Known to the common person as “Spring” Rolls, I’ve renamed these Summer Rolls, since we in Tacoma are currently experiencing what everyone else would call Spring. Today was in the upper 60′s/ lower 70′s and we saw sporadic rain and thundershowers. But yesterday… ah, yesterday. 80 degrees and nothing but sun. A good friend was coming over with her little girl, and I thought, “Summer Rolls are in order.” I’ve made these four times so far, and each time I get better at them. Although, they’re pretty hard to mess up.
This recipe is from one of my most favorite cookbooks called The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry. I bought this book of organic and vegetarian recipes at Powell’s a couple years ago because it has lots of unique ingredients in it that I wanted to experiment with. Rumor has it LAX is putting in an RFD restaurant… Which I hope catches on with the rest of our airports.
You can make as many as you want, so I’m not going to list quantities. I usually end up making 10-12 rolls, and the whole process takes a couple of hours (so, not a quick weeknight meal, but a great appetizer for special occasions).
ON THE SHOPPING LIST:
For the rolls:
- rice paper sheets (mine are labeled Banh Trang Spring Roll Skin, product of Vietnam)
- napa cabbage
- red cabbage
- green onions (using white and green parts)
- daikon radish (highly suggest buying this from your farmer’s market if you can)
- peppers (I only include if I can find sweet yellow ones like those in the picture)
- chopped raw peanuts
- fresh cilantro leaves
- fresh mint leaves
For the Mango Sauce:
- 6 pitted dates
- 1 mango
- chopped (yellow) onion
- 1 orange for squeezed juice
- 2 lemons
- 1 1/2 T. soy sauce (or nama shoyu if you’ve got it and are going for raw)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 t. minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1/4 t. minced jalapeno chile
First thing’s first. The sauce. Soak the dates in a small bowl of water for a couple hours. Then drain (make sure there aren’t any pits hiding in the dates by cutting into each one) and transfer to your food processor (blender okay, but I prefer the processor b/c it’s easier to get the sauce out once it’s done). Add the peeled and cut up mango, 1/4 c of the chopped onion, juice from your 2 lemons, juice from your 1 orange, 1 1/2 T. of soy sauce, your clove of garlic, your 1/2 t. of ginger and your small sliver of jalapeno. Blend until the sauce is smooth, then STRAIN. The first time I made this, I didn’t strain it and while not the being the worst thing I could have done, I much preferred it the second time I made it when I did strain it. The third time I made these, I made the sauce the night before which helped me keep my space clean for when I was making the summer rolls. (The more things in motion in my kitchen, the bigger the mess. I’m working on it.)
Have all your ingredients thinly sliced, julienned, or chopped before you even get to the hot water stage.
Once you’ve got all your ingredients ready, create a working space where you’ll have a clean, smooth dish towel to put each rice paper sheet on. Put a large bowl next to it and fill it with hot water. Place the first rice paper in the bowl with hot water, and submerge it for 7-10 seconds. Take it out carefully (so as not to tear it), and place on your clean, smooth towel. Add a few slivers of the cabbages, onions, carrots, peppers and daikon radish. Then sprinkle the peanuts, and top with the herbs (cilantro/mint). Fold it up like a mini-burrito – ends in, and roll one side to the other. Set on a platter, and repeat until you have all the summer rolls you want.
You can cut these in half, or serve whole (which I do to prevent mess or the veggies from drying out if I’m serving later). These will keep for about a day as long as they’re covered. I’m guessing the sheets got the name rice “paper” from the person who left them out uncovered…
Serve alongside the mango sauce or any other dipping sauce you want. I picked up a yummy soy sauce at the Proctor Farmer’s Market called Spring Roll Dipping Sauce from Four Sisters, so I usually serve the rolls with the mango and soy dipping sauce.
And then you have Summer Rolls to shake up your consumption of veggies.