Everyday Food: Summer rolls are a quick and easy treat

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 02, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Summer rolls

Makes 8

Base:

• 1 package (4 ounces) vermicelli rice noodles

• 8-inch spring-roll wrappers

Shrimp and mint:

• 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked, then halved lengthwise

• 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

• 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks (1 1/2 cups)

• 1 bunch chives

Chicken and mango:

• 4 ounces chicken cutlets, cooked and shredded

• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

• 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks (1 1/2 cups)

• 1 small ripe mango, peeled and thinly sliced

Vegetarian:

• 1 avocado, thinly sliced

• 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

• 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks (1 1/2 cups)

• 1 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks (3/4 cup)

1. Pour boiling water over noodles and soak 15 minutes. Drain and rinse. Divide into eight equal portions. Fill a wide, shallow bowl with cool water. Working with one wrapper at a time, soak until pliable, 20 seconds. Transfer to a flat surface and smooth.

2. Place a layer of desired fillings on bottom third of wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Top with a portion of noodles and another layer of fillings.

3. Fold bottom of wrapper tightly over fillings. Roll over once, tuck in sides and finish rolling. If desired, add three fresh chives and continue rolling to enclose them. Transfer roll to a plate and cover with a slightly damp paper towel.

Repeat to make eight summer rolls. Serve immediately with dipping sauces (recipes follow), or refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Nutritional information per two rolls (shrimp version): 206 calories, 1 gram fat, 14 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 4 percent of calories from fat.

Creamy peanut dipping sauce

Makes 1 1/4 cups

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter and 1/2 cup warm water until smooth. Whisk in 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from two limes), 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 4 teaspoons sugar. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts over sauce just before serving.

Spicy hoisin dipping sauce

Makes 1 cup

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup hoisin sauce, 3 tablespoons chili sauce (such as sambal oelek), 2 teaspoons white vinegar and 1/4 cup water until smooth.

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Vietnamese summer rolls are a cool, refreshing treat on hot days. When paired with a peanut dipping sauce or a spicy version made with hoisin, the tightly rolled bundles are a lively blend of flavors and textures.

Rolling them is as fast and easy as making a burrito, and the filling options are endless. These just might become your new favorite no-cook meal.

Spring-roll wrappers

The round wrappers frequently labeled “spring roll skin” or “bánh tráng” are used to make fresh, soft summer rolls or crisp, fried spring rolls. The brittle, almost translucent sheets are made with rice powder. Look for spring-roll wrappers in the international aisle of your supermarket, at an Asian grocery or online. Store them in an airtight container in a dark, dry place, up to three months.

A quick soak in water makes the wrappers tender and easy to work with. Oversoaking makes them mushy and more likely to tear.

For the best results, work with one wrapper at a time, rolling it up snugly so that the roll stays firm and tight. The 6-inch rounds are the traditional size for spring rolls and the 8-inch ones are usually used for summer rolls. For a party, try making bite-size summer rolls with the smaller wrappers. Experiment with fresh fillings and flavor combinations.

For more recipes and additional tips, visit www.marthastewart.com/everydayfood. Questions or comments about the column should be sent to everydayfood@marthastewart.com.

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