The first little sunburn of the year after an afternoon playing at the park reminds me that spring is coming to an end and summer is almost here. It also reminded me of this time a year ago, right after Miah was released from Primary Children's Hospital for Celiac crisis. They had just removed the PICC line that had been sending nutrients straight into her veins and she was finally gaining weight and eating again. My sweet neighbor at the time, Guilma - who also happened to be a chef and mother of a child with Crohn's disease - invited us over for a tea party and to teach me how to make some yummy gluten free dishes. She walked me through making tapioca rolls and spring rolls. We ate them all as we sipped raspberry tea sweetened with big globs of honey.
Look at those cheeks! All the medication to treat her swollen and damaged intestines made her cheeks look like she was smuggling something. I loved those little chipmunk cheeks!
Allie helping Guilma prepare the rice paper.
I don't know that I would have been brave enough to attempt using rice paper without the help of this sweet and talented lady. But now that I know how easy it is we make spring rolls all the time! They make a great snack, appetizer, or light lunch. The only problem is that my kids don't like the traditional chili sauce you dip them in. So I've been trying to come up with an alternative.
Then, I stumbled across this recipe by Emily at This Rawsome Vegan Life. Emily makes a delicious looking roll full of basil, avocado, kale, and rice noodles to dunk in her spicy peanut sauce. Peanuts sauce! Of course! Why didn't I think of that?
Now that I'm all inspired, I started slicing a fresh plum and some yummy veggies.
When stuffing your spring rolls anything goes really. Whatever you can cut up into matchstick slices could be yummy. A little crunch. Something sweet. Some spicy onion and something to balance it all like avocado and cucumber. Here's some of what I stuffed in mine (I couldn't fit it all on the cutting board).
Plum Spring Rolls
1 large plum, pitted (fresh mango is also super yummy)
1 green onion
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed if you like
1 small carrot
some shredded cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper (I didn't have one, but that would be good too)
To prepare the rice paper fill a pie pan or baking dish with a couple inches of warm water. I used Banh Trang Spring Roll Skins brand. The rice paper is stiff and brittle and the warm water will soften it pretty quickly. Sink it in the warm bath and gently move it around a little with your fingertips. It will only take a minute and you'll feel it softening. Once it's pliable remove it gently with two hands and lay it on a damp cutting board. If the water become too cool just dump it out and get more warm water. It doesn't work as good if the water's cold. Don't leave it in the water too long either or it will rip when you move it.
Lay them on your serving plate, but not too cozy or they'll stick together. Think of it as your junior high dance. No touching! Once you get all your spring rolls made it's time to whip up some spicy peanut dipping sauce!
Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 small clove garlic
1-2 tsp. Thai Kitchen green or red curry paste (red is spicier)
2 -3 tsp. lime juice
1/8 tsp. fish sauce or GF soy sauce
Put all the ingredients in a blender until it's smooth and creamy.
The nice thing about making your own sauce is that you can adjust it to be as spicy or mild as you like. For my kiddos I used the green curry paste with lots of plum slices! Just a tip: when cutting the rolls wet the knife first so it slides through without sticking.
Dip your plum spring rolls to your heart's content and...hey no double dipping!