Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

January 16, 2014

A fowl take on fresh spring rolls and peanut sauce

Why do we never see fresh spring rolls stuffed with chicken?

We see shrimp and vegetarian and even crab. But never chicken. And that’s a shame, because the ingredients in a fresh spring roll — usually a blend of vegetables and noodles, often some avocado, maybe some mint, all wrapped in tender rice paper — aren’t all that far removed from the usual chicken salad ingredients.

And then there is the dipping sauce. There are plenty of variations, but spicy peanut sauce is among the most common. And chicken certainly gets along well with peanut sauce.

So I decided to take spring rolls in a fowl direction. When paired with crunchy jicama, carrots and cucumber, the chicken shines as a spring roll filling. Add fresh mint and a deliciously sweet-and-sour spicy peanut sauce, and you have the makings of a fine Asian-inspired meal.

When soaking the rice wrappers, do them one at a time. And don’t soak them longer than suggested or they will fall apart. The rice noodles and wrappers can be found in the Asian or international aisle of most grocers.

This recipe is an excellent way to use up leftover roasted or grilled chicken. And if you have no leftovers or are short on time, just grab a rotisserie chicken.

CHICKEN AND JICAMA SPRING ROLLS WITH PEANUT SAUCE

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Makes 12 rolls

For the dipping sauce:

1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter

1/4 cup apricot jam

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice or cider vinegar

Hot sauce, to taste

For the spring rolls:

2 ounces dried bean or rice thread noodles

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise

4-ounces peeled jicama root

12 large rice-paper wrappers (8-inch round or larger)

1/2 cup shredded carrots

2 avocados, pitted and thinly sliced

1 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, pulled or cut into strips

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