This is How I Roll


Photos by Ray Hydrick

I really, REALLY wanted to make something luscious and fattening on this post, but I am really afraid that Josh may bust in my door and start throwing away food in my pantry like the NBC show “Losing it with Jillian”.  I would be in the fetal position while he threw away non-organic foods or my Baked Lays.  So I made something that is good for you and really easy to make – Thai Basil Rolls.

I had never made these so it was actually fun to do something different.  I did learn a few things though, let me share that with you:
* Rice Paper Wrappers – I could only find these at Whole Foods and/or World Market.  My favorite store, Publix, doesn’t roll that way.
* Carrots – I used the already cut matchstick carrots from Publix – if I had to cut carrots this small, my fingers would be cut to shreds.  I would blanch (bath in boiling, salted water for 1 minute and then dropped in ice water) them though – makes them softer and easier to fold. 
* Bean Threads – these are also called cellophane noodles.  These babies are slippery when wet.  I would use scissors to cut the amount you need for your roll.

Now, let’s get this recipe rollin’!

Thai Basil Rolls
1 package rice paper wrappers (spring roll)
1 package bean threads
1 carrot cut into thin strips
1 package bean sprouts
2 cups bibb lettuce, shredded (I used butter lettuce)
2 scallions, sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves, whole (I had Thai basil in the garden)
2 cups chicken, shredded (optional)

Looks Like sewage but taste good!

Basic Dipping Sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or fish sauce)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Thai chili, sliced
To make the sauce – place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk.

To begin, organize your ingredients in order of how you would place it on the roll.  Following package directions, place a sheet of rice paper in a shallow dish of warm water for 10-15 seconds or until the sheet is soft and pliable. 

Goes in as paper, comes out feeling like a baby ear

Place on a damp tea towel.  Place a small amount of each ingredient (except the basil) on one side of the sheet.  But place 3 leaves of basil on the opposite end (you’ll see why). 

This is how I roll!

Begin by slowly rolling the sheet and folding in the sides to encase the ingredients. 

Place the rolls seam side down on a damp towel or plate with a spritz of cooking spray.  (These babies will stick to anything!) With a sharp, wet knife, slice the roll into halves.  Serve with dipping sauce. 

We made more than just two rolls but they didn't fit on the plate

#1 – I added sriracha and garlic chili paste to the dipping sauce rather than Thai chilis and reduced the lime juice to one lime.  Added a richer kick.  Also, I used a store-bought sweet and sour sauce for something different.
 #2 – I added chicken to the rolls for the non-vegetarian version. 

Trio of Sauces

Wanna make a meal out of it?
Ray and I made a meal out of these tasty rolls, so I stir-fried some snow peas in a wok with teaspoon of olive oil and a 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.  Added some sesame seeds, salt and pepper near the end.  Fresh and tasty.

Fast and tasty

Also, I had left over bead thread noodles, other ingredients and dipping sauce so I made a little noodle bowl.  Stir-fry the remaining veggies in your wok with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the remaining sauce of your choice (I choose the sriracha sauce I made).  Lastly, add the remaining bean threads.  Combine and serve with a garnish of cilantro. 

Leftover roll makings made a mighty fine noodle dish!

I hope you try these.  They are easier than it looks.  Make it a party – let people make their own roll.  These are supposed to be fun.  Well, gotta go.  I just opened a bag of Baked Cheetos and I could have sworn I heard the pitter-patter of little squirrel feet outside my door. 😉

8 Responses to “This is How I Roll”

  1. Jamie Says:

    These rolls look great – and I would take those “leftovers” anytime!

  2. Josh Says:

    Tasty! Quick question…what do I look for in a good wok? I am wokless.

    • Matthew Says:

      Learn from mistake – buy a pre-seasoned wok. I bought one from World Market that was not and it has taken YEARS to get it to a non-stick state.

      So I would look for:
      * Non-Stick or pre-seasoned
      * A handle that won’t transfer heat to your squirrel paw – like wood

      Wok on, Josh!

  3. Julia Says:

    You can find those spring roll wrappers in different sizes @ Tokyo Market in Hoover (shopping center off 31 across from Crest Cadillac) as well as the Red Pearl Asian Market off of West Valley. Red Pearl also has a nice little section of Asian cooking implements and tools!

  4. Ray Says:

    These were really great!! I love some spicy thai!

  5. Julia Says:

    Matthew, let me also recommend hitting the Mediterranean Market over on Greensprings as well. Their price on spices is unbelievably reasonable, and they also have great olives and cheeses. There is also an Indian grocery right off of Valleydale (on the 31 side) that has some good spice deals as well!

  6. Busy Mom Jen Says:

    Matthew, this looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it and read more about your adventures in the kitchen. Thanks for passing the site on.

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