Where did Spring go? I have no idea what happened to the last few months, but all of a sudden, here we are. And this here and now is HOT. Weeks like this make me endlessly thankful for air conditioning. And even though we are enjoying the incredible luxury of central air while our neighbors sweat, I still have no desire to turn on the oven. There is nothing worse than a hot steamy kitchen on a hot steamy day.
So we’ve been eating a lot of spring rolls. This is cooking without cooking, and the results are flavorful, light and fresh – my kind of summer food. And like all my favorite recipes, there is really no recipe here. There is a technique, for sure. But as for the ingredients, well, that’s up to you.
You can pretty much stuff these light little rolls with just about anything that’s in your fridge. The fillings below are merely a suggestion, but I’ve used everything from shredded cooked chicken to pea shoots to fried tofu to Fuji apples. It pretty much all works. In terms of noodles, rice noodles are probably most traditional, and they work well. But I happened to have a box of angel hair pasta in my pantry so that’s what I used yesterday and they were lovely. I’ve also used seaweed noodles and soba noodles. They all are just fine – or you can feel free to leave out the noodles all together.
Be patient with yourself when working with the rice paper wrappers. Try not to overstuff the rolls, and you’ll get the hang of it. And have fun!
2 cups cooked angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 cup chopped lettuce
1 cup sliced snow peas, cut in long thin strips
1 cup sliced bell pepper, cut in long thin strips
1 cup sliced mango, cut in long thin strips
1/4 cup chopped scallion
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
25 dry rice paper spring roll wrappers (the package will contain many more!)
2/3 cup bottled sweet chili sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
Toss the pasta with the oil. Arrange the veggies, mango and herbs on a cutting board so that they are easily accessible. Fill a shallow dish, such as a pie plate, with warm water. Working with just one wrapper at a time, take one rice paper wrapper and soak it in the water until it softens, about 10 seconds. Once it is soft, remove the wrapper from the water and lay it on a flat surface. It may wrinkle a bit, and that’s fine. Place a small bit of pasta, lettuce, snow pea, pepper, mango, scallion, and basil in the center of the wrapper. Fold in the ends and then roll the wrapper closed to seal. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings. Meanwhile, to make the dipping sauce just wisk the chili sauce with the soy sauce. Serve the sauce with the spring rolls. These are best served right away but if you cover them well, they will keep a few hours in the fridge before the wrappers start to get a bit chewy.