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Saturday, March 19, 2011

guest blogger! spring rolls -- gluten free + dairy free

today everything reconsidered is featuring its first guest blogger - mark hannon! if you havent already figured, mark is my boyfriend. he's just as passionate, if not more, than i am about food. he's been on this 'culinary adventure' with me since i was diagnosed with food allergies. mark is currently a graduate student in the geology dept at the university of colorado boulder and will be receiving his masters this may. he's big into snowboarding, hiking, camping - all things outdoors. last weekend he put together these fresh, easy, and very tasty spring rolls with an asian dipping sauce. great for a warm day when you feel like cleaning out the fridge and NOT turning on the oven. take it away mark....

With spring seemingly sprung in Colorado this week, and a fridge full of chicken leftovers and as always, fresh veggies, Katie and I were left wondering what to eat.  We could make the usual chicken salad, or heat up some noodles for a quick pasta.  I wanted something light with no fats, oils, and definitely no cooking.  It was over 70 degrees outside and I wanted to keep it as cool as possible in the apartment.  I decided on the spring roll.

brilliant. and easy.


Some refer to it as a Vietnamese salad roll or summer roll, but we'll stick with the term spring roll.  Spring roll ingredients typically include slivers of a protein: boiled or fried pork, shrimp, chicken, tofu, or beef.  Accompanying the protein are fresh herbs, lettuce, rice vermicelli and sometimes fresh garlic and chives.  All of these ingredients get neatly, after a few tries that is, wrapped in moistened  rice paper (bánh tráng) and served with a cold dipping sauce.  For some of you, rice paper may be hard to locate.  We got lucky when we found the Asian Pacific Ocean Market, located in Broomfield, CO.  They have all sorts of Asian foods, some that you've likely seen before, others seemingly not meant to consume.  I highly recommend perusing your local ethnic store(s) catered to foreigners, but gems in the rough for locals when you are looking for a hard to find specialty item.  (Apparently Whole Foods now carries rice wrappers, a bit pricier, but easier to find.)
bánh tráng - rice paper

chicken spring rolls
  • 1.5 chicken breasts pre-cooked and chilled
  • 8-10 sheets of rice paper
  • 3 small-medium carrot stalks
  • 5-6 lettuce leaves (romaine, butter, etc.)
  • fresh cilantro
Yep, that is all you'll need.  Start by thinly slicing the chicken breasts, I cut/split the breast that we had down the middle to create even narrower slices.  The carrots were julienned, again, the thinner the better.  Tear any large pieces of lettuce in half, and ribs can be removed so as not to puncture the rice paper.  Grab a cooks handful of cilantro and put a rough chop through it.

With everything prepped, get out a large bottomed-pan that can hold about an inch of water.  Turn the burner on low and as soon as the water gets warm (a little above bath water temperature); the warmer the water is the faster the rice paper will soften.  Slide one of those rice paper sheets into the warm water.  This is the hardest part of the whole operation.  You want your rice paper to get soft and supple, and I recommend keeping your hands on it at all times.  As soon as it is no longer rigid pull it out and move it to a plate.  Pile up some lettuce, chicken, and carrots in the center of your sheet and add as much cilantro as you like.  Roll one edge of the rice paper onto the filling and then fold the sides over before continuing the rolling motion to close it off - like a burrito.  Congratulations!!!  There might be some filling popping out if you got a little overzealous with your helping but no matter, it'll taste just the same.  Katie and I ate this with asian dipping sauce - recipe below. Hope you enjoy.

asian dipping sauce

  • 1/4 c tamari (gluten free soy sauce...i use eden foods brand) 
  • 1/4 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • green scallions (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp chili flakes (optional)
easy. whisk together ingredients in a small bowl.

8 comments:

  1. There are different vegetables you can choose to include in the spring roll.

    ReplyDelete
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