Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls

Banh Trang (Spring Roll Wrappers)
If you’re like I used to be, you try to get some exercise occasionally.  Actually, my efforts constituted more than trying for several years.  I rose before the sun at least four mornings a week on good weeks, stumbled into my car, and drove to my friend’s house hoping that my light knocking on her door wouldn’t wake the dogs.  I often felt that our trudging through the dark streets, sweating up one hill and huffing down the next had little effect.  Of course, my stamina had definitely improved, I no longer wheezed when trotting up the stairs, and most of my clothes fit better.  Unfortunately, the scale and I haven’t had an amiable relationship for years, so I rarely factored its results into my evaluation about whether my toiling was having any kind of noticeable effect.

How sad.

The last seven months of no exercise have taken their toll.  Although I’ve chosen to completely avoid my scale so can’t have the bad news confirmed, and my clothes haven’t quite taken on the appearance of a wet suit, I’ve begun to puff when I walk up stairs again.  My knees hurt, and my feet feel as if they’re carrying around a pack mule’s load.  So with little fanfare, and conscientiously avoiding any talk of a resolution, I’ve promised myself to take better care of my body.  I know how to do this and so I will.  It doesn’t mean giving anything up;  it means paying attention to what I eat, and how much.

It also means I have to get out of bed before the sun at least four mornings a week.  My good friend will join me two of those days, and I’m hoping I can get my husband to at least think about it on the other two. In the meantime, indulge me my veggies.

Have you ever made spring rolls with rice paper wraps?

Shrimp & Veggie Spring Rolls

Not Quite Authentic Spring Rolls

For the spring rolls…

Spring roll wrappers (Bahn Trang)

basil

cilantro

mint

cucumber

carrots

green onions

snap peas

avocado

cooked shrimp *optional*

For the dipping sauce…

6 T soy sauce

6 T rice vinegar

squeeze of fresh lemon

3 T sesame oil

2 tsp. ginger, freshly grated

sriracha

To prepare the spring roll wrappers, layer a few paper towels onto the counter and dampen them.  Pour warm water into a wide-bottomed bowl.  The water should be very warm, but not so much that you can’t dip your hand into it.  Place one of the wrappers into the water to soften completely, about 15 seconds or so.  Remove to the paper toweling.

Layer basil first, then the vegetables, followed by a couple of shrimp, then the mint and cilantro onto the wrapper.  Fold one portion over the filling tightly, fold in the sides, then roll snugly until completely wrapped.

Cut in half, dip, and crunch away.

 


Notes:

  • You can find the spring roll wrappers at your local Asian market, or if you’re lucky, Whole Foods.  They’re made of rice, salt, and water and can be delicate until you get the hang of softening them in the warm water.
  • It’s fun to change the fillings to whatever you enjoy.  I like loading them with fresh, raw veggies because they’re so healthy, and quite filling.  Two or three are plenty.
  • The dipping sauce is fun to play around with as well.  Mine is an adaptation of a salad dressing I got from the back of a bag of soy bean sprouts.  We’ve tried a peanut dipping sauce which is also good.
  • If you’re thinking about calories and counting on this, the wrappers are about 30 calories each.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

 

17 thoughts on “Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls

    1. I think just experimenting with the veggies you like best is the way to go. I love avocado and they’re good for you, so I added them. I’ll cross my fingers on the exercising…

  1. I love making these! Once I finally mastered the unwieldy-ness (that’s a word, right?!) of the wet wrappers, I began to find it really fun, especially in the summer when it’s too hot to cook. My favorite thing to do with them is to play around with new dipping sauces. Your photos are beautiful!

    1. My husband enjoys dipping the wrappers, thankfully. We just set up a little assembly line and they’re ready much more quickly than the time it takes to prep the veggies.

  2. Looks amazing, Kelly. I’ve actually purchased the wrappers several times over the years, but somehow never managed to use them before I found the same package crushed in the back of the pantry. Will definitely have to try my hand at them this year.
    .-= Jerry (CBSOP)´s last blog ..Back to basics =-.

  3. Although I’ve been pretty good about exercising, I’ve been not so good about eating right (including the 10-course dinner I made for friends and shared with blog readers on New Year’s Eve. I love making these (I like to make a soy, orange, ginger dipping sauce for them) so thanks for reminding me of something light I can eat to keep my resolutions!
    .-= Cooking with Michele´s last blog ..Best Lasagna Ever =-.

  4. I love these! I’ve been slowly putting on pounds recently and the new year is just the kick I need to start doing something about it, so thanks for the idea, thats a great healthy option that actually fills me up!

    I like to ride a bike, so I’ll be doing that mostly for my exercise, hope you manage to keep getting up in the dark for your runs!
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..10 in 10 and a healthy recipe! =-.

  5. Spring rolls with rice paper are our favorite: we wouldn’t do without them, and will routinely bypass Thai / Vietnamese restaurants if they aren’t on the menu.

    Hope you get back into the routine of caring for yourself. We’re trying to, as well. Not a resolution, just … an end to the holiday food!

  6. I’ve found that if you reduce the soaking time of the wrappers considerably, like instead of 15 seconds, try only about 3-4 (using very warm water, as you said) seconds. Of course, they’ll still be somewhat stiff, but that’s exactly what you want- because then you lay them out on a wooden cutting board and they’ll continue to soften quickly, until they’re at the point where you can roll them out normally. (If you didn’t soak them quite long enough or your water has cooled to the point where a few seconds isn’t enough, you don’t need to re-dip or soak longer; all you have to do is brush the wrappers with a couple of wet fingers when they’re laying on the board- they’ll soften right up! This eliminates the hassle of trying to position the completely limp wrapper flat on the workspace. Of course, if all else fails, or you’re just really pressed for time, you could just just make a salad with all the ingredients (using rice sticks in place of the rice paper)! I did that the other night and it was excellent!
    .-= Hows it Taste?´s last blog ..Shifting gears =-.

  7. I LOVE these. My husband just asked me to put them on the menu next week and I most certainly will. They taste far too good to be so healthy! I usually make a peanut sauce to dip them in, but yours looks healthier. Good luck with the exercising!
    .-= Cate´s last blog ..Guinness Beef (or Tempeh) Stew =-.

  8. I’ve never made spring rolls with rice paper but these definitely look like they’re worth a try. Here’s to healthy meals and exercise!

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