Oh my…it has been awhile since I posted. I have had this post ready to go for weeks, but sometimes technology gets the better of you, especially when you are new to all this blogging business stuff. Anyway…all sorted now, so back to some great food and recipes!
I wasn’t sure what to call this blog post as this dish has so many names. Vietnamese spring rolls, summer rolls, rice paper rolls, cold rolls, the list goes on. Regardless of what you call them, rice paper rolls are a great treat and quite quick and simple to make.
I have had a package of rice paper in my cupboards for months now and never seem to get around to actually using it. It has been pretty hot around here so the thought of turning on the stove to cook dinner wasn’t going to happen, so I decided to finally dig the rice roll paper out of the drawer and make some up for dinner. They would be cool and light, perfect for a hot summer evening.
You can find rice paper rolls in most major supermarkets, usually in the Asian food isle. If you have ever eaten spring rolls at a Chinese restaurant they are made of the same thing, only deep fried.
Rice paper rolls are great stuffed with pretty much anything you want, any veggie or protein even fruit (think mango slices) you can think of. Make them for lunch and take them to the office instead of your regular sandwich…your co-workers will be jealous. They are also gluten free and at only 30 calories each sheet, are a great low calorie choice.
I filled mine with rice vermicelli, chilled prawns, green onion, cilantro and a few pieces of basil. This is just a suggestion, but again whatever you want to fill them with is up to you.
Here is how it’s done.
Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Makes 4 rolls (2 per person)
8 rice paper rolls (I usually use 2 rounds per roll to keep the roll a bit stiffer and easier to dip and eat)
400 grams (dry) rice vermicelli noodles
12 prawns (3 per roll)
2 green onions – sliced vertically down the middle to make 4 pieces
A few sprigs of basil
Peanut dipping sauce – I grabbed this recipe off CHOW.com (a great website if you are a foodie like me) for my summer rolls. You can use it too. It does make quite a bit of sauce so I would try and cut it in half if you don’t want that much, or just keep it in the fridge covered in plastic wrap or kept in an airtight container.
Boil a pot of water for vermicelli noodles.
While the water comes to a boil, peel the shells off your prawns. Cook prawns according to your liking. I happened to boil mine quickly in the hot water left over from the noodles and then quickly chilled them in an ice bath. You can steam yours or throw them in a pan quickly to cook. The key is to ensure they are chilled nicely before putting them in your rice roll.
While prawns are chilling, cook rice vermicelli noodles according to directions.Usually 3-5 minutes in boiling water will do the trick. Once cooked, run under cold water for a few minutes. You may wish to toss a tiny bit of sesame oil (or veggie oil) on the noodles so they won’t stick. Put into fridge to chill.
Use this time while the items are chilling to make your dipping sauce and cut and assemble your fillings.
Once your noodles and prawns are chilled (15 min or so), get a large bowl and fill with warm water.
Layout all your ingredients in front of you.
Take 2 sheets of rice paper and dip them into the warm water to soften. It will take a few minutes but they should be soft and pliable with a bit of a ‘stick’ to the surface.
Remove from water and let some of the water drip off. Place on a flat surface one on top of the other.
Take handful of chilled vermicelli noodles and place on last 3rd of the rice paper circle. Place a slice of green onion alongside the noodles. Put 3 prawns on top of noodles followed by some basil, cilantro or anything else you are putting in.
Start by folding over the left side of the rice paper circle, then roll up from bottom to top, keeping the paper tight as you roll. The right side should be open with the sprig of green onion sticking out.
And voila, you are done! Now do this three more times to make all four Vietnamese summer rolls.
Try using just one sheet of rice paper to make smaller versions of this meal for a great summer appetizer.
Have you ever made these before? What are your favorite fillings?!