I only discovered these Summer rolls when I visited Vietnam a few years ago, but go to any Vietnamese restaurant, and you’ll find the exact same thing on the menu–usually as an appetizer. Stuffed with fresh vegetables and herbs, rice noodles, and pork and shrimp, I consider this Vietnamese fast food, a whole meal to go (of course, you’ll have to have several of them). They are also incredibly healthy and easy to make, although there is a decent amount of prep work involved to assemble all the ingredients.
While putting them, I thought what I might use to make a no-cook summer roll, and I thought of substituting those packs of pre-roasted chicken you can buy at the supermarket for the pork. At my local grocery store, they also steam the shrimp for you right there on the premises so you don’t have to deal with it at home. For another twist, I thought about using strips of bacon instead of the lean pork, which would also add a nice crunchy texture to the roll (not to mention that savory, salty, bacony goodness!). The bottom line is to try whatever ingredients you like in the roll, thus making them your own. This time around, however, I stuck to the recipe. For the sauce, as well, feel free to experiment and add your own quantities of the individual ingredients to achieve a taste that you like.
2 cups (500 ml) water
1 spring onion
8 oz. (250 g) lean pork
12 (300 g) fresh medium prawns
12 dried rice paper wrappers ( 8 inches/20 cm in diameter)
1 small head butter lettuce, leaves washed, separated & dried
4 oz. (100 g) packet dried rice vermicelli
1 baby cucumber, quartered and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, grated
1 bunch cilantro leaves
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch scallions or chives
Peanut dipping sauce (Nuoc Leo)
¾ cup water
¼ cup hoisin sauce
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
juice of lime
fish sauce to taste
combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended
1.) Bring the water to a boil and poach pork and spring onion for 7-10 minutes until done. Remove pork and set aside to cool, slicing it into thin strips
2.) Using same water, boil again and poach prawns for 1-2 minutes until just cooked. Remove and plunge in cold water. Peel, devein, and halve each prawn lengthwise. Set aside.
3.) Using same water, blanch rice vermicelli noodles for 1-2 minutes until soft and then rinse and drain in cold water. Set aside.
4.) To make a roll, briefly dip whole rice paper wrapper in a bowl of water until soft. Remove and place on dry surface, smoothing it out with your fingers. Place a lettuce leaf onto the wrapper, closest to the edge nearest you and top with pork strips, rice vermicelli, cucumber and carrots. Fold the closest edge of the wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides and roll up halfway. Place 2 halves of a prawn, side by side, along the roll and top with cilantro leaves, then continue to roll up tightly to complete the folding. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up.
5.) Arrange Summer rolls on a serving platter and serve with serving bowls of sauce in the side.
Makes 12 rolls