In from Daisy, our resident foodie: Vietnamese Spring Rolls -
Vietnamese spring rolls, also called summer rolls, are salad-like rolls traditionally filled with shrimp and pork, noodles, and an assortment of vegetables and herbs. They are eaten dipped in either a spicy peanut sauce or nuoc cham, which is made with fish sauce, garlic, and chilis, or both. What I love about them is that they are fresh, healthy, and a lot of fun to make (and eat!).
These pretty and colorful spring rolls are perfect to serve at a casual dinner party and they’re always a crowd-pleaser. Save yourself some work by offering your guests a choice of ingredients and have them make their own. This will give you more time to spend with them and they’ll get to make their spring rolls just the way they like. Now that’s a real win-win.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Yields 12-15 rolls 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, de-veined 1 package firm tofu, cut into ½” thick strips 2 batches of Nuoc Cham sauce (recipe follows) 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 4 ounces thin rice noodles 1 package 10-inch spring roll wrappers or bánh tráng 4 ounces fresh mung bean sprouts 1 bell pepper, cored and cut into thin strips 1 large English cucumber, cut into thin strips 1 large carrot, cut into thin strips 1 large avocado, peeled and cut into strips 1 large or two small mango(s), peeled and cut into strips 1 bunch each of mint leaves, rinsed 1 bunch each of cilantro leaves, rinsed 1 bunch each of Thai or regular basil, rinsed 1 bunch of fresh lettuce leaves, rinsed and cut into large pieces Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce (recipe follows) water in a shallow bowl, large enough to fit spring roll wrapper - - - Method: - Marinate the shrimp and tofu strips separately in plastic bags for 30 minutes using one batch of the nuoc cham divided between them. - Skewer shrimp on lightly oiled metal skewers or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes, then grill or broil over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side until the shrimp is pink and no longer opaque. Set aside with the other filling ingredients. - Pat the tofu dry and fry in a little vegetable oil over medium-high heat until golden brown on all sides. Handle tofu carefully as you turn it over so it does not break. Set aside with the other filling ingredients. - Cook thin rice noodles according to package instructions. Set aside with the other filling ingredients. - To assemble rolls, dip one spring roll wrapper into the shallow bowl of water for two to three seconds. Don’t soak the wrapper too long or it will get too soft. (Don’t worry, by the time you place your ingredients on top of the wrapper, it will be the correct consistency to roll.) Lay the wrapper flat on a plate or cutting board. Place the lettuce on the bottom followed by the rice noodles, vegetables, avocado, mango, shrimp and/or tofu on top of each other about 1/3 of the way from the lower edge of the wrapper, leaving a 2-inch border on the sides. Fold bottom wrapper over the filling, while holding filling together with your fingers. Then, fold the sides in and continue rolling in a tight cylinder. Be careful not to tear the wrapper. Repeat steps with remaining ingredients to make desired number of rolls. Set spring rolls aside until ready to serve. - Spring rolls are best served fresh, but can wrapped in plastic wrap or covered with a damp towel or cloth in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. - Serve with Nouc Cham and Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauces. - - - - For the Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce and Marinade - juice of 2 limes 2 tablespoons brown sugar 4 tablespoons fish sauce (I used Red Boat 40°N) 4 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 teaspoon chili-garlic paste to taste or 1 finely minced Thai chili (I used Sambal Oelek) - • Whisk together all ingredients until sugar is dissolved. - - For the Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce - 4 ounces hoisin sauce 1/8 cup smooth peanut butter 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic paste (or 1 finely minced Thai chili) warm water, as needed chopped peanuts, for garnish - • Mix all ingredients together until well combined. If the sauce is too thick, add warm water, a little at a time and mix until desired consistency is achieved.
• Recipes adapted from Use Real Butter