Recipe: Thai Salad Rolls

by J.D. Roth

Kris and I biked down to the Milwaukie Farmers Market today. I had my lawnmower blade and my hatchet sharpened (both have received a ton of use in the past two years). We picked up some fruit and vegetables. (There were tons of strawberries available!) On a whim, I purchased a $1 salad roll for a snack.

“That looks pretty good for you,” Kris said. The salad roll contained lettuce and carrots (and a little krab with a “k”) wrapped in rice paper. It was good for me.

“It tastes good, too,” I said. And then I realized that this might be an excellent way for me to start getting veggies into my diet. So we picked up some spring roll wrappers on our way home.

With the help of my Thai cookbooks, I threw together the following recipe, which is pretty damn good:

J.D.’s Salad Rolls

In a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of fish sauce, two tablespoons of lime juice, ¼-teaspoon brown sugar, one teaspoon ground pepper (I used cayenne — you could probably just use chili powder). Heat this mixture in a skillet. Add ½-pound ground beef. Brown. When the beef is nearly done, add one diced shallot. When the meat has cooked, pull it off the heat and set it aside.

Slice a head of iceberg lettuce. (Use iceberg. You’re after texture as well as taste. Your high-falutin’ lettuce isn’t going to work here.) Grate a couple carrots. Mix the two vegetables together.

You’ll need eight rice-paper wrappers to make the rolls. (Mine were actually tapioca wrappers.) Rinse a cutting board so that the surface is wet and set it on the counter as your work surface. For each salad roll, run the wrapper under hot tap water for a few seconds per side. (It should be rather “al dente” when you pull it away.) Lay wrapper flat on your damp cutting board.

Fill the wrapper with about an ounce of the meat preparation. Add a handful of the lettuce mixture. Top this with about a tablespoon of your favorite Asian sauce. You might use peanut sauce or Vietnamese sweet chili sauce. I used some generic Thai dipping sauce.

Fold the ends of the wrapper onto the mixture, then tuck one side over and roll it tight. Wrap in foil for later snacking!

These things are delicious!

It took me three or four tries to get the hang of the wrappers, but once I’d figured them out, they were pretty easy to use. I have grand plans to prep a bunch of these at the beginning of the week so that I can take them to work as snacks. Tastier and healthier than a candy bar, don’t you think?

Updated: 07 August 2006

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
Copyright © 1994 - 2022 by J.D. Roth