It never crossed my mind to make spring rolls at home. I always thought they were too difficult to make and I didn’t even know where to go to find rice paper. But after perusing through several cooking blogs, I realized that it was somewhat feasible.

Rice paper can be found at almost any Asian supermarket. I found them at my local Ranch99 market for $1.39/12 oz package. And after assembling a couple of rolls, you become a pro at it. I had a lot of fun making these, and was somewhat stressed at the same time as I was trying my best to make them look perfect. In the end, it became a work of art.

I couldn’t really find a specific recipe that fit my taste buds so I just merged a couple of  recipes and created my own with the ingredients that I liked. If you don’t like some of the stuff I put in mine, you could always take it out and substitute it for something else. That’s why spring rolls are so great – you could put anything in there and it’ll still taste great!

Creamy Peanut Dipping Sauce (adapted from Martha Stewart):

  • 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut  butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 chopped roasted peanuts, optional

In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter and water until smooth.

Whisk in lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar. Sprinkle peanuts over sauce just before serving.

Shrimp Spring Rolls:

Yields 2-3 servings

  • 3 ounces vermicelli rice noodles (can also be found at Asian supermarkets)
  • 24 (1/2-pound) small to medium shrimp
  • 8 (16-cm) round rice papers
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated and ribs removed
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 16 large mint leaves

(I was initially going to use mango slices but it wasn’t ripe enough so I replaced it with sliced carrots. I’m sure the mango spring rolls would have been amazing but the carrots did a fine job!)

Soak the rice vermicelli in lukewarm water to cover in a bowl, until rehydrated and softened, about 15 minutes.

Drain and squeeze the noodles to get rid of the excess water.

Bring a pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Place the rice vermicelli in a sieve and lower it into the boiling water for 5 seconds.

Remove the vermicelli and transfer to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, divide the vermicelli into 8 equal portions.

In the same boiling water, shut off the heat and pour in the shrimp in the water all at once. cook the shrimp until they turn opaque, about 1 minute. Let them steep about 1-2 minutes, or until done.

(Shrimp are best when cooked gently.)

When cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and de-vein.

Fill a wide, shallow bowl with cool water. Working with one rice paper at a time, soak until pliable, 20 seconds. Transfer to a flat surface and smooth. (This 20 second rule may seem deceiving because the paper will still be somewhat rough but don’t be fooled. It’ll smooth out by the time you start assembling the roll.)

Place a layer of filling on bottom third of wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Top with a lettuce leaf, portion of vermicelli noodles, avocado, carrot, 2 mint leaves, and 3 shrimp halves.

Fold botton of wrapper once over the filling. Then fold in the sides, and continue rolling tightly to the end. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients to make 8 rolls.

Wrap in a damp towel or plastic wrap until read to eat. Serve immediately with dipping sauces, or refrigerate up to 2 hours.