One of my favourite and very summer inspired foods to eat is summer rolls/vietnamese spring rolls. I have only really known about this food/dish for about 2 years now, but it is easily one of my top 5 or top 10 dishes to make!
When i first tried making them i didn’t know how to roll the rice paper, so safe to say that they didn’t turn out so good… but over time i have learnt and i wouldn’t say i am so bad at rolling the rice paper rolls now! Even if some don’t turn out as good as others.
This dish is also a good one to make when inviting others over – as long as no one is scared or worried about sharing food with others and picking at food with your hands. But what you can do is cut up all the different fillings you want such as cucumber, carrot, paprika, avocado, put some salad or alfalafa sprouts in a bowl as well as either rice or noodles in a big bowl. And maybe marinate some tofu or chop tofu into thin slices, or even use tempeh or some TVP!
And then everyone has their own bowl with water (preferably almost boiling hot) to dip the rice paper and then they roll their own rolls and pick their own fillings. (Unless you want to make all the rolls beforehand, that works as well!). You can even make a sweet version with example coconut rice and have fruit in the filling, i have never tried this but it sounds delicious!!
And you can make different sauces as well to dip them in! I just made a mix of barbeque sauce, peanut butter and soya sauce with a little drop of lime. No measurements, just mix and taste!
This dish does require quite a few plates and you need to cut everything up and prepare those before you can actually begin filling and rolling the rice paper. Infact at times it feels like it takes 3 times as long to just prepare and make the food than it does to eat them, but it is worth it. And i usually make alot at once so that i have for snacking later in the day/evening or for the next day!!
There is no exact recipe for this, but some tips:
Use boiling, or as close to boiling water as possible so that the rice paper fully soaks. And only leave it in for 3-5 seconds…. if it is in the water for too long it would begin to break apart. However the colder the water, the longer it will have to soak in the water.
You might also need to try different brands of rice paper. There is one brand i have used which is so thin that it breaks apart all the time no matter how little i soaked the rice paper. So i don’t buy that brand anymore and buy rice paper that is a little thicker.
Don’t over fill the rice paper rolls – it is not a burrito. Just a little so that you can roll them without them breaking apart.
When i roll my spring rolls i begin with placing the filling almost in the middle, but not really… c.a 1/3 of the way. Then i wrap one side over the filling, then the “edges” i.e the sides over the filling and then i roll the spring roll so that the last side covers the roll. Not sure if this makes sense…. but with some practise you will get it! Just like with sushi, at first you think it is difficult, but then you quicly learn and realise it is not as difficult!!
If you make vietnamese spring rolls, what are your favourite fillings? 🙂