Holiday season comes with such delicious winter treats. It is just so difficult to resist such sweet pastries, crunchy gingerbread and chocolate readily available everywhere you go. However, it is also important to get enough veggies for your body to remain healthy, and summer rolls is my go-to favorite dish. It is really easy and fun to make. All you need are some ingredients and some chopping and rolling “skills” – then you are good to go.
Summer in a roll
Summer rolls (often known as Vietnamese spring rolls, rice paper rolls, or salad rolls) are suitable for a wonderful light dinner, lunch or snacks. They are basically fresh veggies and some cooked rice noodles loaded in rice papers together with fried eggs, shredded meat or sea food; or seasoned-fried tofu and mushroom if you make a vegan version of them. The fun thing about summer rolls is you can mix them with different stuffing, as long as you think they go well together.
Fresh herbs: coriander and mint
For example, my friends and I both love a good mix of crunchy veggies and herbs, so we love to make them with sliced cucumber & carrot, mint, coriander and salad. Some people like to add chopped cabbage, bell-peppers (paprika) and cilantro. Others fancy their rolls to be loaded with a slide of not-too-sweet mango, or even avocado. I have never tried the mango or avocado versions, but I bet they would be tasty too. The rolls can be eaten alone or with mixed fish sauce, soy sauce or even peanut butter sauce. They are varied from recipes to recipes, but I usually just eat them without the sauce, since I already use some seasonings while preparing the ingredients.
Some ingredients in the making: seasoned & sliced pork and thinly sliced eggs
So, it depends on what version you fancy, but here are some basic things you would probably need: rice papers, rice noodles, cucumber, carrot, cabbage, and herbs (coriander & mint). Some ingredients need to be fully cooked before you start rolling. For example, you will need to boil and have the rice noodles ready. Then, if you make a vegan version of the rolls, tofu will need to be fried and seasoned with a bit of salt and soy-sauce; so is the mushroom. Then they also need to be thinly sliced so that you can roll them easily.
If you make a non-vegan version of the dish, then it depends on the ingredients. Basically, meat (fish, shrimp, chicken, etc) will need to be fully cooked and seasoned based on your preferences; and so are the eggs. The cooked meat needs to be shredded, and fried eggs need to be thinly sliced. Do not worry too much about how they would look, but I recommend the thinner the better.
My favorite type: loaded with fresh herbs, carrot, cucumber, rice noodles, seasoned tofu & mushroom.
The ingredients like rice papers, rice noodles, tofu, dried mushrooms, etc can be bought easily at any supermarkets. If you prefer some really local products, you can also pay a visit to the Asian stores in town.
We had recorded a fun video clip of “How to roll a perfect summer roll” so you can have a look and see how fun and easy it was. Also, as this will be my last blog post of this year, I would love to wish you all a very happy and successful new year. See you again in 2017 – hopefully I can be blogging from new destinations too!