Friday, July 9, 2010

Asian Spinach Wraps

It's hot here this week. 

Really hot.

So hot I was ready to uproot and move my family to Alaska.  They decided that was being a bit dramatic, so unfortunately, I'll have to settle for long, lazy trips through the supermarket.  You know..the supermarket with air conditioning.  Lovely, breezy, chilling air conditioning. 

It really wouldn't be all that bad, but most people (read: me) don't have air conditioning up here in the Northwest.  Therefore, the 90 degree temperatures we've been getting have made it pretty miserable in the house.

And it makes me not want to cook.  Shocking, isn't it?

My dear friend, Diane, saved me though.  She served these amazing goodies at our last book club get together.  I was one bite in when I asked for the recipe.  These.  Are.  Amazing.

They're cool, crisp, and fresh.  They have a great sauce with just the right amount of kick to it.   And best of all:  No cooking required.  No oven, stove, crockpot, or open flames required.

Here's what you need to gather:

Spinach, green onions, basil, bean sprouts, shrimp meat, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, and soy sauce.

You'll also need to get spring roll skins (Banh Trang).

Most larger markets carry these in their ethnic food aisles.  You can also head to your local Asian market to pick some up.  Make sure you shop around and try other fun stuff while you're there; there are some amazing flavors to find.

First, you'll want to prep your veggies.  Tear off individual basil leaves and take the stems off of your spinach.  Cut your green onions into 3 inch pieces.

Next throw together your sauce.  In a blender or food processor combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, garlic, and ginger.  Give it a good pulsing to combine.  This stuff is absolutely heavenly and I'm already trying to figure out a thousand other ways to use it.  The original recipe also calls for red pepper flakes and I highly recommend using them.  Just make sure you remember to buy them when you're lazily shopping in the cool grocery store.

I wish you could smell this right now.  Yum.

Now you'll want to grab a vessel large enough to allow your spring roll skins to lay flat.  I like to use my skillet.  It's nice and big.  Fill it with about an inch of water and you're ready to begin.  I've found that working with 2 sheets of the skins is easiest for me.  Place one sheet in the water and submerge.  Diane taught me that if you flip the second sheet to the opposite side and submerge it, it will keep the two sheets from melting together in the water. 

It only takes about 20-30 seconds for the skins to soften and be ready to go.  You could also dip them for about 10 seconds and place them on a damp dish towel and wait for them to soften.  I like to just let them sit in the water until soft.  Pull one out and give it a little blot with a paper towel.

I spread mine out on my favorite cutting board.  It's actually there in this picture; I think you have to squint and tilt your head sideways to see it though.  It's a hard thing to photograph, I discovered. 

First, put a layer of spinach in the middle not quite to the sides.

Next add the basil.  For some reason, the basil I bought was really strong.  If you aren't a fan of basil you can leave it out or just add it sparingly. You could even substitute some cilantro for a Vietnamese flavor.

Next comes the green onion.....

then the magic sauce.  My family likes theirs with a bit of sauce.  I like to be more generous when making mine.  It's just how I roll.  (Get it?  How I roll??  Sorry...carry on.)

Add some bean sprouts (or you could use julienned carrots if you're not a bean sprout fan).

And last, but not least, add on the shrimp meat.  Diane has also used smoked salmon with yummy results.

Now, shake your head when you remember that it's easiest to start folding from the bottom and quickly give your board a turn.  Then bring the bottom of the skin up towards the middle.

Fold each side in...

and fold tightly until it's all rolled up.  Voila!

You could make these like I did for a light summer dinner, or like Diane does as a tasty, fresh appetizer.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do...but beware---we are finding them addicting!   Enjoy.

Asian Spinach Wraps

Spring Roll Skins
Green onions
Bean Sprouts
Shrimp Meat
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 cloves garlic

For the sauce, blend sesame seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper, and garlic together in blender or food processor.

Soak wrap skins in water (1 to 2 at a time) for about 20-30 seconds or until soft and pliable.  Spread out on work surface.  Place spinach, basil, green onion, sauce, bean sprouts, and shrimp meat in a row along the center.  Roll up burrito style; bottom up toward the middle, sides in, and then tightly roll until completely rolled up.  Serve with extra sauce for dipping if desired.  Enjoy! :)

1 comment:

Diane Akiko said...

The sauce will keep in the fridge for a while. I always have some on hand to make panninis with or add a kick to your salad dressing, etc!! Enjoy!