Several years ago, a friend offered to bring soup to my house to share for lunch. When she asked what kind I like, I told her most everything, so bring whatever she wanted and surprise me! She wowed me by bringing a wonderful ginger rice soup with fresh vegetables from International Market (a local Asian market/diner) along with a little carton of fresh veggie spring rolls with a super tasty sweet-sour-peanutty sauce for dipping. I loved it. I could have dipped anything in that sauce and been happy. I began to crave this flavorful, unique and very healthy meal.
A few years later, I was looking on Pei Wei's website (P.F.Chang's more casual restaurant- if you aren't familiar) to check out the nutritional information and see what might be my healthiest option. I found these Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls. When I tasted them, I realized they were much like those yummy spring rolls from the International Market, but with chicken in addition to the veggies. They too are served with a sweet chile sauce that is super tasty as well as a peanut sauce for dipping.
I decided they couldn't be too difficult to make, so I attempted these at home. They worked! My philosophy about these spring rolls is much like my philosophy on Wraps (which I wrote about a few weeks ago) but with an Asian twist. I look at all the veggies and herbs I have and see what I think would be tasty together (and what my eaters might eat) and throw it in rice paper and wrap it up.
And the sauce is really key.
I think we have had these 3 times, and I have tweaked the sauces each time.
I have bought some, made some and doctored up some bought sauces.
We have served it with soy sauce, peanut sauce, duck sauce (sweet and sour), and sweet chili sauce. A favorite is duck sauce with a few drops of Sriracha and some chopped peanuts!
Just like a good salad dressing really makes the salad, the sauces for these veggie-filled rolls makes them so tasty!
Here's what you do:
The wraps can be filled with:
First, prep the fillings (washing, cutting, chopping, etc.) If you are including rice noodles as a filling, prepare those.
Prepare rice paper one at a time and fill with the goodies of your choice.
Place on a plate.
These can be made ahead and refrigerated too, which is nice.
We have been eating ours accompanied by steamed edamame and rice and sometimes sliced melon or other fruit. (Since I believe fruit goes with every meal).
Our favorite twist on rice when serving Asian dishes is to prepare the rice with Coconut Milk as the majority of the liquid in place of water. My friend Melissa S. introduced us to this when she came for dinner a couple of years ago. I feared it would taste too coconutty and "obvious" for my kids, but it doesn't. It is creamy and tasty and adds such a nice subtle difference to the rice. You must try it!
I just add a can of light coconut milk to my rice. If I am making 2 cups of rice, I use the can's amount (usually about 2 cups milk) and use water for the remaining 2 cups of liquid called for with 2 cups of dry rice. (And a sprinkling of kosher salt).
Don't be afraid to try making these Salad Spring Rolls!
It is really not difficult.
And my kids really like it. (Though last time Asher told me I went a little heavy on the cilantro. I think I was so excited that my cilantro was growing in my garden that I didn't hold back.)