Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fresh Spring Rolls

I love spring rolls; they're much healthier than egg rolls because they're not deep-fried and most of the ingredients are fresh. Though spring rolls are typically eaten as an appetizer, they make great lunches! Spring rolls are filling, with just enough carbs from the noodles, protein from the eggs, and vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, making me feel satisfied after eating them. Spring rolls are a bit tricky to make, so my instructions may be quite lengthy, but you'll find them very useful! With that being said, let's make spring rolls. Remember, good sanitation is important in all food preparations!

Serves: 4-5 people (makes 12-15 spring rolls)


• 3 oz rice vermicell
• 1 package dried rice wrappers
• 1½ cups chopped green onion
• 4 leave lettuce, chopped
• 1 cucumber, peeled, sliced into matchstick-like pieces
• 4 eggs (optional)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp oyster sauce
• 2 cups ground pork

Peanut Sauce:
• 4 oz Peanut Flavored Sauce
• ¼ tbsp Hoisin Sauce
• 1 tbsp crushed peanuts
• 1½ tbsp sugar
• ½ tbsp fish sauce
• ¼ tbsp fresh lime juice


1. Prepare vermicelli noodle:
Fill medium saucepan halfway with water. When water boils, put in vermicelli noodles. Occasionally stir with wooden spoon to make sure noodles don’t stick to bottom of pan. Let boil for 5 minutes then decrease heat. Stir for another 5 minutes; then drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

2. Prepare ground pork:
In large wok, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add ground pork. Stir-fry ground pork for 10 minutes or until pink is no longer visible. Add oyster sauce and green onion; stir for another 5 minutes; remove from heat. Set aside.

3. Prepare eggs (optional):
Break eggs into bowl and whisk with fork. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and pour in egg mixture. Swirl egg mixture around to coat pan. Break the sheet in half with wooden spoon; flip over to let other side cook. Remove egg sheets from skillet onto chopping board and cut into strips. Set aside.

4. Prepare Peanut Sauce:
Place all ingredients except 1 tablespoon of crushed peanuts in blender. Blend on low speed until well mixed. Pour sauce into bowl and stir in crushed peanuts. Set aside.

5. Prepare wrapper:
Fill large bowl with warm water. Soak rice wrapper in water for about 5 seconds. Lay wrapper flat onto a large round plate or clean area. Let stand for 5-8 seconds; you’ll notice the wrapper getting softer.

6. Finally, wrapping time!
On top corner closest to you and about 2 inches in, place about half a handful of vermicelli noodle, one spoonful of ground pork, 1 strip of eggs, 1 cucumber stick and half a handful of lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold top uncovered side inward, follow by the other two uncovered sides and tightly roll the wrapper. Repeat the same process with remaining ingredients.

Serve spring rolls with peanut sauce on the side. Enjoy!

I somewhat agree with Pollan’s claim that the American public accepts, “a flood of damaging innovations…such as low-fat processed food.” For many people, including myself, low-fat processed foods offer convenience and ease, so I do consume them frequently. I don’t think all low-fat processed foods are ‘damaging innovations,’ because canned soups from Progresso, for instance, are healthier food options than home-made lasagna and fish fries. Though I understand that many “low-fat” foods are extremely high in calories, people just have to be smart about what they are putting in their bodies. As supported by and Johnson, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that processed foods, such as frozen fruits and vegetables, provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as fresh. Therefore, what’s not to like? In my opinion, any food, whether processed or not, if eaten in moderation, is good for the body.

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