Fresh vegetables, juicy chicken, and rice noodles rolled up in rice paper and dipped in a creamy peanut butter sauce. These Spring Rolls are quick and healthy, yet filling and delicious.
In optometry school my friends and I would often get together to eat, study, and watch Gray’s Anatomy. These get togethers were about 10% studying and 90% socialization. All in all those sessions were a success though, because I learned many other important things, like how to make latkes, homemade tortillas, and spring rolls.
One of my study group friend’s parents were originally from Vietnam, giving her (and later me) access to some great Vietnamese recipe knowledge. On one of our ‘study nights’, she made spring rolls. I loved them.
I immediately wanted to know how to make the spring rolls, so my friend taught me. She took me to an Asian market to get the ingredients, and then showed me how to prepare the ingredients and roll them up.
Where I live now, there is not an Asian market nearby – but I am usually able to find all of the ingredients at one of my local grocery stores in the Asian section. Through the years I have changed these up a little bit, but my friend in Boston gave me the original ‘bones’ for these.
Spring Roll Ingredients
As I mentioned before, my friend went with me on my first shopping trip for the spring roll ingredients, as I was scared I would purchase the wrong things. Since I can’t go shopping with you, I’m including links to ingredients that you may not be as familiar with:
- Rice paper
- Rice stick noodles -or- rice vermicelli
- Fresh vegetables
- Good options include: cucumber, red pepper, cabbage, and shredded carrots.
- I use shredded chicken but my friend in school would often use a store bought rotisserie chicken that she would cut up.
- Peanut sauce
This recipe is easy and quick. It’s idea for a weeknight meal. Here a couple of tips for helping to ensure success:
How to work with rice paper
- To wet the rice paper, lay once piece on a flat plate. Use the least amount of water possible to wet the entire piece of rice paper. Once the paper is translucent, it’s ready to use. If you use too much water, the paper will easily break.
- Place the ingredients roughly in the middle of the paper (like you might when making a burrito), leaving 1-2 inches of space on each either side. Fold the paper on the outside edges of the ingredients on either end inward. Then, rolling as tightly as you can, roll the rest of the paper on top of and over itself until you reach the end.
- If you break a roll, you can place the entire thing on another wet paper, and roll again. It happens.
- Too much liquid will make the paper break. Therefore, I prefer to use the peanut sauce as a dip instead of rolling it inside with the ingredients. My husband likes his sauce in the roll, so for him, I place the sauce in the middle of the ingredients so that the sauce is not directly agains the rice paper. Or, he does it himself because he’s not a child.
- 1.5 pound chicken breasts
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup Hoison sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 medium cucumber
- 16 ounce bag packed coleslaw mix
- 1 red bell pepper cut into long thin slices
- 8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles cooked according to package directions
- 12-16 pieces 8.5 inch rice paper
- Oven cooking: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally so that breasts are about ½” in thickness. Line a 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an extra 6-7” of foil on each end. Place chicken breasts in prepared pan. Stir together chicken broth, salt, ginger and garlic. Pour over chicken. Fold aluminum foil in to cover chicken. Bake until no longer pink in centers, about 35 minutes. Remove chicken and shred with two forks.
- Instant Pot: Place chicken in inner pot. Stir together chicken broth, salt, ginger and garlic. Pour over chicken. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let natural release for 10 minutes. Remove chicken and shred with two forks.
- Slow Cooker: Place chicken in slow cooker. Stir together chicken broth, salt, ginger and garlic. Pour over chicken. Cook on high for 4 hours or low 6-7 hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks.
- Stir together all sauce ingredients until smooth. This takes about 3 minutes of vigorous stirring.
- Slice cucumber into ¼” rounds, then cut each round into about 5 thin, matchstick like pieces.
- Wet rice paper according to package directions (see above post for notes). Place desired amount of cucumber, coleslaw, bell pepper, noodles, and chicken onto paper. Roll and serve with sauce for dipping. Alternatively, you can add sauce with chicken and roll with sauce inside wrap.
If you enjoyed these Spring Rolls, you should check out these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Links to items used to make this recipe: