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Winter Unrolls

The idea for this dish sprung from the desire to make spring rolls into a main dish and from lack of time in getting rice papers for the spring rolls from the Asian market. Thus my spring rolls became winter unrolls. The taste is the same, but the presentation is a little different. Ginger-onion paste, brown sugar rubbed chicken, mushrooms and herbs take to one bowl in a glorious light mixture with a foreign flair.

While this dish has a lot of components, it’s actually not that difficult to make. You can make the paste and mushrooms while the chicken is in the oven and the water boils for the noodles, all in under an hour.

This dish was inspired by 101cookbooks.com‘s Wintery Spring Rolls. 


Ginger Onion Paste:

  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons grated, peeled ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons sesame oil

Brown Sugar Chicken:

  • 1 pound chicken
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil


  • 8 ounces mushrooms, brushed clean, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Rice Noodles:

  • 1 12oz bag thick rice noodles
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch spinach or romaine lettuce
  • juice of a lime

Thai Spring Unrolls


Ginger onion paste:

Place the onions and ginger in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle with the salt, and pound until the onions are quite bruised, but not paste-like. Heat the oil in a small saucepan until hot (hot enough that you could saute something in it). Add the onion mixture to the oil, remove from heat, and transfer to a jar to cool.

Brown Sugar Chicken:

Preheat oven to 350F. Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle, sprinkle with the salt and sugar, and pound into a paste. Work the oil in, a bit at a time, until the ingredients are completely combined. Use your hands to slather and gently coat each chicken breast. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sear the chicken breasts a large skillet over high-high heat until deep browning occurs on each side–about 3 minutes or so.  Remove from the pan, and place in the oven for 40 minutes. Slice into pencil-thick pieces, and salt to taste.


In the meantime, you can use the same chicken skillet to cook the mushrooms. Use high heat, and cook until the mushrooms release their water and take on a nice, dark color. Transfer to a bowl or platter, and season appropriately.

Rice Noodles:

Open a 12 oz bag of rice noodles into a pot of boiling water. Cook for about 20 minutes until noodles are soft. Remove from heat and drain.


Combine in a large bowl: the sliced chicken, the mushrooms, the rice noodles, the ginger-onion paste, a large handful of spinach or torn romaine lettuce, a handful of cilantro, the lime juice and mix with a pair of tongs.

Thai unrolls