Guys – so it’s not just me who says it’s too hot this summer. 2016 is apparently, possibly the hottest year ever! For reals!!! I’m glad my summer rants will now be supported by proof 😉 There are constant talks I keep hearing about heat strokes, summer colds and just now I read about roads melting in Gujarat, one of the hottest states in India because of excessive heat! Say whaaa? Like this is pushing it a bit, no? Hope you’ll are doing all you can to protect yourselves from the mad heat and stay indoors, cool and hydrated at all times.
Speaking of which, I thought of doing a cold recipe this time because A) Too hot to be in the kitchen and close to the cooktop and B) ‘Cuz I can! Haha. A girl’s gotta eat y’all! But seriously, who says cold food is not fun? I’ll be doing a few fun summer recipes with not major cooking involved for the next few weeks to mix things up! Sound good?
This time I thought we’d go a bit east – umm yeah farther east than India, yes. Vietnamese summer rolls have always been one of my favourite summer indulgences – except they are so simple to make with simple and fresh ingredients that they don’t even seem that indulgent – UNTIL you taste it. It’s like a party in your mouth.
Vietnamese summer rolls or Gỏi cuốn as it is called locally, is a Vietnamese dish traditionally consisting of pork, seafood and fresh vegetables, accompanied by some kind of dipping sauce, either made from some vinegar/soy base or with peanuts and chillies. Some people believe these originated in China as they look like your usual Chinese Spring rolls, but the difference is that these are made in very thin rice paper, traditional to Vietnam and are served cooled or at room temperature. And the best part is that these are not fried so they are pretty healthy too!
Vietnamese Summer Rolls:
Makes 7-8 rolls | Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 5 min
For the rolls-
Rice paper or ‘banh trang’ – 7-8
Carrots – 1-2,small sized, julliened
Cucumbers – 1-2, small sized, julliened
Mint leaves – 10-12 small leaves, washed
Crab Sticks or Prawns – 7-8
Sesame Seeds – 1 tbsp
Spring Onion Greens– 1 cup, chopped
Rice Vinegar– 1/2 cup
Bean Threads or Rice noodles– 1 cup, cooked (These need not be boiled – just soaked in warm water for about 5 minutes)
For the Peanut Dipping Sauce-
Creamy peanut butter – 1 tbsp
Hoisin Sauce – 1 tsp
Light Soy Sauce – 1 tsp
Dry Red Chilli flakes or fresh red chilli – 1 tsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tsp
Start with pickling the vegetables. I have gone with carrots and cucumbers here but you can use any veggies you want – red and yellow bell peppers, bean sprouts, purple cabbage, lettuce, it’s entirely upto you. Just keep in mind that the amount of stuff you can add should only be what the rice paper can take. We don’t want to overstuff our rolls.
For the pickling process, put the juilenned carrots and cucumbers in a jar or a bowl. Pour over the vinegar and store this away in the fridge. You can do this anywhere between 30 minutes to a day ahead of when you actually need to start assembling your rolls.
Now, get some warm water in a flat bottomed bowl or tray and place 1 rice paper in the water. In about 6-7 seconds you will see it turning transparent and much much softer. Make sure you don’t let the paper twist and turn, we need to avoid it from sticking to itself and turning into a ball. In 10 seconds it will turn totally pliable and that’s when you need to get it out and place it on a flat surface.
We need to start assembling our rolls now. On the flattened rice paper, place all the ingredients – the bean threads, some pickled veggies, the crab sticks, sesame seeds, mint leaves and the spring greens.
We now fold it like a burrito. Left side first, then the right side, then the bottom side up, pull all the stuffing towards yourself and the fold on the topmost side. AAAAAAND you’re done!
Make yourself a couple of these babies and put them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Or just eat them right away because TBH, how can you resist that!!!! 👇
For the dipping sauce, all you literally need to do, is combine all the ingredients together and whisk away! That’s it!!
I also serve a red chilli vinegar with these spring rolls because honestly I love the tanginess!