I love Asian cuisine. I love soy sauce, ginger and garlic, I love the unforgiving use of peanuts.
When my parents were together, my father never cooked anything but spaghetti and meatballs – so when they were divorced, he didn’t cook much else. It did give him the opportunity to cook spaghetti with Skyline Chili – a meal my mother vehemently abhorred – but otherwise he was left with nothing. So – we had a lot of takeout Chinese food. This quickly became one of my favorite meals — which is very surprising because whenever my parents had it when I was younger I would start crying and gagging immediately. But I fell in love.
When I found out I had Celiac, takeout Chinese food was one of the things that had to go – and it was very very sad.
Recently my mother found a gluten-free Thai restaurant near her house (it’s in Gahanna) called Chi Thai. They are very careful about allergies, you just have to tell whoever you talk to at the restaurant.
I don’t live in Gahanna though, so I am left to fend for myself. And when I found Spring Roll wrappers at Earthfare (a health foods store near my mother’s house) I knew I could finally have what I’ve been missing.
Rolls are very hard to make, no matter what you are wrapping (even the pros at Chipotle mess up), so don’t give up if the wrapper breaks at first! The taste will be the same, and you can always try again!
So, here we go. This recipe was adapted from this recipe from Heather Christo.
12 rice spring roll wrappers
½ pound ground pork (preferably local, if you can manage. I got my pork from ** farms and *BONUS* the man selling it at the farmer’s market was very handsome)
2 cloves garlic
4 tbls. Soy sauce
1 cup mushrooms
3 green onions
2 tbls. Peanut oil
1 ripe avocado, sliced thinly
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
2 leaves of romaine lettuce
1 cup of gluten-free rice ramen noodles (I used Lotus Foods Jade Rice Ramen [buy online!])
For the dipping sauce:
¼ cup of soy sauce
½ tbls. Honey
2 cloves of garlic
Baking Sheet w parchment paper
Large Platter (to put all the ingredients on)
Large mixing bowl
Two Cutting boards
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in the small pot. Put the ramen in for about 4 minutes.
3. While the ramen is cooking, dice the mushrooms and green onions and slice the carrot, avocado and lettuce. Put the carrot and avocado on the platter, the mushrooms and onions in the pan.
If you have the desire to put other veggies in there other than mushrooms, avocado and lettuce, GO FOR IT! These are just my favorites.
4. When the ramen is done cooking — drain and rinse the ramen, placing on the large platter.
5. Warm up 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil on medium high heat, sauté the mushrooms green onions, and 2 cloves of garlic for about 1 minute before transferring to the large mixing bowl.
6. Let the mushrooms cool for about 3 minutes before adding the pork so that it doesn’t begin cooking due to the heat. While the mushrooms are cooling, warm another cup of water. Don’t let it boil
7. Add the pork to the cooled mushrooms, along with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and 4 tablespoons of soy sauce. Mix together.
8. With all the fillings prepared, pour the warm water into the pie pan and place the wrapper in. Be careful, mine tried to curl up and break on me at first.
9. Take the wrapper out of the water and place on cutting board. Lay lettuce slices, ramen noodles, and vegetables on the wrapper. Top with about 1 ½ tbls. Pork mixture. The perfect combination of all of these things depends on the diameter of your wrappers and the size of your vegetables. Once everything is inside, fold the sides in and wrap it like a cigar. Place it it on the second cutting board.
11. When they are all wrapped, spray each side with vegetable oil. Place them seams up on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pork inside is done
12. While the rolls are cooking, make the dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients and whisking with a fork.
As you can see from the photo, a lot of mine ended up spilling out of the wrapper because I got too enthusiastic about the fillings. Honestly, I didn’t mind that they spilled out because I liked the fillings more than the wrapper, but if you’re trying to serve this to other humans you may want to keep a standard fill level to your rolls.
These are even great without the dipping sauce, and are super filling. Bottom line: Make these for a dinner party or just for yourself. Either way — they keep well and are very pretty! Here’s to hoping for a quick spring — until then!