Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fresh Spring Rolls with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce (gluten-free)

This recipe for spring rolls combines cooked meat and veggies with some fresh grated carrots and bean threads. Rather than frying these rolls, they are eaten fresh.  They make a great, light dinner.

One thing I am still learning is how to roll these up nice and tight.  That seems like something that will come with lots of practice.  One other thing to note is that fresh spring rolls need to be prepared immediately before dinnertime, as they don't hold together very well if they sit in the fridge for very long because the wrappers are so delicate.

If you want to make this dish grain-free, just serve the cooked filling in a bowl, topped with the grated carrots, bean threads, and a drizzle of the Sesame Lime sauce.  

Fresh Spring Rolls with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce
Serves 4-6
  • For the cooked filling:
    • 2 Tb coconut oil or other high temperature cooking fat/oil 
    • 1/4 white onion, minced 
    • 3 baby bok choy cabbages, chopped finely (keep the white and green parts separated)
    • 8 ounces brown mushrooms, minced
    • one pound ground turkey, pork, and/or chicken
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • sea salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tsp mild-flavored honey
    • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 4 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 ounces bean threads (also known as cellophane noodles)
  • 12 rice spring roll wrappers (click here if you wonder why I use white rice instead of brown)
  • hot filtered water for soaking the bean threads and spring roll wrappers
  • Sesame lime dipping sauce (recipe follows)
  1. To prepare the filling, place the oil and onion in a skillet over medium heat.  Saute the onion for a few minutes, until it is translucent.
  2. Add the white parts from the bok choy and the mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Push the veggies to one side of the skillet.  Crumble the ground meat into the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and brown for a few minutes.  Then stir it all together and cook a bit more. 
  4. Add the green parts of the bok choy, garlic, honey, and rice vinegar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  (If desired, the preceding steps can be done early in the day or even the day before, and the filling can be refrigerated until it is time to make the spring rolls. Let the filling sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before you start rolling the spring rolls, just to take the chill off the filling.)
  6. Soak the bean threads in very hot water for 20-30 minutes, until they are nice and soft.  Drain well. 
  7. The spring roll wrappers need to be soaked in warm water one at a time as you roll them.  I found that a 9-inch cake pan filled with warm water worked perfectly for soaking the wrappers.  You can either cut the wrappers in half (as they are in shown in the pictures) or leave them whole for larger spring rolls.  You'll also need a couple clean damp kitchen towels: one to roll the spring rolls on and one to place the finished rolls on.
  8. To prepare each spring roll:
    • Soak a wrapper in warm water until it is translucent and flexible.  I found that a longer soak (~2 minutes) in warm water works better than a quick soak (30 seconds) in very hot water.  Carefully place the softened wrapper on a damp towel.
    • Place some grated carrots on the wrapper, followed by a bit of bean threads, and then a scoop of the cooked meat/mushroom mixture.  
    • Carefully fold up the sides and roll up the spring roll.  I used a method similar to rolling up a burrito.
    • Place the finished spring roll on a damp towel and begin another.
Serve the spring rolls right away, along with the Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce.  Egg drop soup makes an nice side dish. 

Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup 
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir to combine. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge.


Sarah Harkins said...

looks yummy! I have some spring rolls in my cupboard. I usually use them to make a fresh veggie side with avo, sliced carrots and sliced cucumber with soy dipping sauce. Spring rolls are touchy- you're right and time consuming, but oh so good. I will have to try your recipe soon. Thanks for all your great recipes. I think your recipes might be my favorite on the web!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I was just thinking about how I could make gluten free spring rolls for my family. What great timing! One thing I've learned about rolling them up is start from corner to corner. I fold it just like a burrito but just do it on the diagonal instead of horizontally. I'm not sure if that makes sense but you have extra "wrapper" to cover up with that way.

kitblu said...

I've never had a spring roll with cooked filling. Interesting. I will try it with cold cooked shrimp.

Lauren said...

We love these! I'll make a mental note to check back for your version the next time we make them.
A Korean friend had us over for brunch once and this is what she served. She pre-cooked and beautifully chopped 2 trays of fillings and put a bowl of warm water next to the dry wraps. It was a roll-as-you-go thing - too tricky for my 3yo the first time but she's getting better at it! The wraps are round, so you put your fillings south of centre, fold the bottom up tight, sides in, and roll the rest of the way up tucking as you go, like a sleeping bag (which may very well be how one rolls a burrito, but I'm less versed in that!). Ours aren't as tight as hers of course, but tighter than the ones in your photos, and more stuck shut, if that makes sense.
The other bonus: beef strips in the filling (with toasted sesame seeds if you can do them) goes with kimchi. I'm always looking for ways to fit ferments in where they don't scream "I'm your daily ration of fermented food!".

Lauren said...

Maybe leaving the wraps whole lets you roll them tighter, which would then allow you to cut the finished rolls in half if you wanted smaller servings? The other variable is soaking time - too short and they're chewy and break, too long and they're sticky and break. I have yet to find the non-breaking zone.