Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chicken Spring Rolls

When we lived back in Nebraska we used to frequent a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in the down town area of our town. It was a dimly lit, shabby little brick building. The first time I went to it I was kind of frightened because the neighborhood is not the best, but I was meeting friends there so I figured it must be fine because they raved about the food constantly. I went in and was pleasantly surprised to find a cozy atmosphere, friendly waiters, and delicious, authentic food.  I ordered Pad Ped and chicken spring rolls, and my love affair with Thai food began.

I love Thai food.  It has now bumped Italian off of its second place category in my life. (Mexican will always be my favorite!) And with all my dietary restrictions, it’s nice because I can make it free of gluten quite easily. Since moving to Virginia we have found a fairly good Thai restaurant, but with our limited budget eating out doesn’t happen very often……and their chicken spring rolls are not the same. Because I like to cook I figured I would experiment and see if I could replicate the ones back home.  It isn’t often that I make something and it tastes almost identical to the original on the first try, but I hit the nail on the head with these.  The dipping sauce is not quite the same, but was tasty nonetheless.

Chicken Spring Rolls

1 chicken breast, diced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
½ - 1 teaspoon madras curry powder

8 rice paper wrappers
2 oz vermicelli rice noodles
2 cups shredded lettuce
¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 green onions, sliced

Dice chicken breast into small pieces.  Heat sesame oil in a sauté pan until shimmery, add chicken and sauté until cooked through. Sprinkle with madras curry powder.  Set aside in a bowl to cool.

Chop lettuce, cilantro, and slice onions.  Put each in a separate bowl.

Cook vermicelli according to package directions, rinse with cold water thoroughly and set in a bowl.

Make an assembly line with noodles, chicken, lettuce, cilantro and onions.

Soak each piece of rice paper one at a time in a large bowl of hot water for about 30 seconds.  Take out of the water and lay on a clean surface. First put a line of vermicelli, about 2 tablespoons worth, leaving space to wrap it up on the ends. Follow with about a tablespoon of chicken, ¼ cup of lettuce, a pinch of cilantro, and a pinch of sliced onion.  Fold the sides in first and then roll up, tucking the ingredients in tightly. (I rolled it just like I would roll a burrito.) Roll gently as rice paper is very delicate!

Put on a plate that has been sprinkled with cold water.  Assemble the other 7; serve immediately with spicy dipping sauce.

Spicy Dipping Sauce 
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
Crushed peanuts

Wisk first 4 ingredients together and sprinkle with peanuts.  Serve with chicken spring rolls.

These spring rolls were not difficult to make, just a little time consuming.  I can see myself experimenting with different ingredients now that I know how easy they are.  You could try cucumber, Thai basil, avocado….the possibilities are many!

Hope you enjoy these!

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