When you think about it, it’s remarkable, really, just how many opportunities we have every day to do something new.  Much of the time it doesn’t feel like it.  Our days follow patterns.  We have baskets full of habits and well-worn ruts that we comfortably cruise along in.

And actually, a certain amount of repetition and stability in your life turns out to be really important and healthy.  Which makes perfect sense.  Nature is full of rhythms and patterns.  We reside within them, and if completely rhythmless we feel jostled and jarred and seriously uncomfortable.

But if we don’t keep our eyes open to all the myriad of tiny dips and swerves within the patterns, it can be easy to feel trapped in some sort of mold that looks a lot like same-old-same-old.

I forget sometimes, that I’m the one making the decision to walk down the exact same street to get to the subway every time I go, when in reality, there are dozens of paths that run there.  The destination is the same – rhythm – but I can switch the route up – discovery!

Same with cooking.  We need to eat.  Pretty darn regularly, in fact!  And it’s easy to find ourselves making the same things over and over again.  Of course, I’ll be the first person to sing the praises of old weeknight standbys (did somebody say spaghetti?!).  They’re lifesavers.  But, it’s also remarkable to me just how very many things I’ve never made before, or techniques I haven’t tried.  Even with a decent number of years of cooking under my belt.

Like spring rolls.  Can you believe that until last week, I had never actually made my own spring rolls?

I’ve had a package of spring roll wrappers in my cupboard for nearly a year now (they were sealed, they seem to have kept just fine) with the intention of making exactly these spring rolls – this flavor combination and everything – but it took me, ahem, a while to get around to it.  I guess my non-spring roll rut was a pretty deep and steep one.

But, I’m highly suggestable when it comes to food, and given that it is spring, I found myself thinking, “spring, hmmmm, spring flowers, spring leaves, spring fever…spring rolls!”  And just like that, it was finally time to make them.

Now, I’m not even going to dive fully into talking about the filling.  You’ve got a combination of crunchy cabbage and butter-smooth avocado.  On top of that there’s crab, mango, and cilantro, which brings you earth and sea, pine resin (from the mango) and grass (that’s the cilantro), sweet salt air and sweeter flesh (the crab, of course).  A little tropical, a lot playful.  It’s basically one of my favorite salads tightly bundled into a roll so all the ingredients can get nice and cozy with each other.  Delicious, but, for us at least, not a huge discovery.

No, the real voyage of discovery for me was learning just how terrible I am at rolling spring rolls.  I’m a disaster folks!  As you’ll be able to see from the many loose ends and little tears in my rolls that couldn’t be fully hidden from camera or diners, even with lots of gentle tucking and turning things torn side down.

Yet, it was fun.  My first several spring roll sheets I didn’t submerge in water long enough for them to reach their full malleable-stretchy potential, and  I tore them completely to shreds.  But, after a bit I started to get the hang of soaking them well, handling them carefully, tugging them gently  but firmly to try to coax them just to the limits of their flexibility.  (Making spring roll rolling sound oddly similar to coaching gymnastics.)

I mustered all my patience and attention for my last roll, trying finally to get it perfect.  No dice.  It was still a all loose and saggy around the edges.  But it was such enthusiastic leaps and bounds better than my first specimens, I felt good about the effort.

Which brings us back to that good old confluence of rhythm and repetition with newness and discovery.  I have a feeling that as  I try more spring rolls in the future, I’ll find the rhythm of it.  I’ll make little discoveries about angles, and filling volume, and where to hold my fingers, and even though the instructions I follow for rolling spring rolls will be the same, they’ll turn out better and better.

But, um, until then, if you have any tips, please do let me know!

Spring Rolls with Mango, Avocado, and Crab (makes about 16 rolls)

  • about 16 medium rice-paper spring roll wrappers
  • about 4 oz. cooked crab meat, gently shredded apart with your fingers
  • 1 large mango, peeled and cut into long thin strips
  • 2-3 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into slices
  • 3-4 cups thinly shredded savoy cabbage
  • several handfuls of fresh cilantro leaves
  • a squeeze of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. orange juice
  • 1 minced chili pepper
  1. Toss the cabbage with a good squeeze of lime juice.
  2. Submerge a spring roll wrapper into warm water for 15 seconds, until it is completely soft and pliable. Using both hands, lift it out and spread it flat on a non-sticky surface.
  3. Pile some cabbage, crab, an avocado slice, and a mango slice on the wrapper.  Lift the edge of the wrapper over the filling and tuck it over into the beginnings of a roll, you need to stretch it a bit, but it’s a delicate balance to stretch it to its max while not accidentally tearing it. Fold in the flaps from the adjacent sides to close those edges, then continue to roll it up tightly – it’s like rolling a burrito or a wrap – and seal it shut.
  4. Place on a platter and continue with the remaining wrappers and filling.
  5. To make a dipping sauce, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, orange juice, honey, and minced pepper.
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141 Responses to Mango, avocado, and crab spring rolls

  1. Karista says:

    What a perfect spring recipe. These look so delicious! And great as a party starter. :)

  2. These look super fresh and healthy! Delish!

  3. YES. Must make. Thank you!
    Congrats on Freshly Pressed…
    Check me out at theusualbliss.com sometime.

  4. OK: Love avocado; love cilantro; love mango; love spring rolls.

    NEVER tried them all together, though! Thanks for the inspiration — sounds light, healthy and TASTY…

    :)

  5. I’ve been humming “These are a few of my favorite things” while reading this…the combination is one my favourites, taste-wise AND colour-wise! Nicely done, lady. And don’t worry – the first time is always the hardest.

  6. Carlie Chew says:

    Yummm!!! Beautiful pictures as well : )

  7. urbannight says:

    Each time you make another batch, they get easier. Once you stop worrying about tearing them you suddenly stop tearing them.

    • urbannight says:

      PS, I really want to make these, but I’m not sure where I’ll be able to find mango and I’m not sure what a good substitue would be.

      • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

        Ooh, that’s a tough one. There isn’t anything that would make a really great substitute for mangos – they’re pretty unique. But, you could try sliced papaya, or potentially even sliced ripe peaches/nectarines.

  8. aFrankAngle says:

    A recipe winner and perfect warm weather treat.

  9. Cath says:

    I agree with Karista. I might even consider it a mid afternoon snack.

  10. Nicolle says:

    These sound absolutely delicious!!

  11. edebock says:

    These sound fabulous!

  12. Cath says:

    I agree with Karista. This will also be good for a mid afternoon snack.

  13. Robin says:

    Love those. Haven’t made a spring roll in probably 8 years, so no tips there, but thanks for the reminder about how much I like them! With summer coming, those will most certainly be on my dinner list.

  14. sarahsjoys says:

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! These look delicious! I had the same thought about a year and a half ago “I can’t believe I’ve never made this or that” even with how much cooking I do! It has let me to making pasta from scratch, roast duck, French Macaroons, Bun Thit Nuong, and lots of other cooking adventures! :) We will have to give these a try. We love both avocado and mango!

  15. YUM! These look good… I’m really hungry right now… do you have any left? :P I’d be really tempted to deep fry them seeing as the contents inside are sooooo healthy and scrummy… hmm… lovely!

  16. skinnymefree says:

    It seems like a strange mix but I’ll have to try it out. It seems really healthy.

  17. notesonawire says:

    These are making my mouth water just a little. I can’t say I’ve made spring rolls yet either….but this might be the inspiration I need :)

  18. Yummy! It looks delicious!!!

  19. JannyAn says:

    This looks delicious. I’m really gonnan try it.

  20. I am definitely going to make these.

  21. Sarah says:

    Yummy combinations!

  22. Definitely need to try this out. Thanks for posting.

  23. pimpchef says:

    Who do your pictures? I got the food part locked down, but can’t take pix like dat.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      I do my own pictures. It’s something I’ve been working on a lot over the past couple years.

  24. [...] Mango, avocado, and crab spring rolls (fiveandspice.wordpress.com) [...]

  25. Mmmm, this recipe reminds me of my visit to Vietnamese restaurants when I lived in Orlando. I will definitely try out this recipe.

  26. Oh yeah! I’ve never attempted spring rolls, I wonder why. I’ll take on just about any other baking/cooking recipe fearlessly. Looks like I need a new challengs. I’m so going to make these for hubby & me. My DD may eat them, DS, not a chance! Congrats on FP! Can’t wait to try these!

  27. mylifeisf says:

    I love mango and I love advocado :) Looks Yummy. Thumbs up.

  28. Reblogged this on brouhaha-access and commented:
    This is a great and healthy recipe from 5 & spice. It brings back memories of eating out with my family.

  29. [...] Mango, Crab, & Avocado Spring Rolls (Homemade!) from fiveandspice ( I found them featured on the wordpress main site and I can’t [...]

  30. Currie Rose says:

    Yummy yummy! This has been printed out and I do so look forward to trying it out. :)

  31. Kristina says:

    these look fantastic, thanks for sharing!!! :)

  32. Abby says:

    That looks yum!

  33. Jessica R. says:

    Looks delicious ! Beautiful pictures ! Thank you for that ! Got my own recipes but in french, I will certainly try this one and translate it !

  34. Beautiful rolls, I have never made them before but I sure love to eat them. Yours are gorgeous and your photo’s are amazing. I love the whole flavor profile.

  35. toliveinspired says:

    That sounds fresh and really tastey! I will have to give it a try!

  36. Wow. Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

  37. Erin says:

    Those look fun to make and a perfect combination of flavors. Thanks for sharing!

  38. tearmatt says:

    Blimey! who’d have thought to mix them together! This is definitely a wrap that will have to wait for the summer as I imagine that it’s best enjoyed in the sunshine. England still seems to think that it’s December! :(

  39. dskrzycki says:

    This screams summer. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  40. Carrie says:

    Oooh~ that looks DELICIOUS and very healthy too!! It’s very interesting to know that you have to soak the spring roll sheets before you use it… When I was back in Asia we always have the ready-to-use ones that you can use straight away! Perhaps there are different kinds of sheets for difference purposes? Hm…

  41. Forget that the recipe looks awesome and now I’m hungry. The pictures are amazing. WONDERFUL food photography. And did I mention I was hungry. Thanks for sharing this…

  42. fun yu think says:

    Now this is something I can surprise my wife with that she would probably like very much. i am a heavy meat eater and all the special meals I make us really end up being a meat fest….

  43. mrsbuenavida says:

    Too pretty!! I was freshly pressed recently too. It was the coolest experience. Congratulations! I love your blog and I can’t wait to dig in more!

  44. I’m with you, practice makes perfect and I’m still practicing the “spring roll roll.” I did get a tad nervous.seeing your picture of them lined up and touching one another. I worried that they would stick together. Maybe I need more practice there too. Thanks for the tips and ideas.

  45. YUM! I could eat many of these!

  46. What a lovely introduction. Also your photos are great. What you are calling spring roll wrappers are usually called rice paper. Spring roll wrappers are a thin (thinner than egg roll wrappers) wheat wrapper. They are filled and deep fried or shallow fried. Your instructions for wrapping the rice paper seem correct and I think you just have to get the hang of rolling them. Make sure the dish you dip them in is a bit wider than the rice paper. (It could be a pie pan.) When you take one out at a time it should be pliable. If they shatter they are too dry (or maybe too old). You don’t need to seal them. They stick to themselves. I have a delicious recipe for Vietnamese summer rolls on my blog you might like to look at. Happy cooking and happy blogging!

  47. Sauce Boss says:

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Great looking site and awesome recipe – I’m going to have to try this – and visit on a regular basis. :)

  48. This looks fabulous!!! I am posting an avocado/mango (with jicama) red quinoa recipe today too! Guess it’s that time of year ;-)

  49. shelswift says:

    Love spring rolls and FABULOUS photos!!!
    I’ll be thinking of rhythm and discovery :)

  50. try adding bean sprouts, bamboo shoots or sliced water chestnuts :)

  51. Iya Santos says:

    i love the simplicity of this. can’t wait to try this dish. :)

  52. Reblogged this on Lady Philospher's Blog and commented:
    3x three of my favorite things*

  53. Mango, crab and cilantro, sounds divine. I have used these wrappers a couple of times.

    I find them a great way to use up some left leftovers such as thinly sliced seared beef fillet or shrimp when you combine them with some fresh veggies and some Asian flavours.

  54. Kookith says:

    Hi! I just stumbled on your blog. I love those Vietnamese spring roll wrappers!

    A tip I’ve learnt from all my years of making and eating spring rolls is to fold in the 2 sides first before you do the first fold over the ingredients. It’s what I’ve been taught since young. It’ll make it easier and keep the whole thing in shape, and minimise tears too.

    Congrats on being FP!

  55. Mark Cassidy says:

    The are heretofore declared the official Spring Rolls of the West Coast… Now you guys must move here! Thanks Emily! Get out here soon. We miss you and Joel.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Aw, we miss you guys too! Definitely hoping for a Seattle trip soon. And I hear Brandon and Molly are opening a bar?? You must take us there when we visit! :)

  56. Sarah Harris says:

    This looks and sounds delicious!! I’ve always wanted to try to make spring rolls!

  57. This looks delicious! What a great flavor combo :)

  58. Those spring rolls look so good. Mango, avocado, and crab, now thats a winner!

  59. Alex says:

    Looks really good. I might try this recipe.

    One of my favorite meals is Chicken wraps. They’re very healthy if you eat them with a lot of vegetables. I like to use carrots, cucumber, red pepper, onion, lettuce, and salsa.

  60. Super recipe and wonderful pictures …………………

  61. Villy says:

    Wonderful combination of ingredients!

  62. kimberlu78 says:

    You just made me hungry :-) ! First image reminded me of my unlimited shawarma in Doha…btw, I can smell the mangoes, yummy!

  63. The title alone makes my mouth water. The pics are fantastic !

  64. housetrade says:

    They look like little parcels sent straight from heaven. Thank you for deciding what my starter will be for a dinner party this weekend.

  65. dndrumahkue says:

    Reblogged this on dndrumahkue and commented:
    Info makanan

  66. What a great blog, I have some crab meat that I’ve now found the perfect recipe for

  67. denlyn3 says:

    Avocado makes everything so tasty, nice spring rolls.

  68. ingridkomis says:

    The apring rolls look simply delicious! Love the pictures. Please keep postiong more scrumptios recipes.

    xx Ingid

  69. kitschykatt says:

    Reblogged this on kitschypop and commented:
    Fresh, healthy, fun and easy to make. This would be a good meal or snack to make with kids.

  70. Reblogged this on InspiredWeightloss! and commented:
    This looks delicious and the combination of the ingredients in the mango, avocado and crabs in the rolls are amazing! Who would have thought that this combination would taste so good! :)

  71. [...] I share a very healthy, extremely yummy, recipe from FIVE AND SPICE. Proof positive that creating a healthy, baby ready body, can be fun, and appetizing. [...]

  72. Thanks! This was the most delicious and insightful blog I have ever visited. I can not wait to try my own for dinner.

  73. They look temptingly delicious and perfect for spring/summer days. Mango, avocado and crab are such a wonderful combination.

  74. jennwhitley says:

    Wow — I have been pushing myself to cook more, and this is a perfect spring/summer treat! Thanks.

  75. Sophia says:

    I only have three words for this post: Ooooh!!, Yum!!, and Mmmm!

  76. looks so good! I can’t wait to try this!

  77. chasincakes says:

    Wow!! These look incredible! And perfectly fresh now that it’s getting warmer!

  78. nice recipe i’m sure your dish is delicious :x
    have you tried our Vietnamese spring rolls? :)

  79. ricobel says:

    Looks really really nice! I’d love to try that, thanks for the great recipe!

  80. I love thinking about the idea of rhythms and patterns in nature, and then following that idea into the kitchen. You’ll find your rhythm with spring rolls. Just keep making them. The total freedom they offer is exhilarating! Love your blog…congrats on being recognized like this!
    Eleanor

  81. Andrea says:

    This makes me hungry! Great idea

  82. Oh my do those look delicious!!! I will be trying these on http://www.365til30.com!
    Thank you!

  83. Eileen says:

    Emily, you’re such a talented writer, photographer & cook that I keep wanting & expecting you to show up in the Saveur blog awards. Today, I saw that you got 107 comments on this recipe. One step closer! A blog this good can’t stay a secret forever.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Oh Eileen! You just made me start to tear up. You’re so sweet to say that! I can’t even tell you how much your kindness and confidence in me means to me. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, and discovered by the biggies or not, I think we’ll have a grand time!

  84. sara0902 says:

    Reblogged this on MessyBeaucoup and commented:
    Yummy !

  85. [...] What do you serve with Mango wine?  Check out this crazy awesome spring roll creation – Mango, Avocado and Crab Spring Roll from Five and Spice [...]

  86. Ok, your pictures are insanely gorgeous! We are adding this to our blog post on Mango Wine PLUS adding to our Mother’s Day Sunday brunch menu.

    Mango wine… Might be too sweet for some, but just right for others… http://barrysentials.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/wines-from-the-philippines-really-yes-light-fruit-wines/

  87. Astrid says:

    Great post. Your spring rolls look delicious, and the photography is top notch – I would never have known about the little rips and tears if you hadn’t said!

    I finally took the plunge and made my first spring rolls on (no pressure…) Christmas Day. Christmas is in summer for us, so spring rolls as hors d’oeuvres isn’t as incongruous as it sounds!

    It took a few rolls to get the hang of the wrapping technique (the really ragged ones we ate before the rest of the family arrived), but in the end it was surprisingly easy to make something interesting, tasty, and healthy.

    I love the idea of mango (or other fruit) in the rolls, definitely a must-try!

  88. femchef says:

    Ah, yum… I love avocado….. O_O

  89. Erica Lynn says:

    So healthy and delicious too! Definitely a must-try recipe for the summer!

  90. oneyounglove says:

    Oh my goodness! This looks absolutely delicious! Perfect for a warm weather dinner party! Everyone could assemble their own! I bet it would be amazing with some sweet chili sauce.

  91. These spring rolls sound really wonderful. I love how you tell the tale of discovering recipes. Cooking is like that for me too. And yes, you tend to try a lot of new things when you are writing a food blog (my husband loves me for this). I’ll stop by often to check your progress.

  92. I can entirely relate to the unexpected routine we end up in! Food really is my key to experimenting in life. Nothing is more exciting than eating something new because it engages all the sense :)

  93. They look delicious! I’ll have to try them out this week :) Thanks!

  94. ngandchef says:

    Healthy Healthy HEalthy!

  95. worldnosh says:

    Yes, yes, yes- three of my favourite ingredients (crab,mango and avocado) all wrapped up in my favourite shape: the spring roll! Think it’s a perfect pic nic food!

  96. I’ve never made spring rolls, but I’m going to have to try it. These look delish!

  97. Oh my gosh! Looking delicious! This must be ‘cos it was made by you. This is really amazing.

  98. fantastic – inspired to make this today!

  99. I love this combination of flavors!
    I don’t have spring roll wrappers on hand, but I plan to do a version of this tomorrow using steamed Napa cabbage leaves as the wrap (folded taco style) and adding in some fresh spinach leaves, a little warmed cream cheese, and some coconut oil to complement the lime. Thank you for the inspiration!

  100. Everything looks so delicious and light.

  101. une recette qui me plait bien. je vais l’essayer bientôt.

  102. Kookith says:

    Reblogged this on Kookith and commented:
    I can’t wait to make this, it looks absolutely delicious!

  103. definitely wanna try this!

  104. Pipeta says:

    Sounds like a delicious combination! I wonder if is works also with tortilla bread…

  105. Four says:

    Great I like ^^

  106. L2Kitchen says:

    I have never made spring rolls..now I wanna!! :D These look wonderful!

  107. Tasty… I just made’em… they are good with or without the sauce! Thanks for the tip.

  108. [...] a light summer dinner, these look so amazing:  Mango, Avocado and Crab Spring Rolls from 5 & [...]

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