Summer Rolls, Fresh Rolls, Salad Rolls…whatever you call them, they are a staple at every Vietnamese restaurant and one of my absolute favorite ‘light and healthy’ things to order or make at home!! There are a number of ways to prepare and serve Salad Rolls. The way I’ve chosen to make them this time excludes a couple of the common ingredients like fresh mint and basil, mostly because I just find they are too over-powering for my taste on this particular dish.
The great thing about this recipe is that its very flexible and adjustable depending on how many you’d like to make, what types of things you’d like in them and how much of each ingredient you wish to put in. Since my husband isn’t a fan of seafood, I often make his with just veggies. I have, however also had them with chicken and they are delicious that way too. Feel free to add in or substitute any of the veggies I’ve used below for some of your favorites. Red, yellow or orange peppers could be a nice addition and would add some lovely colour!
This Peanut sauce is one that I have modified from a recipe I had found on CHOW…and its a REALLY fantastic one! I’m not sure how it compares to a traditional Vietnamese peanut sauces, but for my North-American palette, I found it complimented the more mild and subtle flavors in the Salad Rolls. Just the perfect blend of flavors!
What you’ll need:
1 Package of circular Rice Paper wrapper sheets (found in the Asian or International foods isle of your grocery store)
1 package of thin vermicelli rice noodles.
1 package of small-medium, pre-cooked and deveined shrimp with tails off (or you can take the tails off yourself)
1 large carrot
1 head of lettuce
1 package of bean sprouts (I used about 1.5 cups worth)
1) Prepare all ingredients for the filling of your salad rolls: Cook vermicelli noodles according to instructions on package and set aside. Remove tails from shrimp and rinse. Peel and cut carrots into long match-stick size pieces or grate. Peel and slice cucumber into long match-stick size pieces. Break apart lettuce, wash and shred. Rinse bean sprouts well with cold water and set aside.
2) Set out wooden cutting board on your counter (this will be your folding station). Fill a large pot about 1/4 of the way with water and warm up on stove until you see tiny bubbles forming on the bottom, just enough to get the water hot and then turn off heat. Place one rice paper sheet into the hot water and allow it to fully submerge (you may have to poke it down into the water a bit to prevent it from curling). This is the trickiest part: once sheet is in the water, leave it in for only THREE seconds and pull out gently. I find a large spatula works well for this. Place wet rice paper wrapper on your cutting board and use your fingers to smooth it out flat.
3) Fill your salad roll! Place 3-4 pieces of shrimp down first in a line across the middle of your rice paper wrapper, leaving a bit of space at the ends for folding. Add in lettuce, sprouts, carrot, cucumber and a noodles in any amount you want according to taste. To wrap your roll by folding in the ends and rolling it away from you, making sure to tuck in any stray noodles or bean sprouts that might try to pop out.
4) Set aside completed rolls on a plate. Its a good idea to keep a piece of damp paper towel handy to cover them as you are making them. They must be kept a little moist on the outside or they’ll dry up very quickly and the wrappers will crack.
1/2 cup of natural peanut butter
1 tsp white sugar
2 heaping tbsp of hosin sauce (found in the Asian or International foods isle of your grocery store)
2 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp of Sesame Oil
1/4 cup water
1) Simply add all ingredients into a bowl and whisk thoroughly until all ingredients are well blended. Serve with your salad rolls and ENJOY!
~ At some stores you can actually find carrots pre-cut into match-stick size pieces. I know our Loblaws store often does. So that’s one way to cut down on prep time if you can find them!
~ If your wrapping skills aren’t top notch yet, don’t fret! I’ve found that this is a skill that I’ve developed over time so keep practicing. No matter how you wrap them, they’ll still taste delicious! And if they do happen to be on the loose side, don’t be afraid to use a spoon to pour some of that yummy sweet peanut sauce directly onto your roll!
~ These will not freeze well, but I’ve found that they can easily be stored in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Place rolls on a plate covered with a lightly moistened paper towel. Then cover entire plate with plastic wrap.