Garden Spring Rolls

12 rice papers
2 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup radishes, grated
2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces and sliced into thin wedges
1 cup snap peas, thinly sliced
2 cups bean sprouts, sunflower sprouts or alfalfa sprouts
½ cup mint leaves
½ cup basil leaves
½ cup cilantro leaves
8 scallions, thinly sliced
12 bib lettuce leaves, separated, washed and dried
2 limes, cut into wedges

For the marinade, combine the ginger, rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl toss the carrots, radishes, cabbage, asparagus and snap peas with the rice wine marinade and set aside for 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a colander and let drain.

Place a large bowl of warm water at your work area. Wet a kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Lay the towel beside the bowl of water.

Immerse one sheet of rice paper in the bowl of water. It will soften in 30 seconds. Remove the sheet and lay it on the damp kitchen towel. Working at the bottom third of the sheet, spread approximately 2-3 tablespoons of cooked rice in a 2-inch band across the sheet, leaving ½ inch on either side of the sheet uncovered.

Sprinkle the marinated vegetable salad over the rice and top with a handful of bean sprouts. Sprinkle the rest of the sheet with a handful of the herb leaves and scallions. Tuck in the sides of the sheet and begin to roll the spring roll, like a cigar, gently pulling the contents toward your hands to tighten the rolls.

Note: If the sheet tears or rips, wrap the spring roll in a second sheet.

Leave the edge clear so it can be sealed.

Line a plate with plastic wrap. Lay the spring rolls on a plate, seam side down. Cover the rolls with a dampened paper towel and wrap the plate in plastic wrap.

These can be prepared up to 2 hours before serving.

Serve with peanut sauce, nuoc cham and lettuce leaves.

Use the fresh lettuce leaves to pick up the rolls and drizzle the sauces over the rolls.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
½ cup smooth unsweetened peanut butter
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
1–2 tablespoons chili garlic paste (to taste)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
⅓ cup cilantro leaves and stems

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, chili garlic paste, sesame oil and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor. Process to a smooth paste. You may need to add water to make it the consistency of a thin pancake batter.

Taste and add more chili garlic paste or sugar if you like.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 Serrano chile pepper, finely chopped (more to taste)

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Serve the sauce on the side or drizzle over the spring rolls nestled in the lettuce leaves.