To me, fresh spring rolls are one of the most delicious and refreshing appetizers ever. Every time I see them on a restaurant’s menu, I HAVE TO order them. Something about the crunchy vegetables, the fresh herbs, and the creamy & savory peanut dipping sauce – altogether it’s pure magic! Most times, I enjoy them more than the entree I order. When I make them at home, I prefer to add fried tofu for extra crunchy texture and salty flavor. Also to make them more filling. This way, they are substantial enough to be a meal, and who doesn’t want to eat a giant plate of spring rolls as a meal? I do anyway!
It may seem intimidating to make fresh spring rolls yourself, but after practicing a time or two, it’ll be a breeze. Play around with the ratios of ingredients in your rolls until you find what you like best. (for example, I like extra cilantro in mine)
Give these a try, I promise you it will be worth it!
(Makes About 12 Rolls)
For The Rolls
- 1 Package Rice Paper Spring Roll Wrappers
- Warm Water (for soaking rice paper)
- 1 (14 -16 oz) Block of Tofu, drained
- 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp Salt
- Canola Oil (For Frying)
- 4-8 oz Package of Thin Rice Noodles (sometimes labeled as vermicelli or rice sticks)
- 1-2 C Carrots (julienne or shredded)
- 1-2 C Cabbage or Lettuce (Shredded)
- Handful Each of Cilantro, Basil, Mint (or mixed herbs of choice)
For Peanut Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 C Peanut Butter
- 3/4 – 1 C Coconut Milk (Lite)
- 2 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp Garlic Chili Paste
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
- First drain and press your tofu for 30 mins. If you don’t own a tofu press, wrapping it in paper towels and placing something heavy on top of it (think like a cast iron skillet) works just as well.
- While waiting for your tofu to be ready, whisk together all ingredients for the peanut sauce, and set aside. I like to put mine in the fridge at this point because I prefer it cold.
- Boil your rice noodles for 3-4 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water, set aside.
- If you haven’t already, cut and prep all your vegetables and herbs, and lay them out where you’ll be assembling the rolls.
- In a shallow bowl, mix flour and salt. This mixture will be for dredging your tofu.
- When your tofu is done pressing, cut it into an even amount of rectangular pieces. You should be able to get about 12 pieces depending on the size of your block of tofu and how you cut them.
- Dredge tofu pieces in flour mixture, shaking off excess.
- Fill a small frying pan halfway full with canola oil. Heat the oil to 350℉. Fry tofu pieces, in batches, until it’s crispy and golden brown, about 2-3 mins per side. Place tofu pieces on paper towel lined plate, and allow to drain of excess oil.
- Now you’re ready to assemble. Take a rice paper wrapper and hold it in your bowl of warm water for 5 seconds. Place it on a cutting board, lined with plastic wrap. Take a small handful of carrots, cabbage, and herbs and place them in a small pile in the center of your rice paper. Remember, the herbs are going to be quite strong, so use them sparingly until you know the perfect amount you like in your rolls. Make sure to leave at least 1/2 inch of empy space on each side. Take some rice noodles and place them on top of that. Lastly, place a piece of tofu on top.
- Roll the rice paper up slowly, always keeping it tight. When you’re about 3/4 of the way done rolling, tuck in the sides, and pat them down so they stick. Finish rolling, and make sure the roll is sealed.
- To finish, cut rolls in half, and serve with peanut dipping sauce.