real food. real life.
We've been getting a lot of Napa Cabbage in our CSA so far this winter. I've been trying to be creative in ways to use it. We've done the stir fries, cabbage rolls, and used it in salads. But I knew that one of the best ways to use it is in spring rolls! I'd never made spring rolls, but figured it shouldn't be hard. I opted for rice paper spring rolls so I could eat them fresh or fried. We ended up making both kinds. The fried we had for dinner and the fresh ones I brought to school for my lunch. They were very good, and are on the planner for one of this week's meals as well. Very quick to pull together and easy to make once you make one.
Here's the recipe that we used:
Total Time from fridge to plate: 30 minutes including prep work and cook time
Rice Paper Wraps (purchased at any grocery store - read ingredients to make sure you've got one with simple ingredients like rice, starch, water… )
Large Bowl of Warm Water
Wok quarter filled with cooking oil (we used vegetable oil)
Cooked Ground Pork with chill flakes, garlic, and ginger (prepare by cooking until no longer pink!)
Fresh cut Napa Cabbage
Fresh cut Leeks
Fresh peeled carrots
Cooked Rice Noodles (prepare by cooking in boiling water for time on package - usually 3-4 minutes)
Fresh picked basil leaves
Garlic Chilli Sauce - made it up on the spot - not sure of the measurements - test taste!:
Honey - about 2 tbsp
Sesame Oil - about 1 tsp
Rice Vinegar - about 1 tsp
Water - about 1 tsp or a bit more
Chilli Powder - about a 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Pepper Flakes - about a 1/4 tsp
Garlic or Garlic Powder - about a 1/4 tsp
Ginger or Ginger Powder - about a 1/4 tsp
What we did:
1) Make sure all filling ingredients are prepared and ready to use. That rice paper is sticky and needs all hands on deck! No time for slicing and dicing once you've got the rice paper ready to roll.
2) Take one rice paper wrap and gentle place it into the warm water. Holding onto it, let it start to soften in the water. Make sure it stays flat, unfolded in the water. This should last about 10 seconds really, depending on how hot the water is. As you feel it lose all of it's firmness, it's time to remove it. Be careful to hold the edges so it doesn't fold and doesn't tear. Once holding it out of the water, lay it flat on a tea towel or hard surface. Let sit for about 15 seconds or so for the water to mostly absorb. Be very careful not to let the paper fold - you will never get it unfolded without tearing it! It took a couple tries until we got the feel of it. Luckily, the package comes with a lot of pieces!
3) Start adding your filling to one edge of the wrap. Then roll like you would a wrap sandwich. Roll over the filling once, fold in the edges, and roll again - keep it really tight - especially if you plan to fry it! If frying, it is suggested to make a little sealing mixture of egg/corn starch to keep it closed while in the oil. If eating them fresh, don't use the sealing mixture and just seal it by rolling it tight. It will stay. Once it is rolled, lay aside on a plate. Be very careful not to let the rolls touch each other or you will regret it! The rice paper is very sticky!
4) If you want to try some fried spring rolls, which of course you do, turn wok with oil on to a relatively high heat. To test whether it is ready to cook, place the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If it starts to bubble, you're ready to go! Just watch the oil as you go though, careful not to let it get too hot or too cold. Using tongs, pick up the roll and gentle place it into the oil. It only needs to cook about 30 seconds or so on each side to get browned. Remove from wok and place on paper towel to absorb some of the extra oil. If you really want to, you can cook it again in the oil after this to get it even crispier, but we just did the once.
5) Once you're happy with the fry/fresh outcome, they are ready to eat! We whipped up a quick dipping sauce to go with them and prepared some rice on the side. If you want to use the dipping sauce we created, mix all sauce ingredients together and serve! We are looking forward to enjoying them again this week! Oh, and for lunches - perfect packed lunch meal! I wrapped each fresh roll individually in plastic and packed a small container of dipping sauce. Ate them cold and loved them! So easy to make!
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
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