In my previous post Tastes of Cambodia: An authentic Khmer cooking class, I described in detail the delectable dishes we cooked up from scratch using natural, flavorful, nutrient dense ingredients. Here is the recipe for the amazing fresh spring rolls (adapted slightly) This recipe includes meat, but to make completely vegetarian and vegan, just omit fish sauce (and of course shrimp), and perhaps substitute with low sodium soy sauce or other Asian style sauce of your choice (hoisin?) Also if not using shrimp, perhaps substitute with tofu or brown rice! Fresh, healthy, and a perfect summer lunch or appetizer!
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup shrimp, chopped (the little ones, not prawns)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
1tsp cane or palm sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 medium carrot, sliced into matchsticks
cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
3 large lettuce leaves
2 cups water
2 tbsp. fish sauce
3 teaspoon cane or palm sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic
juice of two limes
2 tbsp. crushed peanuts
To begin, finely chop onion and garlic, and slice cucumber and carrot. Cut or tear lettuce leaves into pieces about half the size of rice papers. Remove the white middle of lettuce or it may tear the rice paper. Heat oil on medium heat and brown garlic, then add shrimp, salt, pepper, sugar and fish sauce. Cook for about two minutes, then add onion and cook for 3 more minutes. . Allow to cool.
Boil water, then add fish sauce, sugar, and salt. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Allow to cool. Finely chop the garlic, chili and shallot and mix with lime juice. Add to cool sauce with crushed peanuts.
Rollin’ it all up:
In a shallow dish of water, soak rice papers individually as you go for about 10 seconds or until it starts to feel soft and malleable, but not too fragile. (I find it helps to remove them when they feel just a tad stiff still, to prevent tearing.) Place on plate and lay lettuce on the side closest to you. Add portion of meat mixture, along with carrot and cucumber. Fold bottom of paper to the middle and try to gently squeeze back into itself to form a tight roll. Fold both sides in and continue to roll. Dab on a little sesame oil to prevent them from sticking to the plate. Continue with remaining meat and vegetable to produce about 4-5 large rolls. Serve with dipping sauce. Enjoy a taste of Southeast Asian at home!
*Note: It’s best to prepare the sauce first so it has time to cool, maybe even put it in the fridge.
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