Whoever said we have nothing to fear but fear itself could have been talking about rice paper rolls.*
I've wanted to make them (Vietnamese-style) for years, but dreaded the complexity, feared the differentness, and practically hyperventilated over finding the right moment to tackle the job (because without fresh mint and basil, you might as well forget it).
Well, the other night I did it. And I had to laugh to myself (because I was alone) at how ridiculously easy it was. Ten seconds. Cold water. That's it! They're the perfect summer meal because they require no cooking...plus they're fresh and delicious!
Give them a try yourself with a homemade dipping sauce:
Rice Paper Summer Rolls
- Rice paper wrappers
- Meats and vegetables to use as filling (see list below for suggestions)
- Fresh mint
- Thai basil
- Vermicelli rice noodles (optional)
1. Fill a bowl with cold water. Soak the rice paper wrappers for 10 seconds.**
2. Lay the wrappers on a large plate or cutting board and fill with your desired ingredients. Mine were:
- Cooked shrimp
- Sliced carrots
- Finely cut napa cabbage
- Vermicelli rice noodles (also quick, but not necessary)
- Thai basil
- Fresh mint (essential for that Vietnamese taste)
3. Fold over the sides of each wrapper. Roll up tightly into a bundle.
4. Serve with dipping sauce (see below).
Summer Rolls Dipping Sauce
There are a number of dipping sauce options, but below is one I doctored up. Since I was alone on the first night I made, I added chile oil. The next day when my little one tried it, she loved it...for the first minute...until the hot peppers hit. Then she cried. So hold back on the pepper oil if you want to tone down the heat.
- 6 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fermented fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon hot pepper sesame oil (optional!)
- Chopped cilantro
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped
1. Mix ingredients together and serve with Rice Paper Summer Rolls.
* He wasn't talking about rice paper rolls because these words were Franklin Delano Roosevelt's, and I doubt he ever cooked a thing, especially rice paper rolls. But he was an excellent president, anyway!
** Make sure the rice paper wrappers are fresh. I noticed on day two that the rice paper didn't soften up as easily.
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com