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Thai Fresh Shrimp Rolls for Spring

Nime Chow, or raw Thai spring rolls, might be my all-time favorite appetizer. When they are ultra-fresh and made well, I’ll even have them for an entrée. In my never-ending effort to make good food even cleaner, I played around with the basic recipe to improve the overall nutritional impact while still preserving those amazing flavors. In the restaurant you should always choose the raw rolls over deep fried.

The rice wrap isn’t adding much to your diet beyond some starchy carb, but it’s at least relatively low in calories and gluten free (it’s made primarily of rice and tapioca flour). One popular brand is Double Parrot or Banh Trang- you can find them in the ethnic section of most large chain grocers.

Because this dish is nearly all raw vegetables, it’s not very filling, though the nutty dipping cream does give it a bit more staying power than the traditional dipping sauce for Thai spring rolls. The classic sauce is usually a heavily sweetened Thai chili sauce with crushed peanuts. This version adds some good fat from the nuts (use almonds if peanuts don’t work for you), and the only sweetener is the natural sugar content of coconut water, which blends perfectly with the other Thai flavors. You can also definitely add more shrimp to boost the protein content if you like.

Feel free to play around with different veggies for the “filling”. You can use more mung sprouts or shredded lettuce for a lighter feel, or add julienned colored bell peppers or raw mushrooms for a different micronutrient profile. I’ve also skipped the wrap idea all together when I’ve been in a hurry and tossed the whole thing together to serve over a pile of red lettuce leaves as a salad.

No matter how you do it, this light and tasty dish is pretty easy to make and beautiful to serve. Try bringing it to your next pot luck event and look forward to rave reviews.

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