Welcome to another Meatless Monday on The Salty Tomato!
I am very lucky to have been stationed in Hawaii. This is my second time serving on a ship based in Pearl Harbor. It’s hard to believe but I am going on 4 years total living in Hawaii. During my two tours I was fortunate enough to have deployed to the Western Pacific twice. We made stops in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Thailand, and South Korea to name a few. Exploring asian cuisine was adventurous and new. This past deployment I was eager to recreate the dishes I enjoyed in these exotic countries. You can read about a visit to my dear friends in Singapore and the Wet Market from an old post.
The first stop I tried to make in each port was a supermarket or vendor market so that I could take home noodles, oils and spices to use in my own kitchen. In Asia, fish markets, vegetable markets and meat markets are still the primary way most people get their food. The smells, sights and sounds of a live market are intoxicating. In a market I become enthralled in foods and animals I have never seen before and the beautifully arranged, colorful plethora of fresh foods packed into tiny stands one right after another. I love seeing the faces of multiple generations that rely on the markets for their livelihood and the swiftness of their knives preparing fish, fowl and vegetables. I could spend hours in the markets. I wish that I had the photography knowledge I have learned since starting The Salty Tomato and the high quality camera.
This is an Americanized version of spring rolls and far from the complex dishes I tasted on my travels. There are hints of flavors that take me back to a small corner restaurant in Busan, South Korea and the Lotte Department Store where I bought the fresh pressed sesame oil.
Spring roll wrappers are not the easiest thing the world to manipulate. It takes some practice and patience to get it just right. Mine almost always end up too fat. Check the back of the package that your spring rolls come in. They usually have a graphic that will help show you how to fold them. The amazing and award winning food blog White on Rice Couple have a great visual tutorial post on how to roll spring rolls that is fantastic.
What is your favorite filling for spring rolls? Do you have any rolling tips?
- 1 carrot, cut into thin strips
- ½ Japanese cucumber, cut into thin strips
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup lettuce, field greens, spinach or your favorite green
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 8 brown rice spring roll wrappers
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 clementine, juiced
- 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Arrange prepared vegetables on a plate or cutting board close to where you will be working.
- Fill a large shallow dish or pan with very warm water from the tap. It should be hot but not uncomfortable for you to place your hands in. Make sure the dish or pan is large enough to submerge the entire spring roll wrapper when it is laying flat.
- Place dish of hot water next to surface where you will be working. I find rolling spring rolls directly on a clean counter top or large cutting board works best.
- Place one spring roll wrapper in the hot water and hold it down with your hand to keep it submerged. Let it soak for 10-15 seconds until wrapper begins to soften and become pliable. (So I have to take a time out here. Soaking spring roll wrappers takes some practice and feel. Depending on the temperature and type of wrapper it may take a shorter or longer time to soften. What you want is for it to be soft enough to fold without tearing. The wrapper will continue to soften after you take it out of the water for a short while and will then transition to start drying once it it wrapped. Ok, back to the recipe.)
- Place soft wrapper on flat work surface. Stack a small amount of each vegetable in the center of the top third of the wrapper.
- Fold the top of wrapper over vegetables, fold in sides and roll tightly closed. Place spring roll on a dry plate with the open side down and allow to dry for 2-3 minutes to seal spring roll.
- Cut rolls in half and serve with Citrus Soy Dipping Sauce.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until fully incorporated.