Fresh Spring Rolls with Spicy Prawns and Summer Greens
Yield: 6 rolls
I remember visiting a Southeast Asian market in New York City with my family when I was about 11 years old and discovering these gem-like, translucent rolls filled with all kinds of delicious things. We sat down at their two small tables and shared what I remember to be my favorite meal that whole vacation. Since then I have made them in countless situations and I love them more each time! Working with rice wrappers may seem a bit intimidating, but with the smallest amount of practice and a healthy sense of fun, you too can become an immediate expert. Just imagine the possibilities!
- 6 to 9 large cooked prawns, peeled, tails removed Add to list
- 2 cloves garlic, minced Add to list
- 1 teaspoon lime juice Add to list
- 2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce plus extra for dipping Add to list
- A few red pepper flakes (optional) Add to list
- 1 teaspoon salt Add to list
- 6 rice paper wrappers Add to list
- 1 to 2 cups cooked thin rice noodles Add to list
- 1/2 English cucumber, cut into thin strips about 3 inches long Add to list
- 1 carrot, cut into thin strips about 3 inches long Add to list
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips about 3 inches long Add to list
- 18 cilantro sprigs Add to list
- 1 cup loosely packed summery greens such as arugula, spinach, watercress, mustard greens, etc. Add to list
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into slices Add to list
Cut each cooked prawn in half lengthwise and toss together with the garlic, lime juice, 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, red pepper flakes and salt. Keep chilled until ready to use.
Have all of your ingredients prepped and at hand before starting to prepare the rolls. Fill a teapot or saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. You will dip your rice wrappers in hot — but not simmering — water; the water in your dipping vessel will cool rapidly, so it’s a good idea to have a back-up to replace it.
Fill a deep pie plate 3/4 full of hot water. Hold a rice wrapper with your hands in the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position and dip it into the water, spinning the wrapper with your hands, to completely submerge it. The wrapper will immediately begin to soften. Your goal is to have the wrapper malleable but not so soft it dissolves into a gelatinous, free-form sculpture. When the wrapper has softened to the degree that it is flexible, remove it to a clean work surface and lay it out flat. If it is still a little chewy, you can pat or brush some hot water onto its surface and wait a few seconds for it to absorb and soften. If it has some wrinkles, worry not. Those are just beauty marks!
Starting in the lower 1/3 of the wrapper, place 2 or 3 prawn halves, curved-side down, on the wrapper. Leave yourself at least 1 inch of space at either end to fold it over. Layer on a bundle of noodles (about 3 tablespoons or so), then 2 to 3 strips each of cucumber, carrot and red bell pepper. Top with 3 cilantro sprigs, a few leaves of summer greens, and finish with a couple slices of avocado.
Lift the flap of the rice wrapper closest to you and fold it over the filling, tucking it in tightly with your fingers. Continue rolling forward about half way up the wrapper. Next, tuck the ends of the wrapper in (like a burrito) and continue rolling, pulling gently backwards to keep the roll tight.
Repeat with the remaining wrappers and ingredients. Keep your work surface wiped down with hot water between each roll you make. Place the rolls on a platter, separated, to keep them from sticking together.
Cut each roll in half to showcase your artistic endeavors and serve with Thai sweet chili sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.
Recipe by, PCC Chef
Source: Demonstrated on KING 5's "Gardening with Ciscoe" show, which aired on May 11, 2013.
ABOUT OUR CHEF: Lynne Vea
Lynne Vea is a graduate of the Executive Chef Program at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and has been cooking with PCC Natural Markets since 2001. Featured on King-5’s "Gardening with Ciscoe," she demonstrates easy and delicious recipes using seasonal ingredients.
Lynne is an admired PCC Cooks instructor, teaching a variety of popular PCC Cooks classes throughout the year.
She loves to collect old cookbooks, hunt for wild berries, and cook seven-course dinners where the guests are encouraged to dance and cavort between courses.
Find more recipes from Lynne.