Monday, February 28, 2011

Thai Peanut Chicken Spring Rolls

In honor of the recent wave of beautiful, warm weather here in North Carolina, I optimistically present a recipe for spring rolls. I've used these wrappers all of two times now and will admit that they are a bit...homely. I'm sure there's a better way to roll these than I've shown here. But I love the combination of the fresh vegetables, savory chicken and salty peanuts, and it's always fun to eat an Asian meal wrapped up like a Mexican burrito. I serve everything chilled or at room temperature. And for the little ones, I set aside the vegetables, chicken and pasta separately. Same meal Mom and Dad eat, just served differently.

FREEZER TIPS: As long as you're going to the trouble to make these, double this recipe and put aside a second meal in the freezer for another week. Place half of the marinated chicken--uncooked or cooked--in a quart-sized freezer bag. Place 1/2 the pasta in a separate freezer bag. Staple the two bags together and place them in the freezer. The spring roll wrappers will keep in the pantry indefinitely. My Mom brought me these wrappers last Easter and I've just now worked up the nerve to use them. Thanks Mom for the inspiration!

Thai Peanut Chicken Spring Rolls
Makes 4 large rolls

Pasta sauce/chicken marinade:
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 2 Tb smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tb grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
Remaining ingredients:
  • 1/2 box spaghetti noodles, cooked (I like the "Plus" pastas for fiber and protein. Soba are great if you have them on hand.)
  • sesame seeds
  • sliced green onions
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 4 spring roll wrappers, soaked in water until softened
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut in thin strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped Bibb lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped, salted peanuts
  • soy sauce
1.) Blend together all the marinade/sauce ingredients with a whisk.
2.) Add 1/4 cup of peanut sauce to the cooked noodles along with some sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Stir with tongs to combine. Set aside.
3.) Add remaining 1/4 cup of peanut sauce to chicken and coat. Set aside to marinate 1 hour, turning halfway through. Grill chicken and cut into smaller strips if needed.
4.) Pour warm tap water into a 9"x13" pan. Place the spring roll wrappers one at a time in the pan, completely submerging them. Let stand until softened, about 30 seconds.
5.) Gently lift one spring roll from the water and drape across a dinner plate. Arrange chicken, peppers and carrots in the center of the wrap, then top with lettuce, peanuts and noodles. Season with soy sauce to taste.
6.) Close wrap by pulling two opposite sides together, overlapping to seal. Repeat with the remaining two sides. Flip and serve.

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