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Vietnamese spring rolls/summer rolls

Vietnamese spring rolls/summer rolls, are “perfect for Summer”. They are non fried, wrapped in translucent rice paper that are the best way to show off a in-season produce. Just grab the few simple ingredients, sauté tofu, and wrap!—you’ve got an eye-catching quick finger food that’s healthy. Isn’t this a great snack option? The Asian flavored sauce and these are a perfect light meal.

The weather’s all warm and we’re seeing more seasonal colors—both outside and on our plates. This is our favorite combination for the rolls recipe, if you want to kick the flavor up a notch further, add one of the optional extras like more fresh mint, sweet basil, Cucumber cut in strips, sliced avocado, pumpkin seeds, raisins, colored bell peppers sliced into thin strips or thinly sliced onions.

 

 

They are actually a cinch to whip up, I promise they are so much easier than you think! The only difficulty initially might be rolling the rice paper but trust me, right amount of filling and not too wet rice paper, you’ll be a pro at making this. Check below for step by step pictures with instructions.

Makes: 8 rolls, served in halves.
Served with Asian dipping Sauce

Ingredients you’ll need:

 

8 large Lettuce leaves
1 big carrots, cut into strips like match sticks
1/2  package or 7 oz extra-firm tofu
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp Garlic powder – optional
Rice sticks or thin rice noodles
⅓ cup chopped fresh mint
8 sheets rice paper
Salt and Pepper – to taste

 

The rice paper and thin rice noodles are available at all Asian markets, Whole Foods and most markets.

Preparation:

For this recipe, 7 oz or half package of tofu is only required. Cut the block in half and use one half for making 8 rolls. Very gently squish some of the water out of the tofu by pressing with a paper or kitchen towel. Slice the tofu into two slabs by cutting lengthwise through the center and wrap the slabs in a clean paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Cut Tofu in strips and sauté in sesame oil with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 10 mins and drain the water.

 

After sautéing of tofu and soaking of noodles, it’s all assembling work. The best and quickest way to put everything together is setting all ingredients and start rolling.

 

Rolling the rolls time!

1. Rice paper is delicate and only needs a quick dip in cold water to soften (About 15 seconds). Do not “soak” the rice paper for too long because it will tear down too quickly, making the rolling more difficult to roll.

2. Lay wet rice paper on the rolling surface. Starting at top 1/3 of rice paper closest to you, make sure to start laying the filling at the top 1/3 of rice paper so that you have plenty of surface area left to roll. The more rotations of rice paper you have, the stronger the rice paper will be and less likely to puncture. Do not over-stuff your roll.

3. First lay the lettuce wrap as they will form the inner layer of roll and place carrot sticks.

4. Place sautéed tofu, sprinkle finely chopped mint and soaked noodles.

5. Tuck and start rolling, gently but firmly.

6. Gently pull away the edge of wrapper from work surface and slowly start to roll away from you, over the filling. At the same time, use your forefingers to gather and tuck fillings gently together under the wrapper. Tucking allows  you to keep all filings together and tight, so that the roll remains firm and straight.

7. Then fold in the sides, (these will form the closed ends) and continue to roll till rice paper ends.

 

 

They are best when eaten fresh, but if you are planning to make ahead or take for parties or lunch, wrap each spring roll individually so that they wont stick and stay fresh.

The summer rolls stacked or stored side-by-side cause rolls to stick and tear when separated.

There are a zillion variations to this, I’ll let your thoughts run free thinking about the flavors, fruits and vegetable to be infused and filled into this. Serve with Asian dipping Sauce.

 

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