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Simple Veggie Spring Rolls

April 17, 2010 - Jill Anderson

Good evening!  It has been a couple of weeks since my last blog and I apologize for that.   We actually had company for part of that time and I had a computer problem that strikes fear and loathing into the hearts of every one who owns a PC...the blue screen of death!

While writing an article one morning I got a strange flicker and then a DOS screen came up.  Ten seconds later, the entire screen went solid blue and that was that.  That is a sight NO writer ever wants to see.  The good news is that my data was retrievable.  With that nightmare behind I hope to resume writing for all my publications this week and continue work on my new cookbook. 

Spring Has Sprung 

It is about time!  Spring always puts me in the mood for dishes with vibrant color and of course tender spring vegetables like young asparagus.  The recipe I have for you today takes advantage of a couple of spring vegetables.  It is hardly a recipe at all; more of a method.

You may use any fresh veggies that you have on hand, the more colorful the better.  The important thing in this recipe is cutting them all approximately the same size, which is "match stick" or julienned  pieces.  There are actually some nifty little hand held garnishing gadgets for making match sticks now.

Thai One On 

I love the flavors in Thai food.   Fresh cilantro, lime juice, peanuts, coconut and sesame oil; to name a few.  For those of us with hypertention or who are just watching our sodium intake, we often find dipping sauces off limits.  Unfortunately many are soy sauce based and as such have ridiculously high sodium content.

The dipping sauce for these Simple Veggie Spring Rolls is as light and healthy as they are.  I have forgone the soy sauce in favor of bright, tart lime juice.  It is a perfect foil to the creamy, rich coconut milk base. 

The rice paper wraps can be found in any Thai, Vietnamese or Asian market.  Some specialty markets carry them as well.  My adopted sister is from Burma (called Maymar now) and she was a sushi chef for years.  She is the one who taught me how to use rice paper wraps.  Its actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it.

These paper thin sheets of rice and or tapioca starch are submerged for a few seconds in warm water to soften them.  Lay the softened sheets out on a clean flat surface and fill with your veggies.  Simply roll over once to cover the filling, tuck the sides in to the middle and continue to roll to the end.  Don't worry if you mess up the first couple of times.  We all do! 

Simple Veggie Spring Rolls with Coconut Cilantro Dipping Sauce

  • 3-4 cups of organic fresh raw or lightly steamed veggies of choice**
  • about 1 cup of fresh organic watercress or baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 package rice paper spring roll wraps
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons minced cilantro
  • juice of half a lime
  • honey or agave nectar to taste

**spring rolls in pictures are made from lightly steamed asparagus spears, julienne carrots, cucumbers, red bell peppers, shredded radiccio and red onions.

  1. Prepare all veggies and have ready to fill wraps.  You will find it much easier to roll the wraps if vegetables are "lined up" and stacked as opposed to just heaped on the rice paper unevenly.
  2. You will need a bowl large enough to submerge rice paper without bending or breaking it.  Fill with hot tap water.  Working quickly; dip one wrap at a time in hot water for about 5 seconds or until it is pliable enough to roll.  If you leave it too long in the water it will become sticky and hard to handle.
  3. Lay wrap out on a clean work surface or large plate.  Layer with veggies.  As you practice, making neat layers or designs with your vegetables will become easier.  Start by placing veggies an inch or two from the edge of wrap.  Fold that edge up over the veggies and roll once.  Fold sides into the center and roll up the rest of the way.  Lay spring rolls on platter seam side down.  Rice paper will stick to itself.  Repeat until all filling is used.  You will have rice paper left over to make more spring rolls later.
  4. Lightly brush the outsides of spring rolls with peanut oil.

Coconut Cilantro Dipping Sauce

  1. Place coconut milk in a small bowl and add cilantro, lime juice and honey to taste (agave for vegans).  The sauce is thin so don't expect it to thicken up.  Its simply used to dip the spring rolls in.

Appetizer or Light Lunch

These beautiful, healthful little morsels can be cut in half and stood cut end up on a platter.  They make a beautiful appetizer tray or light lunch.  You definately don't have to feel guilty about eating them either.   Without the dipping sauce the calories are negligable.  Even with the sauce, they are still a calorie bargain unless of course you DRINK the sauce!

Todays Food Quote

"By the time they had diminished from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect 'HUNGRY'......" 

-Gary Larson, The Far Side, humorist

 
 

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