As promised I would be back with the next post on making crunchy vegetable spring rolls wrapped in thin spring roll papers along with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce that my husband and I learnt all about at a recent Cambodian cooking class. The reason I am excited about this recipe in particular is that you do not have to use any meat stuffing in it. So it is completely vegetarian (and vegan), so quick and hassle-free to assemble together and makes a quick appetizer to serve before any meal. That said shrimp, prawns or shredded chicken should pair very well in here, so you can make it meat-friendly if you wish to. So it is equally versatile in that respect.
Spring roll wrappers can be found in most Asian stores since it is a staple of most South-east Asian cuisines.This version I learnt below is perhaps closest to Vietnam’s version of fresh spring rolls called Gỏi cuốn consisting of pork, veggies, prawn and rice vermicelli wrapped in a rice paper served with a hot peanut dipping sauce. Seems like this style has been caught by neighboring Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
So to start with the four of us – my husband and me and two lovely ladies from South America who were attending the class with us – huddled around the Master Cambodian chef who was showing us how to submerge the spring roll wrappers in a round bowl of cold water. Then she pulled the wet and somewhat stretchy wrapper out, arrange the sliced vegetables neatly in it and wrapped and folded it. We were all pretty much in awe since it was the first time all of us were making these.
The end result was very pleasing – The crunchy veggies, wrapped around the thin spring roll paper and freshly made dipping sauce. Roasted peanuts is a good addition to the sauce since it gives it that crunch effect swirling around your tongue when chewing on the veggies.
4 spring roll wrappers
40 grams grated carrots
1 green cucumber cut in 1/8 inch long segments
20 basil leaves
4 salad leaves like romaine lettuce
40 ml water
1 tbsp lime juiced
1 tpsn mushroom stock*
¼ tpsn salt
1 tpsn palm sugar, melted with 3 Tbspn water
20 grams chopped roasted peanuts
*Make your own mushroom stock using a good quality organic stock cube. Add some hot water to it and make a thick paste out of it.
Wet the wrappers, lay on a chopping board or cleaned table surface. Ensure that the wrappers are submerged in water for not more than 20 sec else they will turn sticky glue-like and it will be difficult to work with them.
After removing them from water , work quickly on laying the vegetables in one line. Tightly hold one side and roll like you are assembling a tortilla wrap. Close from both ends and the moist wrapper begins to stick helping you close it out.
Place on wrapper and roll the wrapper turning in the ends. Cut each rolled spring roll into half to give you 2 pieces.
Mix all ingredients of the dipping serve to serve the wrapped spring rolls with it.