The other day, A and I went to a Chinese buffet for a quick bite. I had never been to one before, so I didn't know what to expect. Boy was I surprised to see all the different kinds of food that they had! They had everything from American (chicken nuggets, fries, cheese sticks) to Italian (all different kinds of pasta) to seafood, buffalo wings, meat, hot dogs, and all these different kinds of rice. Apart from all the savory foods, the dessert buffet was just as massive, with almost every flavor of ice cream and jello that you can imagine. I was amazed, but I went the safe route. I had a bit of pasta with chicken nuggets, and some salad (not a logical combination, but that's what I was craving at the moment). I also picked up a spring roll from the obvious Asian section of the buffet. Random, I know, but I just had to try it out. It immediately took me back to my 5th grade year. We had an "Asian Cultures" week at some point in the academic year, and we started it off with Vietnam. None of us had even heard of that country, much less had we ever tried Vietnamese food. So that same day, our teacher Mrs. Jewett ordered in some spring rolls from a nearby Vietnamese restaurant called Miss Saigon Bistro (I wonder if they're still open...). I remember thinking how great they were and that they didn't even taste as weird as I thought they would (I used to be an extremely picky eater). Flash forward all those years to the present to me eating a spring roll at that Chinese buffet, and I thought, "I should learn how to make these!" Sure enough, as soon as we got home, I looked up a recipe and noticed that a cookbook I've been recently using had a quick recipe for them. I was surprised at how fast I was able to whip them up and now it's going to be one of my go-to recipes, but instead of shrimp, I'll change them up a bit with meat and chicken to add some variety. The crazy texture combination of these spring rolls was to die for! Originally, these spring rolls were meant to be "fresh" but the egg roll wraps I found required baking or frying. It was the best thing I could have ever done when making these. Putting them in the oven made all the flavors of the cabbage, herbs, and the carrots combine really well with the shrimp and the actual wrap had a nice crunch and saltiness to it. Wrapping them up was the fun part. If you have little loved ones or if you're having a girls' night in, I think it would kind of fun to make and customize these rolls to your liking, and have a cute little wrapping party! What do you guys think??
adapted from: New Cook Book 14th Edition by Better Homes and Gardens
*makes: 24 rolls*
2 oz thin style rice noodles
24 cooked frozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
24 all natural egg roll wraps
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp extra fine granulated sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp fish & meat sauce
1 tbsp matchstick carrots
1) Preheat the oven to 400F.
2) In a large saucepan cook shrimp in boiling lightly salted water for 1 to 2 minutes or until opaque; drain. Rinse under cold running water; drain again. Set aside.
3) In a large bowl combine noodles, cabbage, the 1 cup matchstick carrot, cilantro, and parsley; set aside.
4) Place a well-rounded tablespoon of cabbage mixture across lower third of an egg roll wrap. Arrange 1 piece of shrimp across filling; fold in wrap sides. Tightly roll up the wrap and filling. Place, seam side down, on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray. Repeat with remaining egg roll wraps, cabbage mixture, and shrimp. Lightly brush the tops with olive oil and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
5) For sauce, in a saucepan combine the water and the sugar. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar, fish sauce, and the 1 tablespoon matchstick carrot. Serve spring rolls with sauce.