Spring rolls, the perfect appetizer. Who doesn’t order spring rolls when out to eat at a restaurant? They’re quick to make, taste great and are just the right amount of food while you wait for your meal. This was my thought process one day last year while I was visiting a little restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala.
After walking in circles for an hour, very hungry, I decided on a Thai restaurant that I passed by four or five times (why didn’t I just go in the first time I walked by and save myself the trouble? I’ll never learn. Sigh). I had no expectations for the food I ordered, but when it came to the table, I was impressed before I even took a bite. The filling was loaded with sauteed vegetables and noodles, and mixed with a peanut sauce, wrapped in rice paper.
Anytime I had seen Vietnamese spring rolls before that, the filling was always your typical raw, sliced veg and a piece of lettuce, with a side of dipping sauce. Really boring, lacking flavor, and would rely on the sauce to make it taste good. But these spring rolls looked like a winner, and tasted better than I imagined. I was immediately inspired, and added it to my list of food to recreate when I got home.
My version tastes a bit different than what you’ll find at that restaurant, but one thing is for sure, is that they raised the bar when it comes to spring rolls.
- ¼ cup Peanut Butter (100% Peanuts, no additives)
- ¼ cup Rice Vinegar
- ⅛ cup Soy Sauce
- ⅛ cup Sesame Oil
- ⅛ cup Honey (use agave if vegan)
- Juice of ½ Lime
- ½ Tbsp Ginger Root
- 1 Garlic Clove
- ½ -1 tsp Chili Flakes
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 Onions, sliced (about 3 cups)
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp Ginger Root. minced
- 1 small Carrot, shredded (1 cup)
- 1 Bell Pepper, diced (1 cup)
- ½ cup Firm Tofu, cut into cubes
- ⅛ cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 50 g of Rice Noodles
- 10 sheets of Rice Paper
- Saute onions in oil with the salt on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook 5 more minutes.
- While vegetables are cooking, prepare rice noodles by placing in boiling water until soft, then drain in a colander and set aside.
- Prepare sauce by placing all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Return to your vegetables, and add carrots, green pepper, and tofu. Cook another 5 minutes, then add rice noodles, cilantro and pour in sauce. Mix together and remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if you’d like.
- Begin assembling wraps, by placing rice paper in a bowl of warm water until soft and place on cutting board or clean surface. Place 1/3 cup of filling at the bottom of the wrap, leaving about an inch of space. Fold the sides over, then fold the bottom of the wrap over top the filling, tucking it tight around the filling. Roll the wrap up, keeping it tight. Repeat the process until all of the filling is gone.