This Spring Roll In A Bowl boasts everything you love in Vietnamese spring rolls, excluding the fuss of wrapping anything. It’s a refreshingly healthy dish for two that’s delicious for lunch or dinner - simply chop, toss and eat.
IN THIS POST, YOU WILL LEARN:
- THE BOOK CLUB READ THAT INSPIRED THIS DISH
- THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLL AND SUMMER ROLL
- WHAT'S IN THIS SPRING ROLL IN A BOWL RECIPE FOR TWO
THE BOOKCLUB READ THAT INSPIRED THIS DISH
NPR book reviewer, Thúy Đinh, describes how Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, in her book, The Mountains Sing, creates
“a luminous, complex family narrative that spans nearly a century of Vietnamese history. From the French colonial period through the communist Viet Minh's rise to power, the separation between North and South Vietnam, the Vietnam War, all the way to present day….the novel resembles a choral performance with multiple voices”.
The story takes us from the countryside to the streets of Hanoi, that are thick with women, peddling fruit and vegetables from heavy baskets dangling from either side of a bamboo pole slung across their backs.
The descriptions of exotic fruits and vegetables is where the inspiration came for creating this version of a deconstructed spring roll or Spring Roll in a Bowl.
Those of you interested in the book, NPR has a fantastic review of The Mountains Sing, Quế Mai’s debut novel published in English. Will this English written book overcome the hurdles it faces to deliver these perspectives to readers in her homeland? Something to ponder….
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLL AND SUMMER ROLL
I spent time googling, trying to avoid rabbit holes in my search to discover the difference between spring rolls and summer rolls. Turns out they are often interchangeably termed, basically referring to the same thing.
This recipe for two is all deconstructed – nothing to wrap. Instead, chop, toss, and eat and experience fresh loads of spring roll yumminess. The best part is they can be prepped in advance making them ideal for a quick lunch or time-pressed dinner.
WHAT’S IN THIS SPRING ROLL IN A BOWL RECIPE FOR TWO
Romaine or Cabbage: Use a savory or napa cabbage for this dish, using a chef’s knife to cut thin slices.
Shiitake mushrooms, yellow and red bell peppers julienned (cut in thin strips).
Chopped Green Onions
Diced Mango – Watch this video Grilled Flank Steak Mango Farro Salad for tips and tricks on peeling and dicing a mango.
Persian cucumbers thinly sliced. If you can only find an English cucumber or large- sized cucumber, make sure to peel and seed before slicing.
Pickled Jalapenos. Use store bought pickled Jalapenos (in a jar) usually found in the same aisle as pickles.
Vermicelli rice noodles. Since COVID-19, I have found it difficult to predict which noodles and pasta will be found on the grocery shelves. Rice Sticks, thin rice noodles and even stir fry noodles can work with this dish. I prefer to use vermicelli when available.
Chopped Peanuts. I really like to use dry roasted, salted peanuts, based on the taste. I put them in a resealable plastic bag and whack them with a rolling pin or meat cleaver to crush, thus avoiding nuts flying all over.
Cooked, Shredded Chicken. To save time pick up a couple of grilled breasts from the deli or a whole rotisserie chicken.
Peanut Sauce. This homemade peanut sauce is super easy and SO good. Make extra to make this dish extra saucy and to use throughout the week on other dishes. It is that good! Natural-style creamy peanut butter, sugar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, chili-garlic paste, sesame oil, lime juice and water are the ingredients that make this sauce sing!
Spring Roll In A Bowl For Two
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For the Spring Roll Bowl
- 4-5 ounces shiitakes discard stems, julienned
- ½ large red bell pepper, julienned
- ½ large yellow bell pepper, julienned
- Peanut oil for stir-frying
- 2 carrots shredded
- 1 Persian cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 cups shredded napa cabbage or romaine
- 2 green onions chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro or Thai basil chopped
- ¼ cup diced mango
- 2 Tablespoons pickled jalapeños chopped
- 2 Tablespoons dry roasted salted peanuts, chopped
- 2 ounces vermicelli rice noodles cooked
- 1 cup cooked shredded chicken from your grocer’s deli, grilled breast or a whole rotisserie chicken can be used
- ½ avocado chopped
- 1 lime cut into slices for passing
For The Peanut sauce:
- ½ cup natural-style creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon chili-garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup water
Prepare the Vegetables.
- Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a 10-inch skillet, add mushrooms and stir-fry to desired doneness. For the mushrooms I like to have them release most of their water and slightly browned. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the peppers to the now empty skillet and stir fry, about 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer to the same bowl as the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.
- Combine carrots and cucumber in a small bowl add 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar, and enough water to cover the carrots and cucumber. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions and set aside.
Make the Peanut Sauce
- Combine all ingredients in a hand blender beaker or blender bowl. Blend until well combined, adding more water to thin the sauce if necessary.
Assemble the Salad:
- In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, green onions, cilantro, mango, jalapeños, and peanuts. Drain carrots and cucumbers adding to the salad. Layer the mushrooms and peppers on the top.
- Pour ½ the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Divide the salad between bowls. Top each with noodles, chicken, and avocado. Drizzle over more dressing.
- Tip: Cut the noodles with a scissors then toss with the salad.
The peanut sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. I have found the prepared vegetables will stay crisp for about 2 days.
Prepare noodles and avocado right before serving. Tip: if using Thai basil do not refrigerate or the leaves will turn brown.
Your Notes, Tips and Tricks
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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