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Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Nothing beat a Summer Roll for this summer. But wait, what is Summer Roll, it is also known as Vietnamese spring rolls, salad rolls, or rice paper rolls) are the uncooked version or flash-fried spring rolls or fried egg rolls. It is the most filling and easy finger food to make, therefore we love making it at home or for gathering and party.

They’re fresh, loaded with greens, taste so well with shrimp, and you will enjoy it with pleasure when it comes with the seasonal fruit like the mango. We have tried it and love to share with you the recipes someday.

Summer rolls are also surprisingly easy to make at home. Yes, you should probably sit down and read through the directions before you start, and maybe the first roll or two will be a bit flimsy (but no less tasty), but soon you’ll be filling rice paper wrappers with cool and fresh fillings before every summer cookout.

Preparation Is Key

The ingredient list below is quite long and maybe a bit intimidating, but almost all of them can be made ahead — the shrimp, vegetable filling, and even the rice noodles can be cooked and chilled the day before. Store the cooked rice noodles in cool water to keep them from sticking.

Before you begin rolling, set up a work station. Have the shrimp, vegetable filling, rice noodles, fresh herbs, and lettuce organized on a baking sheet. Pick out a serving platter. Clear off your counter or cutting board. Fill a flat bowl with lukewarm-temperature water and then open the rice paper wrappers and prepare to roll.

  • Fresh prawn makes a different; while it is easy to use frozen peeled off prawn from the freezer but the sweetness of the prawn losses once it is cooked in the water without its shell.
  • Soak the rice noodle ahead/ overnight; so that it is easier to cook.
  • Mint & coriander is the key; yes these are very important greens for this spring roll. It does make a difference! Well, we guess that corriander-hater can remove this on your list, but for us, it is a MUST!!
  • Vegetables; we use micro beansprouts, lettuce, carrot and cucumber here. To have crispy vegetable, after washing, draining and cutting, cover the vegetables with a cloth and keep it in the fridge before use. We will make sure the vegetables is 10 times crispier.
  • Sauces; many prefer to eat it with the peanut sauce while is nice but in the summer we prefer something fresh thus we made this Vietnamese dipping sauce (nước chấm) this time.

While some of you might think it seems tough to do it. That’s why we compile a stop-motion step-by-step on how to make a Summer Roll. It is so easy and not to fear to have too much, the rice paper is thicker than you know. We break down into a few words and tips incase the stop-motion is too fast for you to check.

Soak the rice paper

Our favourite trick for rolling summer rolls goes against a lot of recipes (even the package) for working with rice paper. Instead of softening the wrappers in hot water, we use lukewarm-temperature water. Hot water makes the rice paper incredibly sticky and prone to breaking, while lukewarm-temperature water will continue to soften the wrapper as it sits, making the wrapper just pliable but tender once rolled. Keeping the work surface wet while rolling will also prevent sticking. Don’t put it on wooden materials, we tried it and we failed.

Step by Step

Summer roll filling has four parts: the cold protein, the vegetables, the rice noodles, and the greens (both the herbs and lettuce). Try stacking these four components and your filling will topple. Instead, wrap the slippery vegetables and noodles inside the lettuce. Then you can easily lay the herbs and shrimp in the wrapper and top with the lettuce roll. It makes wrapping easier, but also makes the presentation neater and the rolls easier to eat.

  1. Soak the rice paper in lukewarm water
  2. Starts with placing the prawn and mint, on  1/3 of the slightly firm rice paper wrapper. We always place them on the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper so it’s easier to roll up.
  3. Wrap the slippery vegetables and noodles inside the lettuce. Then place on top of your prawn and mint.
  4. Don’t over-stuff the roll. Rather, begin with a small amount of filling then add a little more until you find what works with your size/brand of rice paper roll. Remember to tuck the side in. Again, it just takes a little practice.

Dipping Sauce

Fresh summer rolls are one of our favourite dishes to prepare because they’re (1) versatile based on what we have/are craving (2) healthy (3) so, so good and (4) four words: FISH SAUCE DIPPING SAUCE.

The homemade dipping sauce is one of the best parts of the dish. It’s very easy: fish sauce, water, sugar, lemon, and chilli. This sauce is phenomenal! We always have some pre-made in our fridge but the freshly made one is always the best!

These fresh rolls work as a light dinner, a healthy lunch, and one very delightful appetizer. Have fun rolling it!
xoxo, Joe

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Homemade Fresh Summer Rolls with Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce are healthy, adaptable, and make a wonderful light dinner, lunch, or appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 24 medium uncooked shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed

  • 1 cup rice noodle, cooked and drained

  • 1 small seedless cucumber, sliced

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced

  • 2 large radishes, julienned

  • handful of coriander

  • handful of mint

  • a handful of micro bean sport

  • 16 (8 1/2-inch) rice paper wrappers

  • 8 leaves butter lettuce, halved

Method

  • Cook the shrimp: Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Have an ice water bath ready. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Immediately remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon to the ice water bath. Let sit for 5 minutes, then drain. Slice the shrimp in half horizontally (also known as butterflying) and set aside. Reserve the warm water for cooking the noodles.
  • Cook the noodles: If the noodles are very long, break them into smaller bits. Return the pan of water from cooking the shrimp to a boil, then turn off the heat, add the noodles, and let sit until tender, about 10 minutes (check the package directions for times). Drain the noodles, transfer them to a bowl, add the sesame oil, and toss to combine; set aside.
  • Soften a wrapper: Fill a pie plate halfway with room-temperature water. Immerse 1 wrapper in the water until it softens, about 30 seconds. Use both hands to pull it up out of the water, being careful so it doesn’t collapse on itself, and immediately lay it flat on a clean work surface.
  • Fill the wrapper: Place 2 to 3 mint down the wrapper, 1/3 of the wrapper Place 2 to 3 pieces of shrimp cut-side up on the herbs. Place a piece of lettuce in your hand, then fill evenly with 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture and 1 to 2 tablespoons of noodles. Place the lettuce cup to the right of the shrimp, leaving a small gap.
  • Roll up the summer roll: Fold the top and bottom of the wrapper over the filling. Fold the left side over the shrimp and continue rolling tightly to the right until it’s closed and snug. Place it on a baking sheet seam-side down and cover with a damp towel. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling, adding more water to the pie dish as needed.
  • Serve: To serve, cut each roll in half crosswise if desired and serve with dipping sauce.

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