Nime Chow are fresh Cambodian spring rolls stuffed with bright veggies, and wrapped in delicate rice paper. Served with a savory-sweet peanut sauce for dipping, these morsels are perfect healthy appetizers or snacks on their own or as part of a meal. They would be particularly fantastic for a spa day with friends!
Nime Chow is a personal favorite dish that I order regularly at local Asian restaurants. It’s a raw spring roll, sometimes called a summer roll. It’s a simple and fresh combination of fresh, raw vegetables and cellophane noodles. You can also add small to medium sized fresh, cooked, peeled shrimp into these rolls, but for the purpose at hand I have created a veggie forward version. I love it with its slightly chewy exterior and fresh and crunchy filling of fresh vegetables. And the peanut sauce… it’s just delicious.
How to assemble Nime Chow
First you’ll need to soak the rice paper in water to soften it. The recipe uses 1 1/2 sheets of rice paper per roll, but I have also made it with 2 sheets per roll, and that works too if you want a thicker wrapper. Be careful not to soak it too long, or the rice paper will be impossible to work with. Next you’ll top the rice paper with your filling ingredients. Wrap it like a burrito, and seal closed. Then cut each roll in half and serve with the peanut sauce. Easy as that! The peanut sauce traditionally contains fish sauce, but if you want a fully vegetarian and vegan dish, simply omit it.
How to use leftover ingredients
- Bean thread (cellophane) noodles: Ants Climbing a Tree (Ma Yi Shang Shu)
- Bean sprouts: Shrimp Pad Thai
- Fresh basil: Spaghetti Sciuè Sciuè
- Carrots: Gajar Matar (Indian Carrots and Peas)
This recipe comes from a local restaurant in my home town that closed a few years back! How random is that? The good thing about this dish is that you can easily switch up some of the filling ingredients. Also, the dish doesn’t require any actual cooking! Just soaking and assembling, so it would be really nice to prepare on a hot summer day.
The fun of these rolls is that you can make them to your liking. Just adjust the filling as you wish. And don’t forget the deliciously sweet-and-sour peanut-laced sauce. It’s not your typical peanut sauce but it is the perfect dressing for these fresh and healthy rolls. I prefer to spoon the sauce over each bite rather than actually dipping into it. It’s less messy, and this way you ensure bits of peanut make it into your roll.
Have you ever had Nime Chow? It’s pretty common at various Asian restaurants in Rhode Island, but I’m curious if it’s prevalent in other regions. Let me know in the comments!
- 1 1/2 ounces uncooked bean threads cellophane noodles
- 12 (8-inch round) sheets rice paper
- 2 cups thinly sliced curly leaf lettuce
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 24 medium basil leaves
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (omit for vegetarian sauce)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
- Combine bean threads and 2 cups hot water in a bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Drain; cut into 2-inch lengths with scissors.
- Add cold water to a large shallow dish to a depth of 1 inch. Cut 4 rice paper sheets in half, leaving remaining 8 sheets whole. Place 1 whole rice paper sheet and 1 half rice paper sheet in dish of water. Let stand 30 seconds or until soft (but don’t over soak because then it will tear easily and be harder to work with). Remove sheets from water.
- Place whole rice paper sheet on a flat surface; top with half sheet, lining up edges of both sheets. Place 1/4 cup lettuce over half sheet, leaving a 1/2-inch border around outer edge of half sheet. Arrange 2 tablespoons grated carrot, 1 1/2 tablespoons bean threads, 2 tablespoons bean sprouts, and 3 basil leaves over lettuce. Fold sides of rice paper sheets over filling; roll up tightly, jelly-roll fashion. Gently press seam to seal; place, seam side down, on a serving platter (cover to keep from drying). Repeat procedure with remaining rice paper sheets, lettuce, carrot, bean threads, bean sprouts, and basil.
- Cut each roll in half crosswise.
- To make the sauce, combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Cool completely. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve with the rolls.