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Most spring rolls are filled with healthy ingredients, but the deep frying form of cooking them counters all that healthy benefit with saturated fats. Healthy Thai spring rolls take out the fried fat component and leave you with a fun, exotic alternative. You can maintain the original Thai flavors without the added calories of typical Thai spring rolls with a few simple alterations. Wrap the ingredients in rice paper skins instead of the traditional doughy skins.
Rice paper skins are softened in water and they stick together so there is no need to seal the wraps with fried oil.
The key to maintaining the integrity of traditional spring rolls is to blend the same wonderful Thai flavors in the filling mixture and to offer dipping sauces that tease and please the pallet. The following recipe for healthy Thai spring rolls includes the recipe for two different dipping sauces as well. Although the spring rolls stand alone as an excellent appetizer or side dish without the dipping sauces, the sauces simply offer additional flavors for more variety.
Healthy Thai Spring Rolls Recipe
- 2 – 3 T vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 4 oz. small cooked shrimp, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 4 green onions, bulb and green leaves all thinly sliced (Here are some great onion choppers for you!)
- 1 t salt (Check out our recommended salt and pepper grinder sets!)
- 1 – 11/2 T sugar
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 1 – 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped with the best garlic press
- 1 T fresh coriander root finely chopped or ground
- 1 cucumber, finely sliced (Here’s some awesome spiralizers to use!)
- Fresh coriander sprigs
Preparation Part 1
Fry the ground pork until fully cooked and drain the fat. Set aside. Return pork to the frying pan and add the shrimp, onion, garlic, and coriander root. Add cooking oil as needed. Add salt, pepper and sugar until well blended. Add grated carrot and mix all together. Remove from heat and sprinkle the top with sliced green onions. Set aside to cool.
Preparation Part 2
Fill a large skillet about half way with warm water. Place several rice paper skins in the water to soften. While the rice paper is soaking, put the filling mixture into a food processor and mix completely. Take one rice paper skin at a time out of the water and pat dry with paper towel. The paper will be very sticky, so be careful not to let it stick to the paper towel or to itself. Next, place the open rice paper on a plate or cutting board and spread it out smoothly.
Place about 2 heaping tablespoons full of the filling mixture in the middle of the rice paper. Fold one side over the middle and press into place. Fold each of the ends up to the middle. Roll the packed mixture over the remaining rice paper and seal the end by gently pressing the roll into the last edge. Set aside on a serving platter and continue with the rest of the skins.
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Sweet and Sour Cucumber Relish
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- ½ stalk of celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium sized cucumber peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
- 6 fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Boil the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add a touch of water. Mixed the chopped vegetables in a separate bowl. When the vinegar and sugar has boiled for about 1 minute, pour it over the vegetables and let it sit until cooled. Mix all the ingredients together and place in a serving pitcher. Provide small, individual serving dishes for guests to use.
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- Cooking oil
- 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 2 T sugar
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Fish sauce
- 1 T ground lemon grass spice or chopped fresh lemon grass
- 3 dried red hot chilies
- ½ t ground cumin
- ½ t ground curry spice
- ½ t ground coriander spice
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 T tamarind juice
Over low heat, blend onion and garlic. Add fish sauce, lemon grass, chilies, and the 3 spices. Slowly add the sugar and stir constantly until it is melted. Add the peanut butter and coconut milk. Continue to stir until evenly blended Be careful not to boil or burn. Provide small, individual serving dishes for guests to use.
Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1/3 cup pickled plums – reserve juice
- 3 – 5 fresh chilies (one kind or a variety of chilies)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 T sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup vinegar
Boil the plumbs for about 5 minutes. Drain. Blend plumbs in a food processor. Add plumb juice as needed to make the mixture about the consistency of ketchup. Add the chilies, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Pour the blended mixture into the saucepan and simmer over low heat for 8 – 10 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil or burn. Slowly add 1 T of water at a time as the mixture cooks until you have the desired consistency. Cool. Provide small, individual serving dishes for guests to use.
Use the left over sauces to spice up subsequent meals later in the week. Use one to stir fry thinly sliced pork or pork chops. Use another one to flavor stir-fried vegetables. Use the last one to flavor fried rice. You can also try stir frying in an electric wok!
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