Thai Spring Rolls
Updated: Jul 26
Fresh Spring Rolls are a satisfying snack or meal. They are fun to make, beautiful to look at, and packed with nutrient dense veggies. We used fresh whole, steamed shrimp.
Many variations of the spring roll are popular throughout Asian cuisine. The kids requested Thai. I shopped for all of our ingredients at a local Cambodian market in Long Beach called Dong Mai.
“There is a legend that says the Vietnamese Gỏi Cuốn (Real translation: Salad Roll), better known as "spring rolls" was invented during the time of king Nguyễn Huệ Quang Trung during a famous battle where he ordered his men to carry each other on hammocks so that one can rest and sleep while others kept moving".
We love this on-the-go "mobile" snack that could easily make a whole meal. The actual history of spring rolls is not clear, but versions of the "salad roll" exist in Vietnam, China, and Thailand! I don't think anyone would have guessed Corbin is of Thai descent from his maternal grandparent. He went home and told his mom we had lobster sushi 😂. She confirmed the menu with me the following day, and that's how we learned more about Corbin. Besides that he is a walrus when it comes to shrimp! We love the diversity in our community and try to take every opportunity to learn and discover more about one another. Sharing recipes and memories is a great way to do so! Please comment or direct message if you feel moved to share about your family's roots.
Thai Fresh Spring Rolls
Recipe adapted from The Spruce Eats with notations on our variations.
12 small, round rice wrappers, dried (I purchased at the Dong Mai Market in Long Beach, but you can find them in most grocery stores).
For the Filling:
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce, or another tablespoon soy sauce, if vegetarian
1 teaspoon brown sugar
(*we only did soy sauce and mitted the sugar)
1 to 1 1/2 cups thin vermicelli rice noodles, cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained
( *we used more mung bean sprouts instead and the kids loved it!)
3/4 to 1 cup cooked shrimp
1 to 2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shredded carrot
3 to 4 spring onions, cut into matchstick pieces
For the Optional Tamarind Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets
1 tablespoon fish sauce, or vegetarian fish sauce
1 heaping teaspoon arrowroot powder, or cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic, minced
Dried chile flakes, (optional, and we opted out).
Set rice wrappers aside. In a cup, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce (if using), and brown sugar (or skip).
Place rice noodles (if using), shrimp, bean sprouts, Thai basil, coriander, carrots, and spring onions in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the soy sauce mixture over. Toss to mix.
Then form the rolls:
Fill a large bowl or tub with hot water (but not boiling, as you’ll be dipping your fingers into it). Start by submerging 1 wrapper into the water. It should soften after 30 seconds.
move quickly, or you will just need to start over or double wrap.
Remove the wrapper and place on a clean surface (we used a paper plate). Add another wrapper to the hot water as you fill and roll the first one.
Place a heaping tablespoon of roll ingredients toward the bottom of the wrapper. Spread out the ingredients horizontally (in the shape of a fresh roll).
Fold the sides of the wrapper over the ingredients, then bring up the bottom, like a burrito or swaddling a baby (kis love it when you talk to the roll like a baby).
Tuck the bottom around the ingredients and roll to the top of the wrapper.
To secure the roll: Wet it with a little water on your fingers and press (like sealing an envelope; kiss the baby!).
To serve, place your platter or bowl of rolls on the table along with the dipping sauce.
Eat with your fingers; keep lots of napkins nearby.
Make the Optional Tamarind Dipping Sauce from The Spruce Eats
Gather the ingredients.
In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together water, tamarind paste, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, arrowroot powder dissolved in 3 tablespoons water, 1 clove minced garlic, and dried chile flakes, if desired.
When near boiling, reduce heat to low, stirring until sauce thickens.
Taste for saltiness, spiciness, and sweetness, adding more fish sauce (instead of salt), more sugar, or more chile flakes as desired.
The sauce can be served warm or cold.
Tip from the Spruce Eats:
To create a "bouquet" of spring rolls, simply leave one side of the spring roll open as you roll. Place closed end in the bottom of a bowl. Fill the rest of the bowl with spring rolls, so that they are standing up. It's best if your bowl has steep sides. Also, make sure it isn't too large, or it will take a lot of spring rolls to fill it.
You can serve these with a variety of other sauces, including:
Easy Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Thai Chili Sauce (Nam Prik Pao)
You can also substitute 3/4 cup of the following proteins, cut into matchsticks if you don't want to use shrimp:
Baked or fried tofu
Roasted chicken or turkey
How to Store Thai Spring Rolls (if you dont gobble them up right away!)
You can keep these in the refrigerator, covered, for a couple of days, but they will likely become soggier the longer they sit. They're best the day they are made.
Fun Fact (Also from the Spruce Eats)
What Is The Difference Between Egg Roll and Spring Roll?
The ingredients are often different, but the biggest difference between egg rolls and spring rolls pertains to the wrappers. Spring rolls are typically made from either thin flour or rice wrappers, whereas egg rolls have a thicker and crispier wrapper made of wheat flour, dipped in egg. They're also almost always fried, whereas spring rolls don't need to be fried but sometimes are, depending.