Recipes Gone Wild: Springbok ‘n’ Rolls

I learned a new word this weekend: pronking. It’s what animals like springboks, gazelles, and antelopes do when they bounce up into the air, getting all four hooves off the ground. Here’s a clip of some springboks pronking about, all excited about fresh grass. The word comes from the Afrikaaner verb pronk, meaning to “show off” or “strut,” as in “Oh hey there, hungry lion! See how fit I am? Now why would you waste a perfectly lovely afternoon chasing me?” The moral of the story is don’t chase springboks (unless you’re a cheetah). Lunch will NEVER make it to the table. Make fresh spring rolls instead.  They taste awesome, are quick and easy to make, and will give you so much clean energy that you’re gonna wanna pronk all day long!

Springbok ‘n’ Rolls
Makes 8 rolls (2-4 servings)

Ingredients for fresh spring rolls:
1 cup carrots, julienned
1 cup seedless cucumber, julienned
1 spring onion, green parts only, chopped into ⅛” slices
½ cup seasoned rice vinegar (i.e. not the plain stuff– the “seasoned” variety has a bit of sugar added)
8 rice wrappers (8.5″ diameter)
8 oz. shredded chicken (vegetarians might like this with fried/baked tofu, cubed)
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Thai basil
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups mesclun salad mix
3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. finely chopped peanuts
Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)

Ingredients for dipping sauce:
4 tsp. fish sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic chili sauce

Directions:
1. In a small bowl or jar, combine julienned carrots, cucumbers, and spring onions with seasoned rice vinegar. Let the flavors marry for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

2. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili sauce. Set aside.

2. Fill a large/wide bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for a few seconds to soften (note: handling these rice wrappers might take a little practice, so don’t get discouraged if you mess a couple up while you’re working. Check out Andrea Nguyen’s excellent tips on rolling here). Lay wrapper flat on a clean counter. In a row across the center, place shredded chicken or tofu, a handful of the carrot/cucumber mix, basil, mint, cilantro and mesclun mix, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

3. Serve the fresh rolls with the two sauces: 1. the fish-sauce-based Dipping Sauce and 2. the hoisin sauce topped with crushed peanuts.

Cook’s note: If you wanna go nuts with this recipe and make an additional sauce, then I suggest you add a drizzle of this Spicy Peanut Butter into the roll before you seal it all up.  It’s a really delicious way to add a little extra protein and fat (giving you even more pronking power!) Weeeeee!

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

About Libby V

Libby VanderPloeg lives and makes work in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She grew up in Michigan on the edge of the Great Lakes dunes, and has lived in Chicago, New York, and Stockholm. Her work comes out of her deep affinity for storytelling, music, letterforms, printed ephemera, and wildlife. None of these works could have been made without the world's finest brioche and several good, strong cups of coffee.

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