Thai Summer Rolls

by Gwen on March 8, 2010 · 2 comments

I’m a big summer roll fan.  No lie, I’ll take it over a deep fried spring or egg roll any day of the week.  They’re light and super refreshing, and I enjoyed how, once you get over the intimidation factor, how incredibly simple they are to make and customize to your liking.

This is a recipe I was addicted to the summer after graduation, but I hadn’t really made since.  That’s probably because I, along with my team of parental sous chefs, prepped over 100 of these alone for mine and V’s college grad party, and there definitely can be too much of a good thing.  It’s based off of Tyler Florence’s recipe, but I’ve changed it up over the years.  What I like most about Tyler’s spin on the summer roll is that it’s got the classic Thai elements, like cilantro and cellophane noodles and peanuts, and then some fresh Vietnamese ingredients, such as mint and mung bean sprouts, and also few delicious surprises, like the beets.  So anywho, Jared and Robin’s oscar party seemed like the perfect opportunity to dust off that old recipe and give it an update.  It’s a bit time consuming, prepping the veggies and rolling each individual roll, but man, it’s so worth the effort.

Thai Summer Rolls with Sweet Chili Peanut Dipping Sauce
Makes about a dozen rolls

2 carrots, julienned
1 large beet, julienned
2 handfuls fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 bunch mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups pea sprouts, cut in half (or bean sprouts if you can’t find the pea ones)
1 cup shredded napa cabbage
1 package baked tofu, cut into 24 long, skinny portions
1 package enoki mushrooms, roots trimmed and  mushrooms seperated
3 oz Vietnamese cellophane noodles, cooked according to package instructions
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
1/2 cup roasted and unsalted peanuts, chopped
The juice of 2 limes
2 tsp sesame oil
1- 12oz package 8-inch round rice paper wrappers

Start by prepping your veggies and noodles and putting a kettle of water on to boil for the rice paper wrappers.  Here’s some glamour shots of the chopped veggies:  (ps arn’t these lightbox pictures pretty rad?)

Combine the carrots, beets, cilantro, mint, sprouts, enoki, cabbage, scallions and peanuts in a large bowl.  Add the sesame oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Keep the tofu and noodles to the side, so they keep their bright white color.

Pour 3 cups of hot water into a wide, shallow bowl (keep extra hot water around because this will inevitably cool off as you’re working).  Immerse the wrappers one at a time for about 15 seconds to soften.  To form the rolls, lay the rice paper on a flat surface.  Put a small amount of the filling (about 1/4 cup) on the top 1/3 of the wrapper.  Top with 2 sticks of tofu and a small portion of the noodles.  Be careful not to overstuff the wrapper or it will tear.  Fold down the top of the wrapper to cover the filling.  Fold in the right and left sides, then roll from the top down, being careful to keep the sides tucked in.  Cover the finished rolls with a damp towel to keep from drying out while you finish the other rolls.  Serve as soon as possible with the dipping sauce.

For a speedier alternative, serve the filling as a salad along with butter lettuce leaves and allow people to build their own lettuce wraps.

For the Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup hot water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp white sugar
The juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup thai sweet chili sauce, such as Mae Ploy
2 tsp red chili paste, such as sambal

Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, and lime juice into a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the hot water until the sauce reaches a smooth consistency.  You may not need all of it.  Add in the sweet chili sauce and sambal and whisk to combine.  Serve with Thai Summer Rolls.

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