Inspiration: Bringing the wonderful flavours of Thailand to Calgary
I try to buy organic, in-season ingredients and cook everything (well, almost everything) from scratch. Living in a large city allows me access to these ingredients, although sometimes finding them takes a few stops. According to the produce guy at Safeway, Calgary is experiencing a city wide shortage of cilantro, so when I wanted to make Easy Peasy Shrimp Salad Rolls with Cilantro Peanut Sauce recently, I had to stop at three grocery stores before I found what I would have otherwise classified as a limp bunch of cilantro. However, at 6:45 pm on a Tuesday, it was perfect!
In my step-by-step instructions for Easy Peasy Shrimp Salad Rolls, delicate rice papers are filled with rice noodles, shrimp, carrots, cucumbers, green onions and cilantro and rolled like a taco. Dip the salad rolls in my Cilantro Peanut Sauce, which is flavourful and easy to make, and you have an appetizer that is appealing to the eye and the palette!
- 2½ tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon dark soya sauce*
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 clove minced garlic
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro**
- 1 tablespoon thai sweet chili sauce
- ½ teaspoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk (or milk)
- 1½ cups rice vermicelli
- 3 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- ½ cup carrots, grated or cut into matchsticks
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro**
- 10 cooked shrimps, cut into ½ inch slices (I used pre-cooked 31-40 count per pound)
- 6 rice papers
- 6 cups of boiling water
- Combine all of the ingredients for the Cilantro Peanut Sauce in a small bowl and stir together. Set aside. Easy peasy.
- Pour the 3 cups of boiling water over the rice vermicelli and set aside for five minutes. Drain the rice vermicelli and rinse immediately with cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Precut all of the vegetables and shrimp and make an assembly line. The order of the assembly line should be as follows: boiling water, rice papers, rice vermichelli, cucumbers, carrots, green onion, cilantro and shrimp.
- Pour 3 cups of the boiling water into a low flat dish that is slightly larger than the rice papers. Keep the remaining water hot so that the water int he low flat dish can be topped up when it starts to cool. I boil a big kettle of water and keep it handy so that I can pour a little bit in at a time.
- Submerse a single rice paper into the boiling water for approximately 30 seconds until slightly soft.
- Shake slightly over the water dish to remove some of the excess water and then lay the softened rice paper on a plate that has a little bit water on it. Do not put the rice paper on a wooden cutting board or you will have a sticky disaster on your hands.
- Work quickly to assemble the roll with the following:
¼ cup of rice vermicelli
6 matchsticks of cucumber
6 matchsticks of carrots
1 teaspoon of sliced green onion
1 teaspoon of cilantro
4 slices of shrimp
- Roll the salad roll very tightly like a taco and set aside.***
- Repeat steps 5 to 8 for the remaining five rice papers, adding a little more hot water to the dish each time you submerse a rice paper.
Serve the salad rolls immediately with the cilantro peanut sauce and enjoy!
**If you have a hate on for cilantro, I would recommend that you either: a) reconsider your hatred as cilantro is soooo very flavourful and delicious or b) substitute fresh mint for the cilantro in both the peanut dressing and the salad rolls.
***If you are making the salad rolls in advance, place a damp paper towel underneath and over top of the rolls and seal tightly in a container. The rolls will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours if you use this method.