Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Rolls w/ Peanut Sauce

I love summer rolls. They are like the love-child of some amazing Asian persuasion dish and some hunk of a burrito. Its the lesser known, but much more health conscience/trendy, sibling of the spring roll and cousin of the "I get around" egg roll [there's one in every family]. Unlike its sibling and cousin, the summer roll is NOT fried. This makes it an entertainingly delicious, intriguingly healthy, and wonderfully complimentary appetizer to many savory, fat-laden main courses you may have in mind.

First things first, make the "I have dibs on licking the bowl" peanut sauce.
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (Asian food aisle)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 small garlic clove, mashed to a paste
  • 1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste or hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup water (add extra water to thin to desired consistency)
Combine ingredients and mix together well. Serve at room temp. Easy.

So the hardest part to making the peanut sauce is getting your hands on the ingredients. The same goes for the summer rolls. Once you have everything that is needed and laid out in front of you the rolls are cake (not literally). They are pretty fun to make too. Some people add pork, julienne carrots, and/or bell pepper slices, feel free to add as much "stuff" as you wish/can fit into them.

For the "I feel good eating this and it actually tastes good" summer rolls:
  • 8 (8-1/4-inch) round rice paper wrappers (Asian food aisle, round, often made of tapioca)
  • 12 medium cocktail shrimp, halved (or an equal amount of smaller cooked shrimp)
  • 2 ounces dried rice sticks (Asian food aisle, they are a thin rice noodle)
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts, rinsed (canned in the, you guessed it, Asian food aisle)
  • 24 small mint leaves
  • 16 basil leaves
  • 8 small cilantro sprigs
  • 1 hot pepper, julienne or dice
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-by-1/4-by-2-inch sticks
  • 2 large scallions, trimmed, halved, and sliced into 3-inch lengths
  • 4 Boston lettuce leaves, cut in half
Like I said, getting the ingredients is the hardest part. Now, soften the rice sticks in hot water for a little while (10-30min). Get all of the ingredients in front of you on a table or something that gives you room to roll the rolls. Fill a med. bowl with water and have it beside you. Next comes the cool part. Take a rice paper wrapper (its thin, dry, and brittle) and wet it with the water in the bowl next to you. Almost instantly the wrapper becomes thin, soft, and pliable. Lay the wrapper flat on the table. Near the middle add all of the ingredients in order (3 shrimp halfs first, then some rice sticks, bean sprouts, 3 mint leaves, 2 basil leaves, cilantro sprig, some hot pepper, some cucumber, some scallions, and a half leaf of lettuce rolled like a cigar). Fold the sides of the wrapper over the "stuff". Fold the front over and roll it up like a burrito. Done. Easy. Now make 7 more and enjoy with the "I could drink this stuff" peanut sauce.

Tip: These are meant to be eaten fresh. You are not supposed to store them in the fridge because they dry out. If you do want to store them for a couple of hours put them on a plate and cover them with a damp towel.


Jessica said...

Wow! Someone's got some great creative writing skills! If I was an English teacher, I'd give you an A+ for description. Reading this recipe made my mouth water. I can't wait to try it!

Steve & Carrie said...

Thanks Jessica. Its a fun one.