Spring Rolls with Citrus Sauce

Don’t be afraid to serve this dish to kids.  I first encountered kids eating spring rolls at an after school daycare where I went to pick up my friend’s kids.  It was there that I saw kindergarteners making spring rolls with the help of third grade kids.  I was surprised and asked the instructor if they would really eat them and she said, “Of course, they love them!” and they are so healthy!

 

I swear I found it a little hard to believe that a dozen random kids would actually eat these, but a few weeks later I tried them with my own kids.  Lettuce, cilantro, and mint?  Shocking, but they loved it just as much as the kids in the after school program did.  And mango!  The kids loved the mango the most.  Who knew?

 

Spring rolls are easy to make and easy for small hands to handle, making them perfect party food for kids, and are super healthy.  Make sure to adjust the citrus dipping sauce to taste, it can run a little tart depending on the acidity of the limes and it really is the very best part of the dish. This recipe makes 5 rolls, or 20 cut pieces.  Double the batch if you have hungry kids because these go really fast.

 

Ingredients:

– 5 round 8½ inch diameter rice paper wrappers

– 4 oz cooked shredded chicken

– 5 to 7 leaves butter lettuce

– 1 ounce rice vermicelli noodles

– 2 scallions, white and green parts

– 1/2 mango, peeled, pit removed

– 1/2 cup of tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves

 

Preparation:

For the rolls, trim each scallion into two 5 inch lengths.  Slice lengthwise into very thin strips.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cover it.  Add the rice vermicelli, and cook it until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse the noodles under cold running water.  Fill a large bowl with hot water to hold the rice paper.  Then dampen a kitchen towel with water and spread it out on a clean flat surface.  Immerse 1 sheet of the rice paper into the hot water until softened and flexible, about 1 minute.  Transfer the softened rice paper to the dampened towel and smooth out.

 

On 1/3 of a softened rice paper sheet place:

– 2 leaves of lettuce

– 4 leaves of cilantro

– 4 leaves of mint

– 2 tablespoons of the chicken

– 2 pieces of mango strips, cut into ½ inch x 2 ½ inch strips

– 1/4 cup of vermicelli

 

Cover with:

– 4 strips of scallion (optional)

– 4 leaves of mint

– 4 leaves of cilantro

 

Roll the rice paper into a cylinder, stopping halfway.  Fold the left and right sides into the middle and finish rolling.  Place the rolled spring roll on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and cover.  Repeat the entire process to make 5 rolls. Trim off the ends with a knife and cut each roll into 4 pieces.  Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

 

Note: An adult should supervise the cutting if the kids are helping.

 

Citrus Dipping Sauce

 

Ingredients:

– 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

– 1 teaspoon Chinese dark sesame oil, from your Asian market

– 1/3 cup of fresh orange juice

– 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice

– 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

(white pepper for kids since they don’t like to see

black pepper in their food)

– Scallion

 

Preparation:

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange and lime juices, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper.  Add scallions and serve in individual ramekins.

 

Note: Adjust to taste.  I added a bit more lime juice and a little more soy sauce.

 

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