This post is a collaboration with Caitie from Caitie’s Cooking. <– Be sure to click the link and check out her website and awesome recipes. We decided to do a recipe swap. She’d share one of mine with her readers, and I’d choose one of hers to put on video. Naturally, after living in Asia for three years (and missing it greatly), I was sold on her spring rolls. It’d been far too long since I’d made any myself, and I realized it took a couple tries to get my sea legs back when it came to making the perfect roll.

Rice paper can be a mysterious ingredient to many Westerners. Watch the video below for some quick tips on how to handle it and how to prep your fillings, and you’ll be rolling right along in no time! Bad pun.

Half the fun of eating spring rolls is the variety of dipping sauces that comes with them. A traditional bottled version is a sweet-sour-spicy one. You know you’ve seen it in the Asian supermarket aisle in all its fluorescent orange glory. Caitie’s version is both easy and preservative-free.

Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup water
1/2 sugar
1/4 fresh orange juice
5 Tbsp rice vinegar
Pinch of garlic powder (1 fresh clove optional)
Pinch of ground ginger (1 tsp fresh minced optional)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cornstarch
Red pepper flakes to taste

Combine all ingredients but cornstarch and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium low heat. If using fresh garlic and ginger, be sure to remove them at the end. Once sugar dissolves, add cornstarch and stir so that no lumps form. Add red pepper flakes to taste and continue to boil over low flame until mixture bubbles and thickens to less than half its size. Pour into heat-safe container and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Spring Rolls
4-6 rice paper sheets
Kettle of warm water
1/2 avocado, sliced and patted dry
1/2 mango, sliced and patted dry
1/2 cucumber, sliced and patted dry
Handful small lettuce leaves
Cilantro to garnish

To assemble:
Pour a bit of warm water on a flat plate and use your fingers to soften a sheet of rice paper. When no ridges are left, shake excess water gently onto plate and move rice paper to dry cutting board. Use a couple small lettuce leaves to seal in the rest of the fillings. Then layer avocado, mango, cucumber, and cilantro on top. Fold in the sides, and roll over filling to seal the ends of the paper together. Repeat, one at a time, until all ingredients are used.

In this recipe: