i eschew modern convenience: fresh vietnamese spring rolls with lime-ginger dipping sauce


I hate turning down presents, but last week, I totally did. For my birthday, Cornelius bought me a food processor which has been on my list of things I totally want for ages. I got it, I tried it, I hated it. I really like chopping up vegetables and grating and all that other stuff that the food processor helps you with. The only thing the food processor doesn’t help you with is dishes. And man, that lil’ machine is a dirty dish whore. After some carrot speed grating and and some red cabbage shredding for some vietnamese spring rolls I made , I was left with so many parts and bits and containers to clean up afterwards. A food processor a must-needed item? Not in my kitchen. But those spring rolls I made? Oh my! Delicious summer party food. And when I say party food, I mean it. There’s no way in hell that I’d make a couple of spring rolls for just Cornelius and myself. Too much work…even with a speedy appliance nearby. But got a summer picnic planned or a bbq potluck to go to? Make these and everyone will love them. They were very well enjoyed at the birthday picnic last weekend.

Note: The rolls are gluten-free, however the sauce isn’t because of the soy sauce. Choose another dipping sauce & you’ll be fine!

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16 comments to “i eschew modern convenience: fresh vietnamese spring rolls with lime-ginger dipping sauce”

  1. 1
    Joanne   May 16, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Wha? took back the food processor? after coveting it for so long? noooo! What now?

    Will you be getting a mini processor instead? DeLonghi has a nice mini processor without all the extra accesosories and parts to wash. As for me I have a tiny 3-cup machine from GE. It’s ok but not great, so I am hankering for a bigger processor…one day.

    I love those fresh spring rolls and have made similar ones in the past – albeit messily and not with more than 5 ingredients in them i.e. marinated tofu, rice vermicelli, carrot, spring onion and cilantro. That’s it. I could eat about 10 of them in one sitting.

  2. 2
    Rachel   May 16, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I love spring/summer rolls-so fresh and easy!

  3. 3
    jess   May 17, 2007 at 5:32 am

    bittman is a huge fan of the food processor for making bread dough and the like, and I think that’s why he says it’s a “must-needed” item. I prefer to make dough completely by hand or in my stand mizxer, so I always disagree with him there. :)

    I also don’t need a food processor. I do have a little tiny one that I use mostly for making pesto or aioli. I love chopping vegetables + fruits. It’s one of those things that can calm me down after a long day.

    I love Vietnamese spring rolls! I have made them for just hubby+myself before, but only on a special occasion. :) I made shrimp + mango ones, which were surprisingly tasty!

  4. 4
    Anne Stesney   May 17, 2007 at 7:09 am

    My oh my, what a beautiful picnic. And I love summer rolls but have never tried making them on my own. Must do that.

    Your cake below looks GORGEOUS and sounds scrumptious.

    I have to admit…I’m a food processor junkie. It’s my must have for hummus, pesto and pie dough. BUT I have a dishwasher, so it’s super easy for me. I just load the bits up and voila! If I had to wash by hand it would be a different story.guthrie11

  5. 5
    Meena   May 17, 2007 at 8:55 am

    I can understand, if it weren’t for my dishwasher, I wouldn’t have half of the gadgets I own today! I love the convinience, but not at the cost of having to do an extra pile of dishes! :)

  6. 6
    laura k   May 17, 2007 at 9:02 am

    I never thought of using my food processor for chopping vegetables. I mostly use it for making sauces and hummus and other things that need to become mostly liquid. I only have a mini, which works ok but I kind of covet a bigger one.

  7. 7
    kickpleat   May 17, 2007 at 9:17 am

    nope, no food processor at all, joanne! i do love spring rolls but out of all the times i’ve made them, this was the best.

    rachel, i wouldn’t call them easy but their certainly not difficult…just time consuming! and so great for summer.

    jess, i use my blender for making pesto and aoli and love the calming effect of chopping vegetables too. shrimp & mango rolls sounds so good.

    beth, sounds like you are the hand-me-town girl! so funny!! i love my blender too…but i also love my kitchen stand mixer (in pistachio!). a new knife sounds awesome…i think that’s a great idea ;)

    annieknobes, you must make some this summer. delicious! as for your dishwasher, call me envious :)

    i think gadgets + dishwashers go hand in hand, meena!

    laura k, i use my blender for sauces and hummous. what’s great is that it’s an old osterizer beehive model that i found at value village for $4! it’s pretty and a powerful workhorse too. i love it.

  8. 8
    Patricia Scarpin   May 17, 2007 at 11:53 am

    I don’t own a food processor and I was wondering if I should buy one… Tks for sharing your opinion with us!

  9. 9
    beth   May 17, 2007 at 6:07 am

    I got rid of my food processer too.
    To be honest, it was a sticky hand-me-down – but it just took up waaaay too much space and I totally agree about the washing up taking more time than just cutting it up yourself in the first place.
    I gave it away along with a hand-me-down george forman grill, and TWO bread makers (why oh why do people foist their junk off on me?).
    I prefer my blender.
    Although someday, I would like a Kitchen Aid mixer. In powder blue.
    And I did get a new knife this weekend:
    http://www.chefsresource.com/komachi.html
    It’s adorable AND sharp as heck. You should get a set of those instead!

  10. 10
    tendermuffin   May 17, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    hey — i’m looking for people to cover food-related stuff in the vancouver area — please contact me… wandabun AT gmail.com

  11. 11
    aria   May 18, 2007 at 5:30 am

    i have a food processor but cant remember the last time i used it. to make bread crumbs maybe….?

    i love spring rolls so much, these look deeelish!

  12. 12
    kickpleat   May 18, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    patricia, it’s only my opinion but i’m pretty content with my decision. maybe if you had a huge kitchen & dishwasher then a food processor would be ideal. who knows? it’s just not for me!

    haha aria, looks like you should either bust out that processor or give it to a friend! but definitely give these rolls a try. so yummy!

  13. 13
    Anonymous   May 21, 2007 at 6:17 am

    Yeah, those spring rolls are fun to make, but it takes time. Another idea is to prepare all the ingredients for the rolls, then have everybody sits down and make their own rolls. I do that at home, and kids would love to eat their own creation. The trick is to wet those thin rice sheets and stack them (one by one) separately on the plastic canvas (mesh like) used for needlework. Use the round ones. I bought those at the store for 15cents each. Each person will take one from the stack and then wet another rice paper and put it back on the stack for the next person to use later. It would be a fun thing to do in a party. Also, you can have a grill going on in the backyard, and guests can roll up grilled meat in their rolls too. So many options :)

  14. 14
    Rod   May 25, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    If you discover some of the other wonderful Vietnamese dishes, you’ll want to rethink the food processor position.

    It took my Vietnamese wife about a year to discover the fish, shrimp and meat pastes she took hours to prepare by hand can be done to the same quality in minutes using a food processor.

    Try some Pho Bo Vien and those tasty meat balls are made from beef chopped until it becomes a paste…nothing like ground beef.

    A snap to do in the food processor, hours by hand with a cleaver.

  15. 15
    kickpleat   May 28, 2007 at 8:28 am

    great tip, annon! and i like the idea of adding grilled meat to the rolls too!

    rod, until i get my dream kitchen with a dishwasher, the food processor will have to wait ;)

  16. 16
    Margo   July 6, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I partially agree about the food processor and with other comments here about the mini processor. I have decided that my different chopping / mixing utensils all have their place, and I just use my big food processor when I think that the time/effort of dish washing is outweighed by the time of hand-chopping (for example, although there are other function, of course for the food processor) and also depending how important uniformity in size is (e.g., for even cooking). But even tonight as I was chopping up fresh marjoram, I was thinking about using my herb roller-cutter (which isn’t as useful as I initially thought) and opted instead for the sudoku knife (which I LOVE, incidentally). I find that the specialty herb roller-cutter (I can’t remember exactly what it’s called) is best for herbs like thyme. I’m just saying that I’ve found the big food processor to be a useful tool when having all those extra dishes to wash seems warranted. One tool that I’m absolutely NOT tempted to get, though, is a bread machine. Although it’s sort of a pain sometimes when I find a yeast recipe that calls for the use of one. Mostly I don’t bother to translate the directions to non-bread machine use, which means I probably forgo some really really good recipes. I’d like a really good stand mixer though. Maybe some day…

    Gadgets all have their place, but they’re not an answer to everything and just jumping on the bandwagon doesn’t seem very smart.

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