We are in the apex of summer here in Pennsylvania. What does that mean? Days are long and languid…crisp, fresh vegetables abound in the farmer’s markets…and sweet lightening bugs flash their little bellies from dusk ’til dawn.
It is about this time that our appetites wane mid-day with the rise of the thermometer and it is no better time to embrace a healthy but tasty snack. Here is where the fresh roll gets a little play.
This is the perfect little snack to tote with you to the park or coffee shop. It will keep you from succumbing to eating fast food on the run or grabbing a baked good when you really need (not want!) an umami tinged nutrient packed burst.
The fresh roll or summer roll is also perfect if you did not go anywhere this summer and want to take a bite out of another culture without leaving your city.
Vietnam is where this roll supposedly had its beginnings though most of the surrounding countries have their own version. In Vietnam the roll is called goi cuon. Bánh tráng is the name of the rice paper that these are wrapped in. Rice paper can be found much more easily these days but if you are in a food desert you can purchase them here. I call these Thai summer rolls since I used Thai basil and the sauce has a Japanese bent but you know the origin so we are ok.
The trickiest part of making fresh rolls is the folding and rolling. Once you get the hang of it, you are set. I thought I would share some step by step pics with you so you do not go into this with the anxiety I did.Step-by-Step Summer Roll Folding Guide
Cut whatever vegetables you are using into match sized sticks or just a little bigger if you wish.
Organize your ingredients. Place your veggies on the left, a plate with water on the right. This is for dipping the rice paper in water so it softens for use.
Dip a rice paper round into the water and place on a clean surface. I use a cutting board. Place a small handful of vegetables and the thai basil towards the bottom center of the round.
If you want to add rice or mung bean noodles (optional), do this now.
Let’s get ready to wrap!
Fold over top third onto vegetables, wetting rice paper if needed.
Either (a) fold the bottom third up or…
(b) Fold the left side over then the bottom up. Go with whatever is comfortable or seems to hug your veggies tight.
Roll tightly, tucking as you go.
The only philosophical bit I have for you today is….enjoy. Shazzam.
Thai Summer RollsIngredients:
- Multi-colored carrots
- Daikon radish
- Thai Basil
- Rice or mung bean noodles, soaked for at least an hour in hot water
- Rice papers
- Optional additions or substitutions: cilantro, mint, shredded chicken or pork, sliced shrimp…limitless!
1. Cut all vegetables into matchsized (or a bit larger) sticks.
2. Arrange vegetables next to a plate of water.
3. Dip your rice paper into the plate of water and set aside.
4. Arrange a small handful of vegetables and a few leaves of herbs in the low center of the rice paper.
5. Roll up tightly.
Savory Dipping SauceIngredients:
- 1 Tbsp Organic Miso (or any without MSG)
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 Tbsp Tamari sauce
- 3 Tbsp mirin
- 3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame oil
- 1-3 Tbsp Vietnamese Chili-garlic sauce to taste
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
1. In small bowl or mason jar mix or shake miso with 1/4 cup of water.
2. Mix (or shake) in the other ingredients.
3. Serve with rolls.
Sauce will keep a few days in refrigerator. Rolls are best served immediately but will keep one additional day pretty good in my opinion. I like to make ahead because I am lazy.
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