Edible Insect Recipe: How to Make Mealworm Spring Rolls
Nov. 11, 2018
Jan. 5, 2019
May contain affiliate links.
I love spring rolls as an introduction to entomophagy because, quite frankly, everyone loves spring rolls. The transparent rice paper adds an elegant and dreamy presentation to whatever you put inside the roll; pretty much everything looks beautiful behind an opaque rice paper veil. Besides rice paper sheet and vermicelli noodles, spring roll ingredients vary significantly, but the general balance is crunchy veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers, bean sprouts, etc) with fresh herbs (mint, basil, or cilantro) with some lettuce and meat (pork, shrimp, or both). In this recipe I used mealworms and shrimp because that's what I had on-hand, but you could easily follow these instructions and just replace the shrimp with the closely related relatives: grasshoppers or crickets.
Total: 45 mins; Serves 4
- 8 large lettuce leaves; hard spines removed
- 1 package rice paper spring roll wrappers
- 1 carrot; julienned
- 1 package vermicelli rice noodles; boiled
- 1 large english cucumber; julienned
- 1 bunch fresh herbs: basil, mint, or cilantro.
- 8-12 small prawns/shrimp; boiled, deveined, halved, de-shelled
- 1/3 cup mealworms; boiled and roasted
1. Prepare all ingredients and place around you for assembly. This means wash your lettuce and select several large and intact leaves, julienne your vegetables, and boil your vermicelli noodles.Your shrimp will need to be boiled for about 2-3 minutes, then deveined, cut in half, and deshelled. Your mealworms should be boiled and roasted. If you will be making spring rolls often, you can get a special dipping bowl, but any large bowl of warm water will also do fine. The key is to briefly dip the rice paper sheet—don't soak—and only right before you're about to use it.
2. Spread your wet rice paper sheet on a cutting board, and place a large piece of lettuce on top. If you are new to making spring rolls and worried about tearing the delicate rice paper, you may also assemble your ingredients on the lettuce alone, and then transfer your lettuce-wrapped ingredient bundle to a rice paper sheet just before folding.
3. Lay a bundle of rice vermicelli noodles on top of the lettuce, lengthwise.
4. Start laying the veggies, herbs, and mealworms on the noodles. You may find it helpful to layer the firm, julienned veggies on the outside of the noodles so they act as a split, helping to keep the spring roll's shape. Lay some herbs in a row, so that every mouthful gets some herbs. Springle a layer of roasted mealworms on top of the noodles—use mint or basil herb-fed mealworms, for extra flavor.
5. Start the roll by folding the back of the rice paper over the front, firm enough to make a tight roll, but not so firm that you rip the delicate rice paper.
6. After you have rolled some of the rice paper over the ingredient bundle and started to roll, fold the outside edges over, just like you would a burrito. Hold the roll firmly as you do this.
7. At this point all of your spring roll ingredients should be enclosed in a rice paper sheet, but there should be more sheet left to add the finishing ingredients.
8. Place some shrimp—boiled, deveined, halved, and deshelled—on top of your roll, holding them in place with your front fingers and your thumb and other fingers hold the roll firmly.
9. If you are adding a stalk of green onion, this is the time to add, alongside with the shrimp.
10. Sprinkle another row of mealworms, so they will be clearly visible behind the rice paper sheet.
11. Hold your ingredients in place with your forefingers as you continue to hold firm and roll with your thumbs and other fingers. This is the final roll!
12. Your finished spring roll should be firm, with the rice sheet unbroken, and ingredients visible inside. If you break a few rice paper sheets on your first few tries, don't worry; you'll get it. Serve with some peanut sauce, garlic chilli, sriracha, or chili vinegar dipping sauce on the side, and enjoy.
TIP: Spring rolls will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator, but make sure you wrap them individually with cling wrap, or else they will stick together.
This entomophagy recipe is included in Bugs for Beginners, a cookbook which teaches Westerners how to prepare edible insects and safely eat a bug. Text may include affiliate links
I'm Mic. I love reading about, writing about, thinking about, photographing, and especially eating, food. Especially bug food. Enough talk, let's eat!