Spring seems to have burst into summer in the blink of an eye, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees, no less! Weather like this has me whipping up bowlsful of nicecream and craving crisp and fresh food for refreshing afternoon snacking. Days like these make spring rolls the best invention ever. Loads of fresh herbs, rainbow-coloured veggies, juicy fruit and peppery cress, wrapped in rice paper sheets for easy munching and pretty presentation and all this ready for sharing in no time – what more could you want? Well, maybe one of those yummy dipping sauces that comes with them…
Spring rolls can be filled with almost any veg you like – the more colourful the merrier, to boost your mood and your health at the same time. I made mine using rainbow-coloured carrots, cucumber, root parsley, radish cress, mint, coriander and mango, but you can vary to your heart’s desire, using red and yellow beetroot, for example, shredded red or white cabbage, basil or parsley for a more summery flavour, mangetout or edamame for extra protein, daikon or regular radish for a peppery touch or papaya for sweetness.
As for dipping sauces, I originally intended to present these rolls with that one perfectly matching one. Test tasting with my family though, I ended up with at least three delicious dips which matched the spring rolls equally well. Would you go for a classic, slightly sweet and zesty ginger peanut sauce, or rather for a peppery hoisin dip or a savoury, earthy almond tahini dip? You can find the recipe for all three of them here, so you can pick the one matching your personal taste, or decide to present all three of them with a spring roll buffet platter and leave your guests to pick their favourite.
Enjoy your springtime snacking!
Spring rolls with mango, fresh herbs and crunchy rainbow veg – serves 4
- 2 orange carrots, julienned or grated
- 2 red carrots, or 1 red beetroot, or ¼ head of red cabbage, julienned, grated or thinly sliced
- 2 yellow carrots or 1 yellow beetroot, julienned or grated
- 2 parsley roots, julienned, grated or thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber, deseeded and julienned, or thinly sliced
- 1 mango, thinly sliced or cut into strips
- large bunch of mint, leaves only
- large bunch of coriander, or flat-leaf parsley if you’re not keen on using coriander
- small handful of sprouts
- sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds
- small handful of peanuts, chopped (optional)
- edible flowers (optional)
- 12 rice paper wrappers
Get all your leaves and veggies ready and set aside for easy assembly. Fill a large bowl with hand-warm water and line a chopping board with a clean, damp towel.
Tip a rice paper sheet into the warm water and leave to soften for 10-20 seconds until pliable. Make sure the water isn’t too hot and don’t soak the sheet for too long, or it may tear. Spread the softened sheet over the towel.
For a decorative effect, top the middle line of the rice paper sheet with alternating cucumber and carrot slices, edible flowers or pretty herb leaves, facing down. Then, stack a bit of everyting on top, leaving the edges uncovered, until the centre of the wrapper is topped with a sausage-shaped pile of filling.
Fold the bottom of the rice paper over the filling. Fold in the sides of the paper to seal, then roll until completely sealed. Transfer to a serving plate and cover with a damp towel to keep it fresh. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Before serving, cut the spring rolls in half and arrange them, cut side up, on a serving platter. Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice.
These spring rolls are easily prepared ahead for summer gathering, but they’re at their best when eaten on the same day. If you intend to make them a day ahead, it’s best to leave out the mango – when kept for longer than a day, its acidity dissolves the rice paper! Keep the rolls in the fridge, covered with damp kitchen paper to keep the veg crisp.