I love spring rolls in the summertime, when it's hot and sticky outside and your body wants fresh, light food to nibble on. But they're great year round--in the Winter (when you want to jump start your healthy eating), and in Chicago Spring (no pun intended), when temperatures can range 30+ degrees in days.
I love all those herbs and crisp veggies. But I won't lie to you, the spring roll portion can be *relatively* mild in flavor. Yes, the herbs are a great punch of flavor. But the veggies, rice noodles, and shrimp (optional) portion of the rolls can be a bit flat in terms of complex flavors.
That's where your dipping sauce comes into play! And this dipping sauce will not disappoint (well, it won't disappoint if your taste buds are anything like mine). It comes together in a jiffy and contains only a handful of ingredients, but takes these spring rolls to another level.
Spring rolls take a bit of time on the front end to prep all those veggies, but in the grand scheme of things its a very simple dish. And I won't even pretend to be an expert on the rolling process (I tend to overstuff my rolls to the gills), but if you're interested in learning more you must check out this post from White on Rice Couple. They have a ton of photos, which really helped with my rolling game.
Spring roll dipping sauce, slightly adapted from the gorgeous book A Change of Appetite
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBSP sugar or superfine sugar
3 - 4 TBSP lime juice (~2 limtes)
2.5 TBSP fish sauce (more or less to taste)
Mix ingredients until sugar is dissolved, and serve with fresh spring rolls.