A spring roll DIY bar is fabulous for parties and get-togethers—familiar yet a little exotic (kind of like me!). I’ve been known to use the pretty array of veggies—like bright peppers and green herbs—as a stand-in for flowers! Set out a variety of condiments in cute bowls, a stack of small plates, and sit back and let your friends roll with it.
Seared Garlicky Shrimp Filling for Spring Rolls (you can also swap with firm tofu!)
I often use 31/40-count peeled and cleaned shrimp, meaning there are 31 to 40 shrimp to a pound. Because they’re bite-sized I save time by not having to chop them, and small shrimp are a bargain compared to the big guys! For a vegetarian version, sub one 14-ounce package of drained extra-firm tofu for the shrimp.
Makes enough for 12 8 1/2-inch spring rolls
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, very finely chopped
15 shiitake mushrooms (5 ounces), stems removed, caps very finely chopped, or 7 dried shiitake mushrooms covered in boiling water 5 minutes, drained, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated gingerroot
1/2 pound peeled and de-veined small shrimp
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring often. Add the shrimp and soy sauce and cook until the shrimps curl and become opaque, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a medium serving bowl and set aside to cool. (Refrigerate if you’re not using the filling within 30 minutes.)
The Setup, starting from left to right:
12 8 1/2-inch spring roll wrappers (available in Asian markets and the produce section of some supermarkets)
Proteins: Stir-fried shrimp or tofu
Vegetables: Red bell peppers (seeded and sliced into long, thin strips), Shredded carrots , Bean sprouts , Sugar snap peas (blanched for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water, drained, shocked in ice water, and sliced on the diagonal into thin strips ) Snow peas (sliced on the diagonal into thin strips ), Sweet corn (preferably grilled or broiled for a smoky flavor and sliced off the cob)
Seasonings: Toasted sesame seeds , Scallions or chives (trimmed and sliced on the bias)
Hot sauce: I like Sriracha or my Sweet Teriyaki glaze
Fresh whole basil leaves
Fresh whole cilantro leaves
How to wrap a spring roll:
Dip the wrapper in the warm water for 10 seconds. Remove from the water and lay it flat on a dampened cutting board. Place 1 tablespoon of shrimp or tofu filling on the bottom edge of the wrapper. Slightly spread it out horizontally to cover the lower third of the wrapper. Make sure to leave a 1-inch border at the edge of the wrapper and sprinkle with some vegetables (not too many now!). Fold the sides over the filling and then fold the bottom up and over the filling rolling the spring roll tightly. Place it seam-side down and cut in half diagonally.