For the spring rolls:
13 to 15 large (10-inch) rice paper wrappers
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
2 Persian cucumbers, sliced into matchsticks (or use half of an English cucumber)
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh mint leaves
1 pound (450g) 31/40-count cooked shrimp
Sweet chili sauce, optional for extra flavor
For the peanut sauce:
1/2 cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (sugar or maple syrup works too)
Juice from 1/2 lime (about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons)
5 tablespoons filtered water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fill a wide, shallow bowl, like a pasta bowl, with lukewarm water. Lightly wet the surface of a cutting board. This helps prevent the rice paper from sticking onto the board.
Have all your ingredients prepped and arranged in bowls near your workspace. Brush a serving platter with a very light coating of sesame oil or neutral-flavored oil and place it near your work surface; the oil will help prevent the finished rolls from sticking to the platter.
Dip one of the rice paper wrappers into the water and swirl it around until the entire surface is evenly moistened (20 to 40 seconds or so). It should start to feel softened and malleable. If the rice paper rips or tears, you softened it for too long; discard and start again with a fresh wrapper.
Place the softened rice paper onto the wet board. Arrange some carrots, cucumbers, peppers and a few basil and mint leaves in a line about 1 inch away from the bottom edge of the wrapper. Line 3 pieces of shrimp about 1 1/2 inches above the vegetables.
If you like, drizzle a little peanut sauce or sweet chili sauce over the ingredients at this point for some extra flavor.
Fold the bottom part of the rice paper wrapper over the vegetables. Continue rolling the everything toward the shrimp.
Once you reach the shrimp, stop and fold the left and right sides of the wrapper toward the center. Continue rolling until you reach the top and form a roll.
Place the finished spring roll on the platter. Repeat for the remaining spring rolls.
Mix together the peanut butter, tamari, rice vinegar, honey, lime juice, water, and salt. Taste, and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Transfer to a small bowl and place on the platter with the spring rolls.
These rolls are best if served the day they are made. If not serving immediately, cover the platter with a slightly damp cloth and refrigerate until ready to serve.
serves 6 to 8
If you buy raw shrimp, be sure to cook it before making this recipe.
For more flavorful rolls, try drizzling a little of the prepared peanut sauce or store-bought sweet chili sauce over the ingredients before rolling the spring rolls.
If you are serving these spring rolls to anyone with nut allergies, a good alternative to the peanut sauce is a sweet chili sauce.
These spring rolls are best consumed the same day they are made. Once you refrigerate the spring rolls, the rice paper wrapper will harden.