Sunday, August 31, 2008

Soaking up the last of the summer produce: Vietnamese summer rolls

Apologies for the posting lapse! I had intended to post one last recipe before our long vacation in Maine but time got away from me and I unfortunately left without putting my post up.

We had a wonderful time in Maine. I am going through photos and will have some to share next week. It was great to get away to a completely different environment, and I’ve come back with all sorts of recipe and photography ideas that I’m excited to get to!

Before we left, I revisited an old recipe for Vietnamese summer rolls that is so perfect for lazy summer lunches or light dinners. It does light duty of cooking and makes use of fresh produce. I always feel healthy and light on my toes after a meal of these!

The recipe is informal; you can stuff the rolls with whatever you like or have on hand. It takes a little practice to wrap a nice-looking roll: the trick is to wrap them tightly, folding the ends down over your ingredients and starting with the insides placed off-center toward the long side you begin rolling from. As you go, place the ingredients you want to peak through the outside toward the end of the roll so they are visible when fully wrapped.

You can stuff the rolls with whatever appeals to you: there is no need for a formal recipe. Some favorite fillings include cellophane (rice) noodles (seasoned with a little lime juice and sesame oil), steamed, room-temperature shrimp or chicken, chives, bean sprouts, cucumber, red and yellow peppers sliced lengthwise, avocado, cilantro and mint. The vegetables are added raw and lend a fresh, satisfying crunch.

The classic way to serve these is with a dipping sauce and some nice crunchy lettuce to wrap on the outside along with the mint and cilantro.

Vietnamese summer rolls

To prepare the rice paper wrapper, dip wrapper in a bowl of warm water for five seconds, then transfer to your work area and wrap the roll. Keeping a wet towel or paper towel draped over the rolls will keep them from drying out as you finish the others. Serve rolls immediately when done.

Vietnamese dipping sauce (from Cooking Light)

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 green chile pepper, very thinly sliced

Stir to combine and serve alongside rolls for dipping.


Cannelle Et Vanille said...

this recipe looks as light as the photo itself. almost ethereal. love it!

Anonymous said...

Your recipe & photo made me hungry for these rolls.
They are a favorite of mine.

Anonymous said...

One of the best foods of summer! Beautiful shot as always.

Anonymous said...

These look so light and fresh! Great photo as well!

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Anonymous said...

Great to see that you're back! I love these rolls, so fresh and tasty. Great post.

Cate said...

I love these! Beautiful photo as well!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

we like to make a dipping sauce from hoisin, peanut butter and a little bit of water to thin it out.

Anna said...

Vietnamese people tend to use boiled pork, lettuce, mint, cucumber and boiled prawns. In my family, we have another variation that you might like to try. Oven-baked salmon thats still soft and pink, lettuce, cucumber and mint. Very delicious.

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