Shrimp Summer Rolls

During our spring break we made a pit stop at Ranch 99, an awesome Asian market, on our drive to La Jolla. My daughters introduced my son to lots of their favorite snacks like Pocky, Shrimp Chips, Hello Panda, Lychee jelly fruit bites, Senbei crackers, mini ball cookies and for some reason they also picked up spring roll wrappers- maybe they thought the rice paper would taste good? They quickly found out that it tastes like nothing, so when we got home the leftover package inspired me to make my first batch of spring rolls. I found rice noodles at Safeway to use in a great recipe from that I had ripped out of an old Martha Stewart magazine while we were at the beach. 

Summer (or spring?) rolls are fun and easy to make and you can tailor them to what you like. I had my kids make their own rolls (of course, they made them simple with shrimp, noodles and carrots) and I loved packing mine with lots of vegetables and basil in addition to the shrimp. 

The Ingredients:
(you can find both of these at Safeway- no need to make special trip to Asian market)

Shrimp Summer Rolls

1/2 pound medium shrimp (about 16), in shells (I actually cooked 1 lb and we nibbled on the shrimp that we didn't put in the rolls- roasted shrimp are a delicious snack!)
1/2 8 ounce package of rice noodles
1/4  small head Napa cabbage, halved, cored, and thinly sliced 
2 medium carrots , cut into 1/8-inch-thick, 3-inch-long matchsticks
1/2 English cucumber  cut into matchsticks
3 scallions, dark-green tops only
a few basil leaves
1 package spring-roll skins (banh trang)

Peanut Sauce, for serving
Sambal oelek (Indonesian chili paste) or spicy chili sauce, for serving

Cook the shrimp in your favorite way- Martha suggests a quick toss into boiling water, but I roasted them like Ina - peeled them, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted 10 minutes at 400°.  Cook rice noodles according to package. Submerge cabbage and carrots in 2 separate bowls of ice water 30 minutes; drain. 

Place all ingredients on table so that you can assemble rolls. Pour 1 inch warm water into bowl slightly larger than spring-roll skins. Submerge 1 skin in warm water until pliable, but still firm, about 10 seconds.

To make rolls: place wet rice paper on plate, then line up 3-4 shrimp in middle, top with veggies, basil and noodles. Fold skin in on the side then stretch the length of the skin around the roll. 

Serve with peanut sauce and sambal oelek.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 teaspoon safflower oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from about 2 cloves)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
1 1/4 cups water, divided

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, tomato paste, and hoisin and cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1 cup water and return to a boil, whisking until mixture is smooth and thoroughly incorporated.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened and slightly darkened, 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in remaining 1/4 cup each peanut butter and water, and let cool. 

Recipe from Martha Stewart

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