Place some warm water in a shallow dish. Dip each spring roll wrapper in warm water; place between damp paper towels for 10 minutes.
In a bowl combine shrimp, lettuce, carrots, green onions, and cilantro. Add 2 tablespoons of the peanut dipping sauce and 1 tablespoon of the rice vinegar. Toss to coat.
For the dipping sauce, in a small bowl stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons peanut sauce and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar; set aside.
Spread 1/3-1/2 cup of the filling about 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of one of the moistened spring roll wrappers. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper over the filling. Fold in sides. Roll up. Repeat with remaining filling and spring roll wrappers. Can be done ahead, keep cool and cover with moist towel. Cut in half; serve with dipping sauce.
I have used leaf lettuce for its color, it is a little bitter so add a pinch or 2 of sugar.
Substitute crab, shredded chicken or shredded pork for the shrimp or mix them.
A few dashes of toasted sesame oil in with the lettuce gives it a brown taste (good with chicken or pork).
Grated cucumber gives it a fresh green taste. (up to 1/3 of a cup)
For a more Asian taste, add some grated ginger (a little goes a long way, I keep a piece in the freezer, it keeps for ever).
For some heat use a few drops of hot sauce, or put it in the dipping sauce.
For flavored and/or colored skins use beer, ale or wine to soak in (that was fun).
Add some very thinly slice red cabbage, if raw cabbage is to much drop it into some boiling water for a minute with a little baking soda (it gets rid of the gas factor). Drain and wash and pat dry.
Use some grated zucchini instead of cucumber for a less green and more buttery taste.
For some unknown heat, add a few of finely grated radishes.
Source: I found this on the net a few years ago but have made a lot of changes over the years.
By Scott E. from Chicago
My girls and I love this; it is a great way to use up leftover meats, etc. I will often buy coleslaw vegetables (the pre-shredded bags) for ours. Vietnamese style also calls for transparent noodles; but we are not fond of them, so leave them out.
I have also used edible flowers in them for presentation (since the wrapper is slightly transparent).
But this is a food you can sincerely use anything you like in it. (While many of the things we add would take away from the authenticity, there are so many authentic and regional variations, what does it matter?) Just note that you add small amounts of any one ingredient, or it will end up too full to roll!
We do ours salad-bar style, with the bowls of ingredients on the table. We put a bowl of warm water in the center to soften the rice paper in.
The kids enjoy rolling their own, as do friends who have joined us.
One note: the wrappers we get are not labelled as spring roll wrappers. (Although you can get soft things labelled as spring roll wrappers in the produce area.) What folks want, are the hard, translucent rice paper wrappers from the asian section. They're dry and hard, and ours look like they were dried on a basket-like surface. Ask the grocer, or try an Asian grocery if you have one accessible to you.
Are these supposed to be fried?
No they are not fried. They are served and room temp or chilled.
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