While traveling in Thailand I was struck by how incredibly beautiful the food was everywhere. The street vendors with their ingenuity with both food and drinks have inspired me. What I am trying to achieve in this roll is a sweet and sour contrast in flavor and texture. I am using red pepper and mango. If you don't like fish sauce, you can substitute a soy.You could use any number of dipping sauces if you don't want to make the one I am suggesting. I usually serve these with at least two sauces. I like to include a simple sauce made with 1 part fish sauce, 1 part lime juice, 1 part rice vinegar, and 2 parts mirin with fresh grated ginger. A chili, peanut, or hoisin sauce can also work. I suggest you build these rolls with 2 wrappers each. This way you have a sturdy roll, so the contents do not break through while you also artfully enframe the finishing basil leaves. —Sagegreen
One suggested dipping sauce
fresh mango fruit, rough chopped
red bell pepper, cut into slices (no seeds)
fresh lime juice
red curry or chili paste (more if you want spicier)
tiny pinch of sea salt
The garden rolls
cellophane bean thread noodles
spring roll skins (also known as rice paper)
cup Napa cabbage or lettuce, shredded
small mango, cut into small strips
small red bell pepper, julienned
fresh mixed herbs- thai basil, mint, cilantro
The quantity of mango should roughly equal the amount of pepper that you use for the dip. Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning to balance the acidity and heat.
Chill thoroughly until serving. Pack in a spillproof container for travel.
The garden rolls
Cover and soak the dry cellophane noodles in hot water for 15 minutes. Snip into @ 4 inch lengths. Drain and toss with a little vinegar. Set aside.
Working to make one roll at a time, soak 2 of the spring roll skins in hot water for less than a minute. Drain and place one skin on a work surface while you keep the other one moist in between 2 moist paper towel sheets. It is best to soak the paper towels first and then wring them out.
Leaving one inch margin all around the skin, arrange 1/6 of the cellophane noodles on top of the base skin. Next on top of that arrange the 1/6 of each: the julienned carrots and peppers around the mango slices, the mixed herbs, and the shredded lettuce or cabbage.
Fold the uncovered sides in first and then firmly roll the whole skin up from the bottom. Then moisten the seam with a little lime juice and press to seal closed. Next arrange two large basil leaves on the outside top and bottom of your rolled, filled roll. Take the second moistened skin and roll that around the filled roll, following the same process as with the first skin. The first roll is now ready. Repeat the whole process with the other 5 rolls. Keep the completed rolls chilled wrapped in moistened paper towels, stored in plastic bags until serving, for up to a day in advance. You can then pack in an attractive bag for a picnic basket.
To serve slice each roll into 4 pieces. Let come to room temperature. Serve with dipping sauces as suggested above and in the head note. Add crushed peanut as a garnish, if you like.