Welcome guests to your table with a bouquet of fresh rolls. This Thai recipe for fresh rolls is simple to put together, and also can be made vegetarian.
They make a great finger food for parties and potlucks, or serve as an appetizer or a main course offering (makes a perfect substitute for salad, but also includes enough protein for a complete meal).
Fresh rolls also are a terrific snack for any time of the day or night. As a bonus, they're very healthy—low in both calories and fat, and naturally gluten-free.
- 12 small, round rice wrappers (dried)
- For the Filling
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or another tablespoon soy sauce if vegetarian)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups thin vermicelli rice noodles (cooked and run through with cold water, drained)
- 3/4 to 1 cup cooked shrimp (or 3/4 cup baked or fried tofu, or roasted chicken or turkey, cut into matchsticks)
- 1 to 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil (roughly chopped)
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
- 1/4 cup carrot (shredded)
- 3 to 4 spring onions (cut into matchstick pieces)
- For the Optional Tamarind Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or vegetarian fish sauce)
- 1 heaping teaspoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Filling
Gather the ingredients.
Set rice wrappers aside. In a cup, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce (if using), and sugar.
Place rice noodles, shrimp, bean sprouts, Thai basil, coriander, carrots, and spring onions in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the soy sauce mixture over. Toss to mix.
Form the Rolls
Fill a large bowl with hot water (but not boiling, as you’ll be dipping your fingers into it). Start by submerging one wrapper into the water. It should soften after 30 seconds.
Remove the wrapper and place on a clean surface. Add another wrapper to the hot water as you fill and roll the first one.
Place a heaping tablespoon of roll ingredients toward the bottom of the wrapper. Spread out the ingredients horizontally (in the shape of a fresh roll).
Fold the sides of the wrapper over the ingredients, then bring up the bottom.
Tuck the bottom around the ingredients and roll to the top of the wrapper.
To secure the roll: Wet it with a little water on your fingers and press (like sealing an envelope). For more detailed rolling instructions (with pictures), see how to make Thai fresh rolls.
To serve, place your platter or bowl of rolls on the table along with the dipping sauce.
Eat with your fingers and lots of napkins.
Make the Optional Tamarind Dipping Sauce
Gather the ingredients.
In a saucepan, mix together 1/2 cup water, tamarind paste, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, arrowroot powder dissolved in water, and 1 clove minced garlic and heat.
When near boiling, reduce heat to low, stirring until sauce thickens.
Taste for saltiness, spiciness, and sweetness, adding more fish sauce (instead of salt), more sugar, or more chili as desired.The sauce can be served warm or cold.
- To create a "bouquet" of spring rolls, simply leave one side of the spring roll open as you roll. Place closed end in the bottom of a bowl. Fill the rest of the bowl with spring rolls, so that they are standing up. (It's best if your bowl has steep sides. Also, make sure it isn't too large, or it will take a lot of spring rolls to fill it!)