The Vietnamese name for these rolls is Goi Cuon, or literally, salad roll. And that's what they are, a finely julienned salad in a handy wrapper. All you need to do to get started is slice up a bunch of different vegetables into about 6 inch slivers. Gather some leafy greens to form the outer layer. I used radicchio and watercress, but you can use anything you like. They're best made right before you eat them, or at least the same day. But you can definitely slice up all the ingredients ahead.
This is more of a method than a recipe. The filling can be any vegetable you like, but it works best if they are cut in thin strips. In fact, the vegetables should be cut in as fine a julienne as you and your sharpest knife can muster...that will result in the best final texture. You don't want big clunky bits in your summer rolls.
1 package spring roll wrappers
radicchio leaves or any leafy green
julienned English cucumber (skin on)
- Gather all your clean, trimmed veggies together on a work surface.
- Put a little warm water in the bottom of a flat dish, a pie plate works well. Working with one rice paper wrapper at a time, submerge and soak it in the water for just about 10 seconds, to soften it. Don't soak it too long or it will become fragile.
- Place your wrapper flat down and layer radicchio leaves down on it, leaving at least an inch all around.
- Then lay your other veggies on top, in any configuration you want. Play around with them; you can make them thick, or thin, and depending on how you layer your vegetables, the cut rolls will have a different look.
- Fold the top edge of the wrapper over, then starting from one side, fold the whole circle over, like a taco or an omelet.
- Fold the bottom up, and continue to wrap the roll, using a firm pressure to get a nice, tight roll. It will probably take you a roll or two to get the hang of it. My first attempts were too loose.
- Cut the roll in two, either on a diagonal, or straight across. Set on a plate, but don't let the rolls touch or the rice wrappers can stick together.
- Serve with dipping sauce.
- To store, cover with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap.
Now for the sauce---I chose to make a spicy peanut sauce, and my Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce. For the peanut sauce I started by checking out various recipes online to get a feel for it, I had bookmarked this one and this one. Then I pulled out all the Asian condiments from my cupboard, along with some peanut butter. I lined them all up, grabbed a bowl and a whisk, and started playing. Here's what I came up with, the exact amounts are flexible, be sure to taste as you go! If you want a thinner sauce, you can add some water. Double the recipe for more sauce. Leave out the chili if you don't like spicy...you know the drill.
Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
6 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp rice vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
4 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
t tsp red chili flakes
chopped roasted peanuts for garnish
- Whisk all the ingredients together in a measuring cup until it becomes a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust as you see fit.
These Summer Rolls are so good, I'm glad I finally got around to making them. We've got lots of hot weather ahead, so I'm sure I'll use up all 3 packs of wrappers I stockpiled. In fact don't be shocked if you see another summer roll post from me real soon, I want to fine tune my julienne technique, and play around with some other veggies, and maybe shrimp.
Have you made these? What's your favorite way to fill them? I need ideas for my next summer roll session, I'm already craving more!