A few weeks ago as I was walking through the Asian market I saw spring roll wrappers. Not anything out of the ordinary, but they were a surprising reminder that even with all of my dabbling into Asian cooking I’ve never made spring rolls. Which is really a pity. I threw a package into my cart and when I got home placed them on a shelf in the pantry where they were out of sight, out of mind. Until today.
I have been incredibly lazy this weekend so when Lucas decided to make Thai Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peanut Sauce for dinner I was determined to make myself useful. Side dishes it was! In my opinion lighting the grill without throwing corn on it is a waste of good charcoal. Perhaps grilled corn isn’t your typical Thai side dish, but it was on sale 5 for $1.00 at Randalls. Yes, it was added to the menu.
But what else? I wasn’t in the mood for rice and my feeble attempts at searching online left me drooling …not in hunger, but boredom. Right when I was about to give up I saw a recipe for fried spring rolls. The gears started turning and I remembered the spring roll wrappers and thin rice vermicelli I bought weeks ago. I definitely wasn’t going to fry anything, but some nice, light summer rolls sounded like the perfect way to round out dinner.
We soared through Randalls, grabbing a few things for the week, but I felt deflated upon entering the produce section. The Randalls in Midtown is smaller than most grocery stores. You are free to interpret that last sentence as “Randalls in Midtown fucking blows”. On two occasions I have stormed out of there – leaving behind a half-full cart of groceries – because they didn’t have a key ingredient in stock. Ginger? Chipotles en Adobo? These are absolutely necessary ingredients in my kitchen. Nevertheless I continue shopping there because its proximity to my home makes the place so damn convenient.
This time they didn’t have mint. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m fairly certain that you or me or just about anyone else has never had a summer roll at a restaurant without mint. It’s a … repeat after me class … “key ingredient”. Ahh, what the hell?, I decided. Maybe summer rolls could be just as good without mint. A new plan was forming in my head. Latin Fusion Summer Rolls.
Rice vermicelli, lettuce, cucumber, radish, red bell pepper, avocado, green onion, jalapeno & cilantro.
Once home I prepped all of the vegetables, cutting everything into long strips. I boiled the rice noodles, rinsed them in cold water and then my nerves kicked in. Apparently most people mess up their first few rolls because the rice paper tears easily. I calmed my shaking hands and dipped the rice paper into warm water for approximately 30 seconds. Then I pulled it out of the water, laying it out on a cutting board and began adding the filling. I’m proud to say that I took to rolling them pretty quickly. Of the five I made, only one had holes in it (because I got greedy and tried adding too much filling). The other four were beautiful!
And those Thai Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peanut Sauce? Heavenly. That’s what happens when The Chicken King cooks for you.