Cook's Illustrated Recipes»Snacks»Asian»Vegetables»Southeast Asian Style Spring Rolls Recipe

Restaurant spring rolls often feature gummy noodles, soggy rice paper, and saccharine peanut dipping sauce. We set out to produce light, fresh, and easy-to-make spring rolls.

The Problem

Too often, restaurant-issue spring rolls are disappointing combinations of gummy noodles, bland vegetables, and mushy rice paper. To make matters worse, the peanut sauce is usually sickly sweet and void of peanut flavor.

The Goal

Southeast Asian spring rolls offer a textural symphony (soft wrapper, firm noodles, and crunchy vegetables) as well as stark but appealing contrasts in flavor (mint, basil, cilantro, chiles, peanuts, and fish sauce). We set out to develop a recipe for easy-to-make spring rolls packed with fresh, bright flavors and accompanied by a spicy, not-too-sweet peanut sauce for dipping.

The Solution

Soak the spring roll wrappers in room-temperature water for just 10 seconds, marinate the noodle and vegetable filling ingredients for superior flavor, and eliminate sugar from the peanut sauce. Be sure to only make one spring roll at a time to keep the wrappers moist and pliable.