in the summer it can get really hot. and this is coming from a person who is highly dependent on her oven and feels wrong if it doesn’t get used a couple times a week. this recipe is cooling and fast, with only a tiny bit of prep before you can let the hounds (read: the fam) loose.
we only use the three ladies rice paper (no, there aren’t any affiliate links) around here. before we heard about this brand from my mom’s co-worker’s wife, we were horrible at folding spring rolls. the rice paper kept breaking, or folding in on itself, or doing both in different parts. this one is sturdy, while still being thin enough to stay tasty. and i highly recommend you get the big ones; the most recent time i made them, we only had tiny ones and had to use two together and they were a mess.
i like using batons of salted or marinated (in soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce and chili garlic sauce) firm tofu for the main protein in these. shrimp, pork, beef, chicken and egg also work well, but i find that they get lost with everything else. it feels like a waste to me, kind of like lobster mac and cheese; all that lobster gets hidden by the milk and cream and cheese imo. note that the “no-cook” and “vegetarian” tags may not apply if you use another kind of protein. heads of lettuce get separated into leaves, cucumbers and bell peppers and carrots and whatever other veggies you want get julienned, and basil and/or mint leaves get plucked from the already dwindling plants even though you just bought them.
vermicelli noodles soak in hot water until pliable and they stop making popping noises (still not sure why they do this). if you're lazy/trying to be healthier/etc, you get leave out the noodles. i won't tell. and i like making a hoisin, peanut butter and gochujang (or chili garlic sauce) sauce that gets diluted with a touch of water until you get your desired spreadability. i like it pretty loose. a tiny bowl of hoisin and water gets made for the resident picky eater.
how to make a spring roll: dip a rice paper sheet in a shallow container (i like to use a large skillet or a pie plate) filled with water and immediately put the rice paper on an empty plate. don’t freak out, the rice paper will soften while you’re assembling everything else. i promise. smear some sauce on, pile on everything you want (i suggest the tofu first, then the more smaller/looser/more conformable things). wrap in the short ends, then roll it up. if you have burrito skills, it’s just like that. some people put the lettuce on the inside, but i like to eat it underneath my wrap to help trap some of the leaky juices and make it easier to eat.
leftovers are good, so long as you wrap it in a moist towel or slightly damp lettuce to keep the rice paper soft and pliable. or ignore the rice paper and make a salad.
disclaimer that this is just how my family and i do it. might not be too authentic, but dang it’s tasty.