The Recipe

Fresh Thai Spring Rolls With Chili Peanut Sauce
Total time: 1-2 hours, depending on how good you get
Makes 40 (enough for a giant party platter or light meal for 8)


1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves, sliced thinly
1/2 cup basil leaves, sliced thinly
6 oz. thin rice noodles (Rattana likes Wai Wai brand)
1 package rice paper spring roll wrappers (Rattana likes Banh Trang 22cm)
optional: diced cooked chicken or teeny shrimp

Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (Rattana likes Mae Ploy brand “for chicken”)
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup distilled vinegar (Rattana likes Golden Mountain brand)
2 tsp unsalted peanuts, ground in coffee grinder or chopped
5 cilantro leaves

PREP: Put rice noodles into boiling water for two minutes. Drain and let cool. Gather all your roll ingredients into separate dishes or piles.

ASSEMBLE: Heat 2 inches of water in a large saute pan until steaming; turn off heat. Clean countertop for assembly. Put one piece of rice paper in hot water until it softens like a jellyfish (5 seconds). Use a spatula to remove it, or your fingers if you’re tough. Spread rice paper out directly onto counter. Put a second piece of rice paper in the water until soft, then place it above the first, overlapping a couple inches. Place an oblong mound of iceberg lettuce just below the center of the wrapper closest to you. Put half as much rice noodles on top of lettuce, and then line the top with strips of basil, mint and whole cilantro leaves. Pull the bottom of the rice paper tightly over the mound of fillings, and roll up. When you’ve rolled into the second rice paper, fold edges in, and complete rolling.

MAKE SAUCE: Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves.


Make a platter up to a day ahead of time and cover well with plastic wrap. They keep fine.

Also, dry your work surface between making rolls - a wet counter makes them not stick.

You'll need to reheat your water every now and again.