out in one piece. Chill.
Brown Rice vermicelli noodles: soak in clean water about 5 minutes, drain water off, place into boiling water 1-2 minutes drain. Ready to use.
Set up production line:
Bowls of shrimp, noodles, carrots, sprouts, basil, chives. Bread Board to assemble spring rolls.
Dip single rice skin in water in 9X13 inch pan of warm water 2-3 seconds. Place on work surface.
Allow about 2 inches down from top of rice skin to layer, start with noodles.
Assemble: On noodle base, a layer each of sprouts, carrot shaving, 2 shrimp, herbs, and start to roll.
Ooops! Don’t forget the herbs.
Fold 2 inch rice skin over top of filling, ½ way over starts to create tension, then tuck sides, seam side down, continue to roll. Follow the pictures, it’s much easier to do than describe.
* You know me and the asterisk. But, you can make these with avocado, crab, tofu, smoked salmon, or egg and black olive, instead of the shrimp.
Store fresh All Season Fresh Spring Rolls in Iceberg or Bibb lettuce under and between layers, in air tight container to keep moist.
Now for the Sauce…
Peanut Dipping Sauce:
1 fresh lime, juiced
½ cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
½ teaspoon Asian chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2-3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Use soy, honey or more lime to get the creaminess you desire. Taste, test and serve.