All winter and spring we’ve been salivating over the recipes in The Herbal Kitchen, a gift from my sister written by a chef based in her home city of Seattle. So as soon as our cilantro and mint were big enough to harvest, I knew just what I’d use them for – some fresh spring (well, technically summer) rolls.
While the rolling technique and sticky rice paper is a bit frustrating at first, the work definitely pays off! (Plus, you’ll gain valuable skills that might come in handy someday.) These rolls were a delicious burst of fresh flavors! Spring and summer rolls can be filled with many different items, but the goal of the original recipe was to take a minimalist approach by using only herbs, chopped peanuts, and iceberg lettuce to provide a crunchy texture. We found the simplicity to be perfectly satisfying (though of course you can customize the filling to your own liking).
The original recipe called for a fish sauce-based dipping sauce, but in the spirit of making a “simple” recipe even simpler, we went with a hoisin peanut sauce that required minimal ingredients and no chopping (to further reduce the overall intensity of the experience). We loved the way the flavors in the sauce ended up complimenting the herb and peanut filling.
These were good enough to endure that sticky rice paper again – hopefully sometime soon!Print
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 4 cups lettuce leaves
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 carrots
- 1/2 cup roasted and salted peanuts
- 12 rice paper wrappers
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce (sans corn syrup, if possible)
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (Sriracha or other)
- Coarsely chop the mint, cilantro, basil, and lettuce. In a medium bowl, combine the herbs and lettuce, and add a teaspoon of sesame oil (optional). Grate the carrots. Coarsely chop the peanuts.
- Fill a bowl with warm tap water. Slide in one of the rice paper wrappers for about 20 to 30 seconds, until soft and pliable. Transfer the wrapper carefully to a work surface. The wrapper will tend to stick to itself and may tear, but stay strong! After a couple times you’ll get the hang of it.
- Place a handful of the herbs, lettuce and carrots in a line at the bottom third of the wrapper, leaving about an inch uncovered on each side. Sprinkle the filling with chopped peanuts. Fold each side of the wrapper inward, then tightly roll the wrapper up, starting from the bottom. Place the finished roll on a platter.
- Repeat Step 3 for each of the rolls. (You’ll improve as you roll each one.) Avoid stacking the rolls on top of each other so that they do not stick together.
- To make the dipping sauce, combine 1/3 cup hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, and around 4 tablespoons warm water (adjust the water to reach the desired consistency). For some spice, add 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce. Garnish with remaining chopped peanuts.
- Serve immediately, or cover the rolls with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap; they’ll last for about 2 hours in a cool place (but do not refrigerate).
Inspired by The Herbal Kitchen by Jerry Traunfeld