The sauce and rolls can be made the day before. If you store the rolls, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and sprinkle lightly with water. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
1/2 cup unsalted chunky peanut butter (I would suggest using a natural brand of peanut butter versus something like Jif or Skippy..those have a lot of added sugar that you do not need, plus the natural versions have more of the natural peanut oils that help add flavor to the sauce).
3-4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
Juice from 1 small lime
Water - 1-2 tbsp or just enough to thin the sauce out
Salt to taste (this will vary depending on what brand of soy sauce and peanut butter you use)
In small bowl, combine all ingredients except the water and salt and stir until mixed thoroughly and the sugar has dissolved. Add water, a little at a time, until you reached the desired consistency. Taste and add more salt or sugar if necessary. Set aside while you make the spring rolls.
1 - package of Spring Roll Wrappers/Rice pancakes
1/2 package of Long Kou Bean Threads or other thin rice or bean noodles
3-4 carrots, shredded or julienne
1 large cucumber - shredded or julienne
Basil - 1-2 leaves per spring roll
Cilantro - 1-2 sprigs per roll
1 tsp sesame oil
1tsp rice vinegar
Prepare all of your fillings (veggies, greens, herbs and protein - shrimp, tofu, etc.) and set aside.
In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add the sesame oil, rice vinegar and salt to the water. Turn off the burner and add the bean threads to the water and allow noodles to cook (approximately 5 minutes). Leave the noodles in the water while you complete the next step. You want to to drain the noodles right before you start using them, otherwise they stick together and are a pain to work with.
While the noodles are cooking, on another burner cover the bottom of a 12 inch pan with 1 inch of water and heat the water. It doesn't have to boil but should hot. You are going to have to put your fingers in it so don't make it so hot that it is going to burn you.
To assemble the rolls:
Place a rice pancake in the warm water and allow it to soften (about 15-30 seconds). Remove the paper from the water and lay flat on a clean surface (I like to use a flexible plastic cutting board). Place about 1/4 cup of bean threads, approximately 1 tsp of shredded carrots and cucumber, basil and cilantro onto the lower 1/3 of the paper. Roll in spring roll fashion. The paper should become relatively sticky and will seal itself. Set aside and repeat for the remaining rolls.
To serve: Assemble rolls on a plate and serve with peanut sauce. I also enjoy serving these with a some chopped herbs (basil) and some Sweet Chili sauce that can be found at most grocery stores in the international food's section or at any specialty food store (or even at World Market! Which by the way is also where I get the rice pancakes and bean threads.)