Beat the heat with these Vietnamese-style shrimp spring rolls, with honey-soy marinated shrimp. Fresh, cold, and crunchy, they make an ideal hot weather food.
I hope you’re in a forgiving mood. It’s Thursday. The week has flashed by in a flurry of phone calls and well-laid plans gone wrong. It rained on the one day I needed it to remain dry, and it was hot and unforgiving as I hid out in a hospital room, holding the hand of my daughter as she had a golf ball that isn’t actually a golf ball but a lump removed from her throat. That’s where the forgiveness comes in, you see.
I have unintentionally neglected this space as I did the hand-holding. To make it even worse, I swapped the wording up there on the picture so that it now reads grammatically incorrect. My perfectionist is screaming to take it down and fix it, but you see, I’ve let so many things slide and fall lately that I am just going to live in constant torment with that error for the rest of my days–or at least until the Earth starts spinning slower so that I may have longer days and nights in order to accomplish all of life’s tasks and still sit in the shade reading a good book.
So I’m asking you to forgive me for abandoning you, again for the grammar, and I’m going to just let the photos speak for themselves here. Then, of course, there’s the matter at hand. I am offering you a recipe for spring rolls where I have laughed in the face of all that is pure and true and cooked my shrimp on the grill with a marinade rather than boiling them in water. I was on a roll, after all, and I may as well just continue onward.
On the patio with friends waiting to eat, shrimp soaked in fish sauce, ginger, and raw honey is grilled and finds its way to the table by way of rice paper wrappers along with a mass of fresh vegetables. Sometimes amidst the chaos of life, it’s worth taking the time to make time.
Really, grilling the shrimp is a great way to be sure you spend no time at all in the kitchen here. Roll and eat these outdoors in the evening, just as the sun is starting to forgive a bit as it heads to the west, and perhaps you’ll even be blessed with a slight breeze to take the edge off the thick summer air.
A note on soy: Look for a naturally-fermented soy sauce. We avoid MSG in our house, and so that’s one reason, but additionally, we don’t eat a lot of soy. One way we do enjoy it, though, is when it’s been naturally fermented so that you benefit from that fermentation.
2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
For the spring rolls:
15-20 spring roll rice paper wrappers
3 ounces maifun rice noodles, softened/rehydrated
1 cup julienne carrots
1 cup julienne daikon
1 cup pea shoots or romaine leaves
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup green onions, chopped into 2-3″ segments
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
Place the shrimp in a zip-top bag or shallow bowl. In a separate bowl mix the soy sauce, honey, lime juice, fish sauce, chopped cilantro, ginger, garlic, and sriracha. Separate the sauce into two equal parts and pour one half over the shrimp. Marinate for at least one hour. Store the remaining sauce in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat grill and reduce heat to medium. Add the shrimp to the grill, flipping after about three minutes. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until they develop pink highlights and turn opaque. Be careful not to overcook them or they will get small, dry, and rubbery. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a bowl of lukewarm water, rehydrate one rice paper wrapper at a time. Carefully lay the wrapper out. On one side place 2-3 tablespoons of maifun, a few pieces of carrot, daikon, pea shoots or romaine, several basil leaves, cilantro sprigs, mint leaves, and green onions. Top with 3 pieces of shrimp. Peanuts can be sprinkled inside the wrapper now or sprinkled separately on individual wraps after they are rolled.
Fold the edge over the filling, tuck in both sides and continue to roll. The rice paper will stick to itself and hold the wrapper closed. Repeat until all the filling has been used. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or eat immediately. Serve with the dipping sauce.
Makes 15-20 spring rolls.