Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce
These Vietnamese spring rolls are are loaded with fresh flavors and are borderline addictive. Don't think I didn't warn you.
A lot of people think these are spring rolls, but those are deep fried. Crispy, salty, warm, and dipped in the lemony fish sauce nuoc cham that you get at the restaurant. These are fresh, bright, chewy, and taste like summer. That's why they are technically summer rolls. Dipped in a perfect peanut sauce, and there's nothing better.
The real star here...
is the peanut sauce. The summer rolls are simply a vehicle for getting as much peanut sauce in your mouth as you can. What is important is that you make the sauce from scratch. Don't think that store bought is just as good - because it isn't. It is not hard to make and you won't regret it.
Getting the hang of it
There are not a ton of ingredients in the summer rolls. But there is technique involved. Once you get the technique and figure out how the rice paper works, you'll want to make these all the time.
A few things to keep in mind when you are making these rolls:
Don't make the rice paper soggy. All you really need to do is immerse them in water for about 2-3 seconds. They will feel stiff and ridged but will soften as you work with it.
Roll away from you. Roll them like a burrito. Fold the sides over the filling and then roll. Don't pull hard on the rice paper or it will rip. Just rolls slowly and deliberately.
Don't try for perfection. There is a good chance that your first few rolls will be a little messy. A learning curve is normal and if you've never worked with these ingredients before, it can take practice.
No boiling the noodles. Whatever you do, don't boil the vermicelli. Put the dry noodles in a bowl and pour hot tap water over them and let them soak for about 5 minutes. Drain them and you're done. If you boil them, you'll get a sticky ball of noodles.
Prep your fillings. Before you get started or even touch the rice paper, have all your veggies chopped and fillings set up and ready to go. Once the rice paper gets wet, you don't have a lot of time.
It might seem like there are a lot of "rules" when it comes to summer rolls, but it really is simple if you have the right set up.
12 sheets of rice paper
4oz rice vermicelli
1/2 lb cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp
Boston leaf lettuce, leaves torn in half
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1. Make the peanut sauce first. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. Set in the fridge.
2. Set up your fillings. Put each item in a bowl so it is easy to assemble the rolls. Prep the shrimp by cutting them in half lengthwise. Stem the mint leaves and cilantro. Have the carrots julienned.
3. Place the vermicelli in a large bowl and pour hot tap water over the noodles. Let them soak for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water.
4. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip the rice paper in the warm water for about 2-3 seconds. It should still be relatively stiff. Place on a flat, damp cutting board.
5. On the side closest to you, layer the lettuce, vermicelli, cilantro, and carrots. On the upper 3rd, furthest away from you, arrange the shrimp and mint leaves. Begin rolling by folding the sides over the filling and slowly rolling away from you. The rice paper will be very soft at this point.
6. Don't roll too tight, but firmly. As you roll, loosen up slightly as you roll the shrimp so the rice paper doesn't rip.
Serve with the peanut sauce and enjoy!