Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
I think it is so important to include your kids in meal prep. I find that my boys are much more willing to try new things if they help me make it. These spring rolls are the perfect opportunity to include your kids in making dinner.
There are a ton of veggies to chop for this recipe, so I let my kids go to town on the veggies with these plastic knives. These knives are great because they actually cut vegetables AND they are safe (most importantly)! The other really fun way to engage them in making dinner is to let them create their own spring roll. I put all of the spring roll ingredients in different bowls and then I let them pick what they want to put in their own spring roll. It always seems like they try waaaay more vegetables if THEY get to choose (plus, it’s fostering independence, right?!).
We encourage our kids to take a “no thank you” bite (our polite way of saying “just try it already!!”). Research shows that kids need multiple exposures to new foods before they can develop a liking for a particular food. I’ll be honest - my kids “no thank you” bite for the spring roll wrapper was less than ideal BUT they tried it! So, instead of the spring roll wrappers, the kids used tortillas (and all the other same ingredients we used), and scarfed them up!! Make sure you don’t skip making the peanut dipping sauce - it is sooo good and really elevates the spring rolls. My kids are huge peanut butter fans, so they love this sauce too!
Spring rolls are a fun family meal that you can all make together (did you hear that, you don’t have to slave away in the kitchen by yourself)! So, bring all those ingredients to the table and have your family get to work!! And here is an added summer bonus (well, at least for those of us who live in MN!) - the next day, take the leftovers, pack them into a cooler and have a picnic in the park! We did this and my kids thought it was absolutely amazing. I thought it was amazing too - I didn’t have to make lunch that day, I got to keep the mess outside, and they ran around the park for an hour (and took the most glorious nap when they got home). A win for everyone!!
shrimp spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce
about 12 spring rolls
INGREDIENTS (for Shrimp Spring Rolls)
12 oz shrimp, fresh or frozen (tail off, deveined)
12 spring roll wrappers (can substitute tortillas)
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 english cucumber, sliced thinly and seeds removed
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup cilantro, de-stemmed
1/4 cup basil, de-stemmed
2 oz rice sticks (vermicelli), optional
INGREDIENTS (for Peanut Dipping Sauce)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
4 tsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp hot water
If the shrimp are raw, boil them in hot water until they are pink. Remove them from the water and set aside. If frozen, thaw the shrimp according to the package directions and set aside.
Place the rice sticks into the hot water (the heat should be turned off) that you used to cook the shrimp. Leave them soaking in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove them from the water and also set aside.*
Slice all the vegetables into thin pieces (see picture below).
Remove the stems from the cilantro and basil.**
When you are ready to make the spring rolls, grab a 9x13 baking pan and cover the bottom of the pan with warm water. Place a spring roll wrapper in the pan and gently push out the water bubbles underneath the spring roll wrapper. After a minute, flip the spring roll wrapper over and make sure that it is mostly immersed in water. Leave it in the water for an additional 2-3 minutes and remove and place on a plate.***
You can now assemble your spring rolls!****
Fair warning, rolling spring rolls can be kind of tricky (and sticky!), but embrace the mess (or use tortillas!).
Method for Peanut Dipping Sauce:
Mix the peanut butter, hoisin, soy sauce, garlic and rice vinegar together.
Once mixed, add 1 Tbsp hot water to thin the dipping sauce a bit. If you prefer a thinner sauce, you can add additional water (make sure to use hot water so it dissolves easier).
*You are basically just wanting the rice sticks to re-hydrate. Once they are somewhat soft and resemble a noodle-like texture, you can remove them from the water.
**You don’t have to chop up the herbs, you can use the whole leaves in your spring rolls.
***You are looking for the spring roll to become very pliable (so you can roll it up) and sticky (so it stays together when you roll it up).
****Make sure you only have one spring roll wrapper on a plate at a time. If you stack them on top of each other, they will stick together and you won’t be able to get them apart.
TIPS FOR INVOLVING KIDS
Have them help you cut up all the vegetables (these are the knives they use: StarPack Kitchen Knife Set.
Let them help you measure and mix together all of the ingredients for the peanut dipping sauce.
Have them assemble their own spring rolls! Put bowls with all of the ingredients in front of them and let them get creative with their dinner.