Super Light Spring Rolls with Cucumber, Shiso and Chicken

springrolls_cucshisoA plate of raw spring rolls is one of the most cooling, heatwave-adapted meal I can think of, so I make tons of them every summer. My dexterity doesn’t improve in what comes to the aesthetics, but I’m getting quicker every year and spring rolls have stopped being a special time-consuming and tiring dish. Since I treat them as an ordinary meal, I’ve been experimenting a lot with different fillings based on what I find in the fridge.

In recent years I realised I don’t always need glass noodles inside; I simply add more vegetables instead. Such rolls are quicker to prepare and become really super light! Normally I use fresh herbs to add an aromatic touch  but since I have plenty of shiso/perilla on my balcony, this time I used it both as an aromatic herb and also instead of salad leaves. Its slight pungency is particularly refreshing and goes perfectly with cucumber. In short, one more delicious shiso dish to add to my growing list of recipes!

If you look for spring roll ideas, you might like some of these:

Spring Rolls with Leftover Roast, Carrot and Mint
Spring Rolls with Leftover Roast, Carrot and Mint
Soba Noodles and Cucumber Spring Rolls
Soba Noodles and Cucumber Spring Rolls
Mizuna, Carrot and Chicken Spring Rolls
Mizuna, Carrot and Chicken Spring Rolls
Spring Rolls with Asparagus and Chicken
Spring Rolls with Asparagus and Chicken

TIPS: Obviously, you can use any fresh herb you like, but avoid those which might be too strong, hiding all the other flavours (I think of coriander, for example; I’d use salad leaves as a second wrapping layer and some coriander leaves only as an aromatic touch).

When preparing spring rolls I usually broil or bake spicy chicken breasts or legs, but you can use leftover chicken from any dish you have made before (if your chicken isn’t spicy, you may add some hot sauce into the rolls).

You can skip mayonnaise if you don’t like it.

I think this shiso and cucumber version goes particularly well with Japanese ponzu (slightly tangy sauce), but you can serve it also with a mixture of rice vinegar, soy sauce and chilli oil.

You can use both red or green shiso. Green shiso has a slightly more delicate taste.

Preparation: about 40 minutes

Ingredients (makes 10 medium spring rolls):

10x medium rice paper sheets (22 cm)

10 big shiso leaves or 20 smaller

1 small chicken breast, baked, steamed, boiled or leftover from any chicken dish…

10 small shiso leaves, chopped or cut into threads

half a long cucumber

1 big avocado, cut in two lengthwise and sliced


Cut the cucumber into rather thin strips (their length should be equal to the rolls’ length you aim at).

Cut the chicken breast in two horizontally and then into thin strips.

Fill a big wide bowl with warm (not hot) water.

Divide the filling ingredients into ten equal portions.

Dip rice paper sheets one by one in the water, immersing them delicately so that you don’t break them.

As soon as the sheet softens (after about ten – twenty seconds), put it onto a big chopping board.

Place first one big or two smaller shiso leaves in the middle, then horizontally horizontally (at the edge which is closest to you) the cucumber, a piece of chicken breast, mayonnaise, the avocado and finally the chopped shiso.

Roll tightly starting from the edge which is closest to you.

Proceed in the same way with the remaining rolls.

Serve them immediately as they are or cut in two horizontally with ponzu or with a mixture of soy sauce, chili oil and rice vinegar.

If you wish to serve them later, wrap them individually in cling film or cover them because they dry out very quickly.

15 Replies to “Super Light Spring Rolls with Cucumber, Shiso and Chicken”

  1. Wow! This is the dish I’ve been waiting for! Healthy but filling that will satisfy me but not add to that bulge in the mid-section. Thanks again Sissi, you’ve done it again!

    1. Thank you so much, David, for such a kind comment! We both seem to be looking for the same kind of dishes 😉 but they must be, first of all, delicious.

  2. You just inspired my dinner for this evening! We are having a gazpacho I made a while back and I wanted a little something to go along with it and your spring rolls are perfect! Thank you.

    1. Well, I did make my fresh rolls, including grated cucumber, carrot, mango, steamed shrimp and glass noodles and although it was very tasty, they did not hold together well. I will need to practice before I make some for guests. Yours look fabulous, don’t underestimate your skill at making these tricky but tasty treats.

      1. Dear Eva, first of all I’m honoured and thrilled to learn you made spring rolls after seeing my recipe! I didn’t have time to answer your first comment, but it really made my day! I always feel that my rolls are ugly and don’t feel entitled to give advice especially concerning the technical side, but since you said yours didn’t hold together… I have some tips that might be useful: first of all don’t keep the rice paper too long in the water because it becomes too soft and tears easily (I usually keep for 30 seconds maximum or until it’s just a bit soft because it softens in contact with moist lettuce and also the cutting board while I pile up ingredients). Apart from that, I make sure to make a soft “protective” layer just under the rice paper (soft lettuce leaves or like here, shiso); I cut off the lettuce stalks and put aside the tiny crisp leaves and put them well inside, so that they don’t tear the rice paper). These two things (too soft papers and stalks or other pointy ingredients too close to the rice paper) usually made my rolls fall into pieces. A friend of mine has a different method: she doesn’t close the rolls, simply rolls them with holes at two sides. I should maybe post these tips… I am sorry your rolls didn’t hold together, but I hope they were at least delicious! Thank you so much again for the feedback!!!

  3. It has been so hot here lately – I suspect in many regions – that this is precisely the kind of food I’m craving. Though I generally just put it together in salad form, I should really challenge myself on occasion :d with my presentation and experiment a bit more with rolls. Like you say, you only get better at it with practice, so true! I love how you use your garden box herbs… that’s really the best part of summer, sourcing from what we have available and your shiso sounds so delicious in this mix.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. I love rolls (maki sushi, meat and vegetable rolls…) maybe because there’s something playful about them or maybe they feel like a drink snack 😉 so I often prepare rolls with rice paper, but salads are my staple during the summer of course! They are quicker to prepare, but rolls are a nice change and I can make lots of them in advance for the next two days for example. WHen I feel like having a snack, I open my fridge and take a roll… I couldn’t do this with a salad.

  4. This is indeed a fabulous idea for summer! I love eating light especially in this country where temperatures reach 40’s in no time just like today haha! These are great to prepare them beforehand and find them ready when you return from work!

    1. Thank you so much, Katerina. I love the fact they keep for several days. Who wants to cook every summer evening?

  5. Hey Sissi! Sorry for the long absence. July was a rough month and wasn’t online much. I’m back now checking out your great recipes! I love hitting upon these spring rolls because I love spring rolls, but don’t make them much. There is a package of rice paper sheets in the pantry that has been there over a year. This post has inspired me to finally do something with it. 🙂 Love idea to not use the rice noodles. That does make it easier and lighter. Hope you’re doing well!

    1. Dear MJ, so glad to see you back!!! Thank you for the kind words. I was sure you went on long holidays…. I hope “rough” doesn’t mean too difficult… and especially that everything is better now. I wish I could have cheered you up with some super spicy sauce or dish!
      I know what you mean about one year of something kept in the pantry… do give them a try! You can roll anything you want (at least I do) without aiming at a “genuine” recipe. They will still taste wonderful.

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