I love a good spring roll. But I have a little secret to tell you. They’re really just as good when they’re baked as they are when they’re fried. I like a good fried thing as much as the next girl, but it’s easier and distinctly less messy to put them on a baking sheet and cook ’em up until crisp.
It’s a good thing I discovered how effective this method of making spring rolls can be, because I’ve been on a spring roll tear lately. Every time I go out, I am tempted by these little crispy bites and the beauty of dipping them in spicy-sweet sauce.
A spring roll addiction wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that I live in Thailand. We can get spring rolls everywhere here…everywhere. Things are being fried on every corner – rolls filled with meat or veggies, little puffy balls of dough, bananas in batter (a personal favorite of mine). You might even remember the fried “crab rangoon” incident that got this whole blog started.
Everything about making these is marvelously simple, except for rolling them. This takes a bit of practice. But, here’s the thing – even the ones that don’t look so nice….still taste great.
Here’s how I fold them. First I fold the bottom third up over the filling.
Then, holding all that tasting filling in as tight as I can without breaking the wrapper, I roll the whole thing up into a cozy little burrito.
I love seeing them all lined up…their little spring roll tooshies ready to be baked. At this point they can be refrigerated for a day. (Just cover them with a damp paper towel.)
Or, if you can’t resist waiting (as is always true for me), pop them straight in the oven with a bit of vegetable oil.
In the meantime, you can whip up some super easy dipping sauce. This is the easiest one around and tastes just like the kind we are served at restaurants here in Bangkok.
Don’t mind my yellow-spotted mortar and pestle. They’ve never fully recovered from the turmeric in several batches of Khao Soi Noodles back in March.
- 24 small frozen spring roll wrappers (1 small package)
- 1 - 8 oz. packet glass noodles (may also be labeled as mung bean vermicelli)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (plus 2 Tbsp vegetable oil for baking)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 small carrots (cut into very thin strips)
- 20 green beans (cut into very thin strips)
- 10 small shiitake mushrooms (cut into very thin strips)
- Sweet and Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce, for serving (recipe below)
- Remove the frozen spring roll wrappers from the freezer and allow to come to room temperature.
- Soak the glass noodles in hot water for 10 minutes, until soft. In a large skillet over medium heat combine the 2 tsp. vegetable oil, soy sauce, softened noodles, carrots, green beans, and mushrooms over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the ingredients are evenly combined and fragrant, about 5 minutes. (The carrots and green beans should be tender, but still slightly crisp.)
- Working with one wrapper at a time, place a heaping tablespoon of the glass noodle and vegetable filling in the lower half of the wrapper. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper up to the center of the wrapper to enclose the filling. Turn the right and left hand sides of the wrappers into the middle and roll the wrapper up towards the top. (See the pictures above.)
- Place the filled spring rolls seam-side down on parchment paper. At this point the rolls can be refrigerated for up to a day. Cover them with a slightly dampened paper towel to keep them from drying out.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a small bowl. Brush a large baking sheet with vegetable oil. Place the spring rolls on the baking sheet, seam-side down. Lightly brush the tops of the spring rolls with the remaining vegetable oil. Bake for 15-18 minutes, gently turning the spring rolls halfway through, until both sides are golden brown and crisp.
- Serve immediately, with Sweet and Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce (recipe below).
- ¼ cup finely minced onion (about a quarter of a regular-sized onion)
- ⅛ cup finely chopped fresh red pepper
- 1 and ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 and ¼ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (to taste)
- Combine all of the ingredients, except the red pepper flakes) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer until reduced by half, 20 minutes. Pour the sauce into a bowl through a small sieve to remove the onion and pepper. If you want the sauce to have some spice, return the strained sauce to the pan over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes to taste and heat for 1 minute more.) Chill the sauce in the refrigerator until ready to use.Combine all of the ingredients, except the red pepper flakes) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer until reduced by half, 20 minutes. Pour the sauce into a bowl through a small sieve to remove the onion and pepper. If you want the sauce to have some spice, return the strained sauce to the pan over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes to taste and heat for 1 minute more.) Chill the sauce in the refrigerator until ready to use.