8 ½-inch rice paper wrappers
red leaf lettuce leaves
fresh mint leaves
fresh basil leaves
English cucumber, peeled and julienne (cut into long, thin strips)
carrot, peeled and julienne (cut into long, thin strips)
rice vermicelli* (thin rice sticks), cooked according to package instructions
Fill a bowl with warm water and place a rice paper in it just until it is pliable, about 30 seconds. Remove from the water and drain briefly on a lint-free kitchen towel. Place the wrapper on your work surface in front of you. You can lightly stretch the edges and stick it to the table to help it stay in place. Arrange a lettuce leaf or two in the bottom center of the wrapper. Top with a few torn mint and basil leaves. Top with a little cucumber and carrot then the rice noodles. You can add poached shrimp or lemongrass chicken, if desired. Fold the sides in, then roll up the spring rolls tightly, squeezing the filling to get a tight roll. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice, we made a peanut sauce.
*You can find a variety of rice vermicelli at any Asian grocer. They don’t always have cooking instructions on the package. Typically, for a fresh spring roll, we cover the noodles with very hot (almost boiling) water and allow to soak for 5-7 minutes or until tender, then drain. Let cool to room temperature before using in the summer rolls.
2 tablespoons hoisin
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon water
½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
½ tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, chopped
Stir together all ingredients but the chopped peanuts. Top the sauce with the chopped peanuts and serve.
1 pound chicken breast, cut into 2-inch chunks
For the marinade:
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 piece lemongrass, hard outer layers removed and discarded, inner portion chopped fine
¾ cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
¼ cup neutral oil like peanut, grapeseed or canola
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a blender and puree until smooth. Marinate the chicken for 2-3 hours. After marinating, skewer the chicken and grill or roast in a 375˚F oven until cooked through. If using wooden skewers to grill, don’t forgot to soak them in water before grilled to prevent burning.