Peanutty Thai-inspired cold rolls

I came up with these one day because I was just craving something fresh and light, but snacky not salady… A quick rummage through the cupboards revealed rice paper for making cold rolls, and the fridge yielded the fresh, crisp veg that sets off the crunchy, spicy, fragrant peanutty filling.

If it’s a warm, sunny day and you’re feeling like an adventurous snack or light meal option, give these a whirl. Your tastebuds will appreciate the fun combination of flavours and textures 🙂

Once you get the hang of making these, you’ll feel confident to serve them at your next party… and then you’ll have to deal with requests for them from your guests from that day forth… 😉

Flavour: Savoury & spicy

Serves: 4-12 as a snack, starter, or party nibbles


You’ll need 12 rice papers for this, yielding 12 whole cold rolls or 24 half-rolls if you prefer to cut them up for serving.

Spicy peanut & herb filling:

  • half cup peanuts, toasted & crushed (see here for peanut-toasting tip)
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
  • 6 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • large handful of Thai basil, coarsely chopped (it’s ok to leave some leaves whole)
  • large handful of Thai coriander, shredded (European coriander will do fine, but the Thai stuff is really robust and works great in this)
  • small handful mint leaves, coarsely chopped (any kind will do)

Salad filling:

Choose any or all of the following ingredients for filling your rolls – they all go together nicely, and work nicely in various combinations.

  • 1 carrot, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 1 cup shredded white cabbage or wombok
  • half cup shredded red cabbage
  • 200g tofu, cut into lengths 1cm wide – these can be plain or marinated, and either grilled or fried
  • 200g tempeh, cut into lengths 1cm wide – these can be plain or marinated, and either grilled or fried
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 12 lettuce leaves


  1. Prepare your spicy peanut & herb filling:
    • Mix your peanuts, chillies, kaffir lime leaves and palm sugar in a mortar and pestle, pounding gently just to release the flavours, not to grind or make a paste
    • Add soy sauce to your peanut filling, and stir well – set aside for filling the rolls
    • Combine the chopped basil, coriander and mint in a separate bowl
    • Prepare your spicy peanut & herb filling:
  2. Prepare your salady filling:
    • Set out whichever salad and tofu/tempeh items you want to include on a large plate or platter, keeping each ingredient group clearly separate – e.g. a little pile of carrot, a pile of cabbage, a pile of tofu, etc…
  3.  Build your cold rolls one by one….:
    • Pour quarter of a cup of water onto a plate (preferably one with high-ish sides, so the water doesn’t spill!
    • Soak one rice paper in the water for about 20 seconds – you’ll notice it softens, but don’t let it get really soft yet as it will continue to soften even after you remove it from the water
    • Transfer rice paper to a fresh plate
    • Place a handful salad items in the centre of the rice paper, one ingredient at a time (start with your lettuce leaf if you’re using lettuce, and fill this with the other ingredients as you go), slightly toward the right – keep your ingredients as separate as possible as you build your rolls, as this will make them look pretty when you cut/bite into them
    • Place a pinch of your mixed herbs on top of your salad ingredients on the rice paper, distributing evenly
    • Place a teaspoon of your spicy peanut mixture on top of your herby mix
    • Roll up your rice paper roll: start by folding the right side over the filling, and hold the filling in gently but tightly as you continue to roll to the half-way point
    • When your roll is half rolled, fold in the top and bottom, and continue rolling up, tucking in the top and bottom as you roll
    • When your roll is fully rolled it should feel reasonably tight and firm, and have no loose folds or bits spilling out… if this is your first time making cold rolls, expect to make a few dodgy-but-tasty ones while you have your training wheels on! You’ll get the hand of it soon enough 😉
    • Rinse and repeat until you have all 12 rolls done 🙂

Serve your fresh, crisp, crunchy cold rolls with the dipping sauce of your choice. My flavour of the month, being that it’s stone fruit season, is nectarine sauce… but you could use its traditional sister, plum sauce, or a sticky sweet chilli sauce, or a creamy, mouthwatering peanut sauce – the choice is yours 😀

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