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How to Make Healthy Spring Rolls

By Dr. Ben Kim
DrBenKim.com

During our last visit to see the grandparents, my mom surprised us with a lovely plate of vegetable spring rolls. Not the kind that are deep-fried, but ones made with rice paper and filled with an assortment of fresh vegetables and avocado.

Here's a photo that I took before we plowed through our surprise appetizer:

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To make healthy vegetable spring rolls, you'll need dry rice paper that comes in flat circles. You can find rice paper in the Asian section of your local grocery store or in most Asian food shops.

Here are a few video clips courtesy of CHOW.com's YouTube channel that show how to work with rice paper:

How to Soften Rice Paper Before Rolling:

How to Put Spring Rolls Together:

How to Keep Healthy Spring Rolls Fresh Before Serving:

To review a few key points:

  1. Be sure to allow excess water to drip off of rice paper before laying the paper down on your rolling board.

  2. Lay softer ingredients down first to create some padding to prevent crunchier ingredients from tearing your rice paper.

  3. Roll firmly enough to prevent tearing while eating, but don't make them so firm that your filling ingredients puncture the rice paper.

  4. To keep your healthy spring rolls fresh before serving, cover with a moist dish towel. Don't put rolls in the refrigerator, as the rice paper will harden.

My mom likes using a piece of lettuce as the first layer to help prevent tearing. She typically adds shredded carrots, shredded bell pepper, cucumber strips, and avocado slices on top, then rolls them up to serve.

If you use cucumber strips, cut your cucumbers into quarters lengthwise, then slice off the inner portion from each quarter to remove the seeds and juicy flesh surrounding the seeds.

If you don't remove the seeds and juicy inner pulp, your rolls will get a bit mushy.

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Use a knife to slice your de-seeded cucumber quarters into thin strips.

Our favourite dipping sauce is made by combining one tablespoon of Dijon mustard with about three or four tablespoons of soy sauce and and giving this combo a quick whisk.

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The first one or two tries may require a bit of trial and error, but trust me in knowing that once you get the hang of making your own healthy spring rolls, you'll be grateful to have them as a go-to dish for any occasion - you can't get these rolls just anywhere, so family and friends tend to be delighted with them.

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