Quick Bite: Light Bites
Celebrate the start of blooming season with chef Noch Lor’s fresh and tasty spring rolls
All it takes is a few warm breezes, and we’re ready to replace winter’s hearty fare with menus cool and light. And how better to herald spring’s March 20 start than with a dish named for the season? “Spring rolls are called this because they use all fresh ingredients,” says Noch Lor, co-owner and chef of Mount Pleasant’s Pattaya.
Raised in Thailand, she grew up on the traditional dish. “My mother prepared all different kinds,” says Lor, who arrived in the Lowcountry in 1979. Nearly 20 years later, she and husband Say opened their Thai restaurant so that Lor could work while raising their children. But it doesn’t take an Asian cuisine expert to make these healthy treats. “It’s actually very easy,” she encourages.
The part that takes practice? Rolling the ingredients inside rice paper. “The paper is fragile and should only be soaked in warm water for 10 or 15 seconds. As soon as it starts to soften, pull it out,” advises Lor.
As for the ingredients, a traditional version packs shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and lettuce, but experiment with most any meats, vegetables, even fruits, that you like. “You can store the rolls for up to five hours in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature,” says Lor. “After that, the wrappers begin to harden.” Sounds like the perfect excuse to have guests over and eat up!
- 25 sheets rice paper
- 1 lb. shrimp steamed, peeled, deveined, detailed, and halved
- 2 lbs. thin-sliced pork roast
- 3 oz. steamed vermicelli rice noodles, cooled to room temperature
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 lb. bean sprouts
(Makes approx. 1 ½ cups)
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 4 Tbs. white vinegar
- Crushed peanuts and shredded carrots for garnish
Fill a large bowl with warm water. Submerge a sheet of rice paper in water for 10 to 15 seconds. Lay it on a flat surface. In an approximately four-inch line just above the middle of wrapper, place shrimp, then pork, then noodles. Roll bean sprouts inside a small piece of lettuce, and place on top of noodles.
Fold top of paper over ingredients, then fold in side edges, creating a package. Roll package toward bottom of wrapper until the end seals shut against roll. Repeat for each roll.
Mix first three ingredients together. Just before you’re ready to serve, sprinkle a few tablespoons each of roasted peanuts and shredded carrots on top.