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Friday, June 4, 2010

Fresh spring rolls and pepper garlic dipping sauce

Fresh spring roll with pepper garlic sauce.

Soaking the rice paper in hot water.

Ingredients for fresh spring rolls.

Rice noodles (you pre-cook them like spaghetti).

Rice paper (you dip this in hot water to make it pliable).

The lovely Sakham came over this morning and showed me how to make fresh spring rolls. You buy rice paper (see picture) and that is the wrapper.

These are great as a meal (eat two or three) or as a snack (one or two). She said you can put just about any vegetables/meat inside, depending on your preference. Today we used:

green onion
baby romaine
bean sprouts
purple cabbage
european cucumber
rice noodles (cooked)
slice turkey from Costco

So you put all of your veggies in bowls, so you can assemble your rolls quickly and efficiently.

You need a big bowl of steaming water to make your rice paper soft (see picture). Then you lay it out on a plate and start assembling your roll. I found that putting lettuce, then the turkey, green onion, mint, cabbage, cilantro, noodles, cucumber worked well in this order. Then you roll it up fairly tight, like a burrito, bringing the edges in as you roll it. Then you wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate, unless you are going to eat them right away. They will keep fresh in the refrig for 24 hours.

Saykham also recommended making this pepper/garlic sauce (see picture):

Toast some peanuts in a pan and crush them in small pieces, set them aside.
Put 1 1/2 cups water in a pan and heat it a little bit, add a teaspoon of sugar, the juice of half a lemon, a couple teaspoons of soy sauce, red pepper chopped fine, garlic chopped fine and then you let all of it emulsify and cool. Then when you are ready to serve you put your peanuts on top.

Sorry I don't have exact measurements for all of this, I gather Saykham has made this her whole life, since she was a girl, so she doesn't use a cup of this and a half a cup of that, if you know what I mean.

Her story of how she came to the United States is quite interesting. She is from Laos originally and then made it to Thailand where she was in a refugee camp for 6 months with her two small children. I cannot imagine all of the difficulties she and her children must have undergone.

I digress. Make these fresh spring rolls. Your tastebuds will dance with the flavors of fresh mint and cilantro. I had two already and it is only 10:30 am!

Happy cooking.

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