I have to send out a huge thank you to Hilah of Hilah Cooking for the inspiration of this dish. If you haven't seen Hilah's video blog, she is smart, funny, irreverent and offers wonderful, easy to follow cooking videos. It was her video on making spring rolls that led me to make my own.
My son Quinn is an artist. He regularly compares my efforts with food to his with pen and paint. While I have appreciated it, and striven to make my food beautiful as well as healthy and tasty, I have always seen myself more in the vein of an artisan than artist. My food has never been the kind to show up on those beautiful food photo sites.
That is, until this dish. As I put these spring rolls together, I was touched by their minimalism. As the first few rolls came together, I could see past the cilantro leaves, each as unique as a snowflake, to the bright colored batons of carrot, cucumber and sweet pepper. The rice noodles and salad shrimp showed up chaotically to frame it all. It was one of the most Zen-like moments I've ever had. And, while they are still not in the same league, visually, with the work of some of my fellow bloggers, they are the most beautiful things I've ever made. And it wasn't that hard to do!
Did I mention they were delicious. You got the flavor of each ingredient, individually and combined. I served them with a variety of sweet, spicy and earthy sauces, a sesame slaw, and a light miso soup. The rolls were only 97 calories with 0 grams of fat and 1 of fiber each.
Shrimp Spring Rolls
Makes 20 Rolls
7 ounces (uncooked) rice noodles (shredded cabbage is another good option)
3 medium-small carrots, cut into batons
1/2 medium cumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut into batons
1 medium sweet pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into batons
10 ounces salad shrimp
1/2 teaspoon sugar
40 cilantro leaves
20 spring roll skins
Prepare noodles according to package directions, rinse with cold water and drain.
Sprinkle carrots with sugar and let sit. The sugar will soften and brighten the batons.
To assemble the rolls, fill a pie pan about halfway with warm water. One at a time, soak a skin in the water until it is pliable. Lay it out on a plate and, in the 1/3 closer to you, add filling, except cilantro. Roll up 2/3 of the way and fold in ends. Place cilantro leaves flat on remaining skin and finish rolling. Be sure the rolls don't touch as you assemble them, they'll stick together.