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Spring Rolls with Sesame-Ponzu Vinaigrette


Spring Rolls with Sesame Ponzu Vinaigrette

This is one of my husband’s and my favorite dishes, and I hope everyone enjoys this meal with family and friends. It’s a Southeast Asian dish with a Japanese twist.

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*Note: Konbucha (also kobucha) is made from konbu seaweed. It is full of konbu glutamine and asparagine umami deliciousness. It is available for purchase at Japanese markets as well as online. Konbucha is a salty seasoning, so if you can’t find this, you can use salt instead. But it doesn’t have the nice umami flavor from konbu...


For the dipping sauce

  • One 1 ½-inch piece daikon, grated
  • 6 tablespoons ponzu sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon konbucha*
  • 1 green onion, chopped

For the rolls

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 pound sliced pork belly, cut into 1 ½- to 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon konbucha
  • 10 pieces rice paper
  • 1/2 head red leaf lettuce
  • 10 shiso leaves
  • One 2-inch piece daikon, julienned
  • 1 stalk celery, julienned
  • 1/2 English cucumber, julienned
  • 1/2 carrot, julienned
  • One 2-inch piece leek, white part only, cored and julienned (optional)
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and cut into 8 pieces


For the dipping sauce

Take the grated daikon and squeeze all of the liquid out using a kitchen towel (there should be about 2 tablespoons of flesh leftover). Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

For the rolls

Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat and season with konbucha. Cook the meat until it becomes crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Use paper towels to absorb excess oil and transfer to a plate.

Heat 2-3 cups of water in a pot over high heat just until it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Take a piece of rice paper, holding it by the edge, and rotate it in the hot water 3 times (like a spinning wheel), and put it on a plate. The rice paper will be soft from the hot water.

Layer the toppings in this order: 1 piece red leaf lettuce, 1 shiso leaf, a few pieces of pork belly, followed by the remaining vegetables, to taste. Add the egg and then sauce on top.

Wrap up the roll, starting with the bottom center. Fold in the sides and continue rolling the rice paper. The edges will stick together naturally. (You can also eat without rice paper. Simply use a piece of lettuce as the wrap. Either way, it’s amazingly delicious!) Repeat for the remaining rolls.