Thai Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Making Thai spring rolls is one of my favorite kitchen activities—it’s especially fun to wrap them with a group of friends when we want to get creative with our food. They look impressive but are surprisingly easy to make. This recipe comes to us from Straight From the Earth.
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Serves 6; makes 12 rolls
For the Peanut Sauce:
- 1/4 cup peanut butter, salted or unsalted, creamy or crunchy
- 1/4 cup very hot water (about 180°F)
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. agave nectar
- 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Tofu:
- 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz. extra-firm tofu, cut into twelve sticks
For the Spring Rolls:
- 1 cup cooked rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
- 12 cucumber sticks
- 12 carrot sticks
- 1 cup packed mung bean sprouts
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced lengthwise into 12 even pieces
- 12 pieces heirloom or romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh spearmint
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 12 6 in. spring roll wrappers
To make the peanut sauce: Stir together the peanut butter and hot water in a small bowl until smooth. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, agave, lime juice, salt, and a pinch of pepper and stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside at room temperature.
To make the tofu: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 375°F/190°C/gas 5. Whisk together the soy sauce, oil, and pepper in a small bowl. Drain the tofu sticks on paper towels to remove excess water. Place the tofu on a small rimmed baking sheet or in a casserole dish and pour the marinade evenly over each piece. Make sure every side is thoroughly coated. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
Bake the tofu on the middle rack for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, flip each stick over, then bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
To make the spring rolls: Place the noodles, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, avocado, lettuce, mint, cilantro, and tofu on individual plates around your work surface.
Fill a wide, shallow bowl with warm water. Place one spring roll wrapper in the bowl and let it soak until limp, about 5 seconds. Lay the wrapper down flat on your work surface. In the upper center section of the wrapper, place 1 piece of lettuce. You will want to leave at least 1 in/2.5 cm at the bottom of the wrapper uncovered; no need to leave any space at the top. In a compact vertical line, arrange 1 piece each of carrot, cucumber, tofu, and avocado, a generous 1 tbsp each of the bean sprouts and noodles, and 1 tsp each of the mint and cilantro.
Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper on top of the filling. Then tightly (but gently) pull the left edge of the wrapper over the filling and the folded bottom edge. It may be helpful to put pressure on the filling with your fingertips to make it as compact as possible while rolling. Pull and roll the left side over the right side of the wrapper, keeping the filling as compact as possible. Press the edges of the wrapper together to close. You will have the top of the spring roll open, and tightly wrapped bottom and sides. Repeat until all 12 spring rolls are assembled. Serve with the peanut sauce.