My weeknight meal requirement checklist looks something like this: healthy, delicious, packed with veggies, quick to throw together, cheap enough to make often. I give bonous points to recipes that are vegetarian or feel super treaty. For me, this meal checks off all the requirements while getting bonous points for being both meat-free AND treaty.
I have made these spring rolls in the past, but I’ve always treated them as a side dish and I was never crazy about the idea of packing them full of noodles. This time, I left out the noodles, loaded them with my favourite carrots and cukes from the farmer’s market and served them with what is now my go-to peanut sauce. (Seriously, the sauce is incredible. At first bite, I thought it was okay. As I continued to eat, I fell more and more in love with it. The red curry paste gives it a nice warmth while the toasted peanuts and caramelized sugar make it rich and complex. I want to eat some right now…) The result is a light and crunchy spring roll with a rich, filling, addictive dip.
Four to five rolls make a large and satisfying meal, or you could serve these as an appetizer with this tasty treat and trick your family into thinking you ordered take out. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Peanut Sauce, adapted from Fine Cooking:
yeilds 1.5 cups, or roughly 6 servings
1 T peanut oil
1 T Thai red curry paste (this is where all the heat comes from, so be aware of how spicy your paste is)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, finely ground in a food processor
2 T packed light brown sugar (palm sugar could be used here, but go with the granulated variety, not the solid variety)
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T hoisin sauce
1 1/2 T fish sauce
8 fresh basil leaves, minced
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the peanuts and stir until they’re just a shade darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to stir and cook until melted and lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, broth, lime juice, hoisin and fish sauce. Whisk until smooth and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1-1/2 cups. This will take roughly 45 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the basil, and cool to room temperature.
Fresh Spring Rolls:
yeilds 10 medium spring rolls
4-5 small cucumbers, julienne
4-5 medium carrots, julienne
1/2 an avodaco, sliced
handful fresh basil
10 rice paper wrappers
green or red leaf lettuce (optional)
bean sprouts (optional)
fresh mint (optional)
shredded chicken or pork (optional)
Get a wide, shallow bowl filled halfway with warm water. Setup a work space with a cutting board, all your prepped ingredients, the bowl of water, a plate to hold the spring rolls and a damp paper towel to cover the finished spring rolls.
Dip one rice paper in the water for 15-30 seconds until soft and pliable, then place it on your cutting board. On the top 1/3 of the wrapper, place carrots and cucumber (about 1/4 cup total), then add a slice of avocado, a big basil leaf and any other ingredients you are using. Tuck the top of the wrapper tightly over the filling, then roll away, folding in the sides about halfway. (For more thorough instructions, look here.) Place the finished spring roll on your plate and cover with the damp paper towel. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrappers.
Serve 5 rolls with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Dip and enjoy!