Say goodbye to spring with a nod to her fresh, wholesome greenery, by rolling it all up in a wrap. A spring roll, if you will. In today’s fusion food culture, the terms spring rolls and egg rolls are used largely interchangeably, and herewith is a recipe for each. But just so you know, technically, spring rolls are made with light, translucent, rice paper and are not cooked. Egg rolls are traditionally heartier and deep fried. Both are versatile and you can pretty much add as much Americana style foods to these Asian dishes as pleases you. Complete the fusion with an Asian inspired dipping sauce. The egg roll recipe is a healthy alternative to the deep fried restaurant rolls, using cooking spray and a hot oven to simulate frying. The cooking spray crisps the wrapper nicely.
PEACHY SPRING ROLLS
Perfect summer appetizer, lunch or snack.
2 medium firm peaches, thinly sliced. (Any firm, juicy fruit will do: strawberries, apples – mix and match, even.)
2 C lettuce, shredded
1 small cucumber, julienned
several leaves fresh mint AND fresh basil minced
fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 C cashews, roughly chopped (optional)
4 eight-inch round rice paper sheets
sweet and tangy and/or sweet and sour sauce (bottled) sauce for dipping OR see below
Fill a large bowl with cold water and dip one rice paper sheet into the water for a minute or so until it softens. Place the rice paper sheet on a flat work surface. In the center, spread a bit of each of the filling ingredients, adding more or less of each item as desired. Fold in the sides of the rice paper sheet over the filling and firmly roll up. Gently press the seam to seal. Place on a serving plate with the seam side down. If you’re making more than a few rolls, cover remaining rice sheets with a damp towel to keep from drying out while you’re working. Slice each roll in half and serve with dipping sauce. Makes 4 rolls.
BASIC GINGER DIPPING SAUCE
Sweet and tangy sauce or marinade is ready in 10 minutes.
1/4 C chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbls minced fresh ginger root
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. white vinegar
In a blender, combine onion, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Process until smooth. Serve at room temperature. Yields approximately half a cup. To vary: Make sweeter by adding 2 tablespoons citrus marmalade or apple butter. Thin with hot water if too thick for dipping.
EASY BAKED EGG ROLLS
A light and healthy snack or supper.
2 Cs grated carrots
1 can (14 oz.) bean sprouts, drained OR finely shredded cabbage
1/2 C chopped water chestnuts
1/4 C chopped green pepper
1/4 C chopped green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2 C finely-diced cooked chicken
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbls water
1 Tbls soy sauce (Use light sauce for less sodium)
1 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. brown sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper
16 egg roll wrappers
Heat oven to 425. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray; add the first six ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add chicken; heat through. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, water, soy sauce, oil, brown sugar and cayenne until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened; remove from the heat. Spoon 1/4 cup of chicken mixture on the bottom third of one egg roll wrapper; fold sides toward center and roll tightly. (Keep remaining wrappers covered with a damp paper towel until ready to use.) Place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat. Spray tops of egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Yields 8 servings. TIP: You can substitute other meat for the chicken. Try shredded beef or pork, use flaked, canned tuna, or diced shrimp. Or use tofu or no meat at all, increasing the vegetables instead. (adapted from Taste of Home February/March 1999)