Glad to be here Lori (and Lori’s readers)!
Even though an Idaho summer is probably not as hot as a Texas summer, I’m sure we all appreciate summer dinner ideas that do not involve turning on our ovens.
One of my favorite summer dishes is Vietnamese spring rolls.
Unlike it’s fried relative, Vietnamese spring rolls are prepared with softened rice wrapper and filled with meat, vegetables and softened glass noodles. (Though I prefer mine sans noodles.)
As far as what combination of meat and veggies to use, the sky is the limit. My favorite is crab, avocado, carrot and cilantro but you could also use lettuce, mushrooms, bean sprouts, etc.
And if you don’t already own a bottle of chili-garlic sauce, it’s what you’ve been missing all your life.
This salty/spicy/tangy condiment really brightens up any Asian dish, especially dipping sauce!
So if the weather is creeping higher and higher where you live, grab some fresh ingredients and serve up some spring rolls tonight!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
(Makes 12 rolls)
*12 rice paper rounds
*4 cups simmering water
*2 medium ripe avocados, sliced
*1/2 a bunch of cilantro, rinsed and coarsely chopped
*4-5 scallions, green and white parts thinly sliced
*4 large carrots, peeled and grated
*2 cups shrimp or crab (optional for vegetarians)
*3 cups softened glass noodles (traditional but optional–They make the rolls too dry and chewy for my taste)
For starters, I like to add some flavor to my crab and shrimp by tossing them in a tablespoon of chili garlic sauce and a splash of fish sauce.
Next, set up all of your ingredients in an assembly line because once you soften a rice wrapper, it will get sticky very quickly.
Pour water into a skillet and bring to a simmer. Remove skillet from heat.
Dip a wrapper into the water and allow it to soak for 10-15 seconds until it starts to soften a little. Do not over-soak.
Sprinkle a clean work surface with a teaspoon or so of water. This will prevent the rice paper from sticking while you work.
Place the wrapper on your work surface and add a few shrimp or a couple tablespoons of crab along the center.
Layer on a couple tablespoons of carrot, a couple slices of avocado and a sprinkling of scallions and cilantro.
To wrap, bring the bottom of the wrapper up and over the filling.
Fold in the sides of the wrapper…
…and roll the rest of the way up.
For a dipping sauce, mix a couple tablespoons of chili garlic sauce with a few tablespoons of soy sauce or fish sauce along with a sprinkling of chopped scallions.
Mmmm…don’t mind if I do. Chomp!
Here’s to light and refreshing summer dinners!