Spring Rolls + Sweet and Savoury Charmoula Sauce

Spring rolls because I had to expand my summer food edition, although there is no more sun in London, well it’s there but it’s kind of playing hide and seek… I am sure you see what I mean. It will come back… Hopefully.

I love spring rolls, I usually prefer the fresh ones (wrapped in moistened rice paper) as opposed to the cooked/fried for several reasons;

- I am not a big fan of fried food (except when it comes to French fries and calamari).

- They are super easy to prepare, stuff them with whatever is available and edible and there you go.

- They are healthy, usually filled with cooked proteins, herbs and vegetables.

- They are super fresh and always come with a super tasty dipping sauce, which makes them ideal for summertime (and springtime!).

Spring rolls are originally from China but the fresh “kind of salad ones" rolled in moistened rice paper come traditionally from Vietnam, where they are usually stuffed with rice angel hair, herbs, raw vegetables/salad, cooked chicken, shrimp or tofu.

In my opinion, the most decisive thing about spring rolls is not the stuffing, but the dipping sauce, it literally makes everything. A bad dipping sauce and you no longer want to eat the spring roll. Don’t you? On top of that I found that the spring rolls and the stuffing always splendidly absorbs the dipping sauce, yes the sauce is everything. 

As you probably guessed, the Moroccan touch in this recipe is the dipping sauce. I chose to make a sweet and savoury version of the classic charmoula to allow the encounter between two great all time classics: Moroccan charmoula and Vietnamese spring rolls. The result is faboulous, the sweet charmoula tastes so good; it's tangy and super herby and aromatic, it works amazingly with the spring rolls. 

 

Spring Rolls + Sweet and savoury Charmoula Sauce

INGREDIENTS

Spring rolls

Makes 6-8 rolls

  • 6-8 rice papers sheets
  • 1 large chicken breast, poached and sliced
  • 1 bundle angel hair, cooked and cooled (60 gr uncooked)
  • 1 large zucchini, julienned
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 1 apple, julienned (optional)
  • 6 to 10 coriander sprigs
  • A handful mint leaves

Sweet charmoula

Makes 100 ml

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons mint
  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Generous pinch saffron 

METHOD

• To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients together and stir until smooth

Assemble to spring rolls:

• Place a rice paper sheet in hot water and submerge completely for 15 seconds.

• Place the rice paper sheet on a clean worktop and center the filling at the bottom of the sheet without touching the edges. Place the filling: herbs (3 or 4 mint leaves + 2 coriander sprigs) , zucchini, carrots, angel hair, bell pepper, apple, in the desired order. I like to place the herbs at the bottom or at the top so we can see them through to spring roll once rolled.

• Fold the bottom of the sheet over the filling (including the filling), tuck in the sides and roll as tight as you can. You will notice that at this stage the rice paper is very sticky, you won't need anything to seal the roll, it will happen naturally. 

• Repeat until you've exhausted all the ingredients. Slice in bite size or keep as a whole. Enjoy with the sauce.

Notes:

• Don’t be tempted to leave the sheet longer in hot water as it will continue to soften while you are assembling, if you keep it for too long, it might break.