Successful Spring Rolls!

Truly, I am thankful for the company that owns Pei Wei Asian Diner.  They are one of the few fairly wide-spread restaurants that offer a gluten-free menu.  However, the only dishes that contain vegetables are the Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls and the GF Sweet & Sour Chicken.  I love both of them, but

  • I’m tired of paying $6.25 for 1.5 Chicken Salad Rolls, which are basically “just” spring rolls.
  • 5yo Wesley recently developed anaphylaxis to peanuts, and Pei Wei’s version has them.  So, they’re not really safe to bring home.
  • Plus, I’d like a little dietary variation once in a while.

So, I’d looked into buying some spring roll wraps online, and found plenty of places where I could buy them for $3 or so, and then pay $7 or so in shipping.  <insert buzzer sound>  I’m not willing to pay $10-ish for an experiment that may not work.

I thought about checking out an Asian grocery store, but, really, with four kids, I’m loathe to add one one more errand to my already-too-long grocery trips (which are often done at 10 p.m.).  I also think that Asian grocery stores are on the list of “Places Unwise to Bring Kids.”  (Note:  When I go grocerying with my kids, I go in the day, not 10 at night.  The night time ones are after the littles are in bed, and my hubby says, “Hurry back!”)

However, when I saw one of my local grocery stores started carrying the wraps, and they were only $1.99, I snatched them up.

These are the exact ones I found: 

Last night, I undertook the homemade Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls.  Except I didn’t have any chicken.  So, they became pork rolls.

Following is a sort-of-recipe, because I didn’t measure anything.

First, I made a very simple dressing:

  • about 2 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce
  • about 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • about 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • about 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • about 2 Tbsp water

I heated all those items in the microwave for about a minute, then stirred until the sugar was melted.  As it cooled, I sliced the pork.

I had roasted a boneless pork loin on the grill a couple of nights ago, rubbed with Italian herbs.  I sliced off the herbed parts, and cut the remaining pound-and-a-half or so of meat into matchstick-sized pieces.  I placed the meat bits in the dressing, and stirred, letting it soak while I softened the spring roll wrappers.

I figured rice paper wrappers were a lot like other rice noodles, which are soaked in hot water, and not boiled.  I heated a skillet of water to almost-boiling, then turned down the heat to super-low.  I soaked the wrappers, one at a time, only until pliable, lifting it out with a spatula, then holding it on the spatula until cool enough to grab, unwrinkled/unfolded the wrap, then placed it on a square of plastic wrap.  I went through a lot of plastic wrap, because I put a layer between each soaked spring roll wrapper.

Then, I peeled and shredded five carrots, and cut about half a package of Dole Mediterranean blend salad into shreds.  (Next time, I will use more lettuce.)  I added that to the meat, and stirred to mix.

Then, I took a half-cup of the mix, and placed it on the wrapper, about an inch away from the edge closest to me.  I rolled up that edge of the wrapper, then folded in the sides, then finished rolling the rest of it up.


Suprisingly, it only made 10 spring rolls.  They were very meaty, filling rolls…  All of us liked them — Martin, myself, and our two older boys Ethan & Grant.   Wesley didn’t, but then, I didn’t expect that he would. 

Next time, I will

  • use more lettuce to stretch it a bit.  They were too meaty even for my SuperCarnivore husband.  
  • I will also drain the excess dressing from the filling before I start using it — some of them ended up sort of soggy, and when the spring roll wrappers get soaked, they lose their strength.

Still, I would count this as a success, and look forward to making them again!   

About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on October 10, 2006, in Celiac Disease, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Medical Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. I liked your reflections on the book Captivating. I have you in my “extended community” : )

    gluten free! how do you do it?


  2. Yum! My sister-in-law has a tasty recipe for lettuce wraps, which would also work with rice wraps I bet. Sautee chicken in hot chil oil and plum sauce (don’t know if it has gluten in it or not). Shred it and mix in shredded cabbage, carrots, and green onion.

  3. Yum, I love spring rolls. Those sound really tasty.

    BTW have you tried PF Chang’s? They’re a Chinese chain with a gluten-free menu.

  4. Shar ~ I would not be gluten free unless we had to… so it’s kinda like a “you gots to do what you gots to do” kind of thing. We’ve been g.f. for 4 years now, so it’s *almost* easy.

    Erin ~ Thanks for the little recipe. Last night, Martin asked, “Do we have any plum sauce?” Oh, well. But, I did make a sweet chili & garlic sauce for dipping. I have to get a not-so-hot hot chili sauce, b/c mine is buh-LAY-zing. Also, I was wishing I had cabbage last night, too, b/c it would have been nice to have that crunch.

    GFBTB ~ Funny – I have your blog open on another browser, checking out your recipes! PF Chang’s is the parent company of Pei Wei. I *LOVE* PF Chang’s, but they’re pricier and not really close to where I’m at. However, they do have an extensive GF menu, and I eat there whenever I can. Thanks for the tip!

  5. rubber chicken girl

    I buy those exact wrappers at the asian food store, of course. I go alone on erranding days or have taken the kids as an cultural experience. I buy them chinese gum or some such sometimes. I buy a LOT of rice flour and sweet rice flour and potato and tapioca starch and stock them in the freezer. I make wraps with stir fried cabbage, carrots and onion, a a spoonful of rice and or chicken and chinese five spice and then wrap and dip in the chili sauce I think was mentioned above.

    Hey, the library is closing. I saw Renee and Sarah talking about this blog:
    Love you!


  6. Shell ~ I never thought about Asian grocery stores having various rice flours and starches. Hm… I might have to make a trip. That Bob’s Red Mill stuff gets pricey.

    I got some Napa cabbage tonight. Gonna make some more spring rolls. I’ll put some five spice in!! I didn’t think of that. Duh.

  7. rubber chicken girl

    I also use the wrappers as lasagna noodles. Layer two or three thick per layer (don’t have to pre-soak). I go light on salt in everything else cuz some of the wrappers run high in salt. Don’t want a salt-lick.
    The rice flour at the asian market is like .89 /lb. Dirt cheap compared to the healthfood store. For awhile I thought it was making me sick cuz they also sell these cake flours in sacks by the good stuff. I finally realized all the rumbling was my lipstick. Relief!!

  8. I like salt licks. 🙂 Seriously, I’m starting to wonder about something weird going on in me, b/c I seem to want salt, and a lot of it, on virtually everything. I add it at the table, though, b/c Martin is a no-salt kind of man.

    And I’m seriously considering going to a nearby Asian market b/c of your posts. I guess it’s fear of the unknown while toting three active boys and a baby. KWIM?

    Speaking of gluten in weird places, Martin just noticed that the berry flavored Tums that he has says “Contains Gluten (wheat)” on it! “My” flavor of Tums is cocoa & creme or something like that, and it doesn’t say the same thing, but…. Also, the ingredients of the berry Tums shows nothing (except the fearful/ubiquitous ‘natural flavors’) that could contain gluten! Scary… but it’s yet another sign that gluten-awareness is heightening.

    I was just at the dentist yesterday (seriously, I would rather go to the OB/GYN than the dentist. Ugh.), and ‘my’ dental technician lady, Becky, told me that another patient of hers was just telling her that her son had been dx’ed w/ Celiac Disease, and the lady had said, “I’ll bet you don’t know what that is.” And Becky said, “Well, actually, I do!” She knew about it because of Wes and me. Gotta spread the word, so less people think that all we gluten-intolerant folks aren’t just picky, whiny, health-weirdos. 😀

  9. rubber chicken girl

    You have seen Sleepless in Seattle have you not? The fiance is depicted as a complete party pooper/downer. They also botch the lines by saying they met when he ordered WHITE and she ordered WHEAT and they got mixed up or something like that. AS IF.

    BTW have you heard of Kate Miner…..if you want blow the doors off tiny little white girl who throws herself into worship, she’s it. Now I am listening to her right now and am a bit disappointed cuz when she sings back up for Darrell Evans on Consuming Fire she gives me chills. She is a PREMIER, I feel God’s pleasure when she sings, back-up singer!! I am tempted to send the DVD to you just for you to SEE/HEAR her sing. WOW.

    Her solo stuff is not doing it for me the same way. :o((

  10. rubber chicken girl

    Shoot, lost post…..we stopped going to the dentist cuz of the Hygiene Nazis!!

    Heard of Kate Miner? I am listening to her sing solo and am not as thrilled but when she sings back-up for Darrell Evans, she BLOWS THE DOORS off and throws herself into it just like you like it!!

    I may send the DVD for a loan so you can see a When-She-Sings-I-Feel-His-Pleasure Singer…

  11. rubber chicken girl

    Here’s she is with Darrell Evans;

  12. Hey, the post got lost, b/c WordPress marks things as spam when they have a lot of links in them, or if the link is too long. I rescued it. 😉

    I listened to some of the Kate Miner links. I don’t know why, but I don’t like it. It’s not her voice; it’s the musical style, I think. Just not my cuppa. (I haven’t liked her in the past — like the Live from Sunset Strip — but I listened to give her the benefit of the doubt. Oh, well.) Maybe it’s because I just don’t like Darrell Evans. IDK.

    BTW, buy all you can from!! It’s co-owned by a friend from church, a guy who has celiac disease! I’ve told you about them before — Heidie & Lockley.

  13. rubber chicken girl

    I promise. She is remarkable backing up DE even if you don’t dig him. But she does pale by comparison on her solo stuff. Someone needs to write her some gritty R&B music or she needs to link up with Ashley Cleveland types. Her choice of songs/songwriting just make her sound blah. Bummer.

  14. If you ever try to fry the puppies (no, not literally…gross!) let me know what happens. Mine exploded. Still yummy tasting but very greasy and hard to eat.

  15. I was looking for a recipe like the Pei Wei Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls and found your site. I’ll have to try your recipe. Just wanted to throw this in… I had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant and ordered some make-it-yourself spring rolls where they brought out the wrappers in their “hard” state and a bowl of water to dip them. The water wasn’t even hot and it softens the wrappers right up. We dipped them, took them out, let them sit a few seconds, and they were pliable. Thought that might take a step & a burned finger or two out of your process!

  16. DeWayne Holcomb

    Hi, I noticed the comments about Darrell Evans and Kate Miner. I was googling to find the Consuming Fire DVD, but it is out of print. I love that song Precious Jesus, which I had the video from an Absolute Worship Promo dvd. It got me through some hard seasons. Does “rubber chicken girl” have a copy? If so, could she burn one for me? I’ll gladly pay for everything. I can burn it myself, if that is better. I can’t find this DVD for sale anywhere. THe Darrell Evans website responded to me and said it was out of production/not available.

    Please let me know if you can help. BTW, we homeschool, have 8 and one on the way. You can look up our church at

    God Bless,

    DeWayne Holcomb
    Austin Texas

  17. DeWayne ~ I forwarded your message to RCG. I don’t know if she has the DVD or not.

    BTW… speaking of things being out of print… your church has Graham Cooke coming!!! I love him. A number of years ago, a friend made a copy for me of a tape series of his called “Personal Development” and it was tremendously impactful for me. But, it was a) not an original and b) one of the tapes cut off short. So, I went to the G.Cooke website, and apparently, that series is out of print, too…


  18. P.S. DeWayne, if you put quotes around your key phrases, you’ll likely have more success with Google. I found multiple copies of the DVD this way: “Darrell Evans” “consuming fire” DVD

    Like here:

    This one is the CD w/ a “Bonus DVD” but it doesn’t say what is on the DVD:

    And it looks like the DVD was recently for sale on eBay, but must have sold or something… but it would be worthwhile to save it as a favorite search and get updates e-mailed to you.

  19. Rubber Chicken Girl

    Karen Joy has the DVD!! She isn’t a DE fan, but I thought Kate Miner was exceptional, so loaned it to her. Hey, KJ, give me back my DVD so I can share!? Can I burn a copy on my computer or do I need a 2 DVD/DVD player? I am no techie!!

  20. Rubber Chicken Girl

    KJ is right. Amazon is your best/most efficient bet. They have 3 copies.

  21. DeWayne Holcomb,

    Glad to hear you are still in Texas, I am in Washington. Left Cincy in November 06′. If you are out there look me up through DOE Hanford. We have another one, he is turning three soon.


  22. Pei Wei dropped Vietnamese Spring Rolls from their menu this year (2008). Sad day for me.

  23. Ronnie ~ Maybe it’s just regional. They’re still on the menu here in the Phx area.

  24. I made spring rolls made with these rice wrappers a couple weeks ago. They were great. (Got them at Lee Lee’s which is a good hours drive but I LOVE that place!) You probably already know this now but all you have to do with the wrappers is dip them in room temperature water and let them sit for a minute or two and they soften up so that they are useable. The longer they sit the softer the wrap gets. I fried mine. Really good.

    • Kim, do you go to Lee Lee’s just because you like it? I go to Asiana Supermarket on the NE corner of 43rd Ave & Union Hills. That’s still probably a ways away from you, but a lot closer than Lee Lee’s!

  25. I didn’t even know there were other ones. But I am about equal distances from both places. Does this place stink less of rotting fish?

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