How to Make Spring Rolls with Thai Peanut Sauce from Scratch
I love the local Thai place, but unfortunately, it is one of the higher-end restaurants in my town—meaning that it's quite expensive. I was reluctant to try their fresh spring rolls as an appetizer, especially since I had my eye on their fried, crispy spring rolls with a side of sweet chili sauce.
The fresh spring rolls ended up being so tasty, and I loved the fact that I felt like I could make them at home. I mean, they were basically some sort of gummy-like wrapper, fresh veggies, and some hints of ginger and basil. I didn't feel guilty about eating them because they weren't fried, like the crispy rolls were.
- 1 Head Romaine Lettuce, (Rolls)
- 2 Leaves Red Cabbage, (Rolls)
- 1 Cup Shredded Carrot, (Rolls)
- 5 - 6 Green Onions, (Rolls)
- 10 - 12 Spring Roll Wrappers, (Rolls)
- 3 Tbsp Water, (Sauce)
- 2 Tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter, (Sauce)
- 1 Tbsp Peanuts, (Sauce)
- 1 Tsp Ginger, Grated, (Sauce)
- 1 Tsp Garlic, Minced, (Sauce)
- 1 Tsp Fresh Lime Juice, (Sauce)
- 1 Tsp Brown Sugar, (Sauce)
- 1/2 Tsp Soy Sauce, (Sauce)
Finding the Wrappers
I had some trouble finding the rice wrappers, but I eventually found these Blue Dragon ones at a specialty "natural" grocery store. They're about a dollar cheaper on Amazon, so that's where I have been ordering them the last few times. I was so excited to finally get them though. I was shocked that a wrapper was only 30 calories. Using them turned out to be a little difficult.
Preparing the Spring Roll Wrappers
- Locate a bowl or plate that can hold water and is large enough to fit the spring roll wrappers in.
- Place the wrapper in the water and let it soak. You will only want to wet one at a time. It won't save you time to wet more and will end up being problematic for several reasons.
- Watch the wrapper as it wets, and try to cover the entire wrapper with water, including the center and the edges. Try to prevent the edges from curling up, because you will risk getting long tears in your wrapper. Little tears here and there won't ruin your wrappers.
- If you have a wooden cutting board, grab it and spread a little water over the area you will be working on with your spring roll. If you are going to be working on a hard, non-porous kind of surface, I would probably avoid wetting the surface, but it may be a little more difficult. You want the wrapper to be wet, but when it is time to roll the spring roll, you want it to be lightly tacky. If your wrapper is too slippery, then it is too wet, and it will likely tear a lot while rolling. A wooden cutting board allows for you to keep the surface lightly damp, making it a good surface to work on.
- Lay the wrapper flat on your surface and place the ingredients of your spring roll in the center. Try to keep the ingredients as flat and as together as possible. If your ingredients are all over the place, it's going to be hard to try and gather all the ingredients together while rolling the wrapper. Also try to keep the ingredients more towards one end of the wrapper.
Mixing the Filling
My spring rolls are pretty simple:
- I chopped up some carrots, red cabbage, lettuce, and green onions.
- Then, I grated fresh ginger with a hand grater and sprinkled a few pieces on top—I love that extra bite of the ginger. And it is so fragrant.
- I also like to squeeze a little fresh lime juice over the top.
- I, unfortunately, forgot the diced basil to throw on top, but that's okay. Even with minimal ingredients these spring rolls still taste delicious, especially with this sweet Thai peanut sauce.
Putting It All Together
Once you have all your ingredients on there, it is time to try and make a wrap with the roll.
- Cut the lettuce and cabbage into thin strips and dice the green onions.
- Layer the lettuce, cabbage, carrot and green onions on wrappers. Top with freshly grated ginger and squeezes of lime juice.
- You may have to wait a minute or two for the wrapper to become tacky. You don't want to play with the wrapper too much if it is still quite wet from soaking. I ended up throwing out a roll because I was a little impatient and did it while it was really wet. There were too many tears for it to even hold together.
- Once tacky, place the filling on the paper.
- Fold the edges of the spring roll wrapper over, as depicted in the side picture.
- If you're using a cutting board, rotate it so the ingredients are horizontal in front of you. This will making rolling easier. If you are doing this on just the table, you'll probably have to orient your body to make rolling it easier. Simply grab the end of the wrapper, tuck the ingredients in, and start rolling. You may have to poke the edges of the rolled part so that ingredients don't fall out of the ends.
Finishing Touch: Sauce
You'll definitely want a dipping sauce to bring all this together,and make it feel like one coherent kind of piece. I love, love, love serving this with a chunky, sweet peanut sauce or a sweet chili sauce.
- Combine peanut butter, 2 tbsp hot water, and grated ginger.
- Lightly mix, then put in microwave for 10-15 seconds.
- Take out and mix until texture is more even.
- Add minced garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, Sweet Ginger Rajili Sauce, 1 tbsp hot water, and mix until texture is even completely even.
My peanut sauce recipe calls for a sort of sweet kind of spicy sauce to add to it. I like using Frank's Red Hot Sweet Ginger Rajili sauce or their Sweet Chili sauce for this recipe. If you've never tried any of these sauces before, I recommend purchasing the Sweet Chili sauce version- it's a little more versatile, and I think it's more of a sauce that anyone can like. I've used the Sweet Chili sauce version in soups and on Chinese fried sweet and sour chicken balls. It's a really awesome dip for chicken tenders.
The peanut sauce is also versatile. I've used it on Thai inspired salads—and it actually tastes like the peanut sauce on Panera Bread's Spicy Thai Chicken Salad.
The Rajili version is the sauce I happened to have on hand, so I used it in the peanut sauce, as well as adding a fancy drizzle over the tops of the rolls and on the peanut sauce dip.
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