Bring a taste of Vietnam to your table with these fresh summer rolls with peanut sauce! These delicious rolls make a great light meal or appetizer.
Back when I was a student at the University of British Columbia, one of my favorite things to buy to eat (and one of the cheapest things I could afford) was summer rolls with peanut sauce. I think they cost a whole $2 CDN each...seriously, what a steal!
Not only were they tasty, especially with the creamy peanut sauce that came with it, but one roll was all I needed to fill me up for lunch. It was the perfect student meal (for a student who didn't have a whole lot of spending money)!
Fast forward more than 25 years (yikes) and I'm only now getting into making these at home! I have no idea what took me so long, but am I glad it's on my recipe rotation now...and so is my family!
There is a bit of magic involved with these wraps because the wrappers, themselves, are dry when you buy them. And in fact, they don't look particularly appetizing, nor do they even look like they'd be edible! But all it takes it a quick dip in some room temperature water and these rice wafers soften up and become perfectly pliable for rolling.
Keep in mind that making these rolls takes a bit of practice, but I promise, you will get the hang of it!
UBC's summer rolls were filled with shrimp, rice noodles, lettuce, and a turkey slice, and that's what I've reproduced in this recipe. The great thing is that you can fill these rolls with what ever you like!
Don't like shrimp? Don't use it.
Want to use fresh herbs? Go for it!
Do you like the crunch and color from bell peppers? That would look and taste great!
Want to make it noodle-less? Why not? (Being a noodle lover, myself, I would never ever make these without the noodles because they just wouldn't seem complete...but that's me!)
Oh and don't forget the peanut sauce for dipping...THE PEANUT SAUCE! While my boys actually prefer the rolls totally plain with no dipping (insert eye roll here), I find it's the sauce that really makes it!
And all it is is a blend of peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, a garlic clove, and water. So simple!
Perhaps it was a couple of trips to Vietnam in recent years that inspired me to dive into attempting to make these summer rolls. Maybe it was my growing love for Vietnamese food in general that got me exploring the cuisine more as with my other recipe, Savory Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli. Or maybe it was remembering the UBC summer rolls I used to eat and thinking that I really needed to figure out how to make them!
Whatever the reason, I'm super excited to share this recipe with you now. Better late than never, right??
Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce
- 12 Dry rice paper wrappers 8-9" in diameter
- 24 Medium sized shrimp, cooked and chilled
- Leaf lettuce
- Small cucumber
- 200 g Rice vermicelli noodles
- 12 Deli turkey slices
Prepare all these ingredients and set aside until ready to make the rolls
- Slice shrimp in half.
- Slice cucumber into long strips.
- Wash and dry lettuce leaves, making sure to remove mid-section core running up the middle so that you are just left with the soft leaves.
- Cook the dry rice noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well.
- Combine all the peanut sauce ingredients and whisk together until well blended.
Making the rolls
- Fill a skillet or pie plate or dish with about ½" of room temperature water.
- Submerge a dry rice wrapper into the water for about 20-30 seconds.
- Gently place the rice sheet on a slightly wet working surface.
- Place a slice of turkey on the edge closest to you, and 4 shrimp halves about ¾ of the way up, making sure the cut-side of the shrimp is facing up.
- Lay a lettuce leaf on top of the shrimp, tearing the leaf as necessary to make it fit. Using wet hands, arrange some noodles on the turkey slice. Place cucumber strips next to the noodles.
- Starting from the edge closest to you, gently start to roll the wrapper over the noodles and cucumber, tucking in the edge as you roll.
- Fold the side edges of the wrapper over the filling.
- Continue rolling from the bottom up, tucking the shrimp and lettuce in snuggly as you finish rolling completely to the top edge.
- Rice wrappers for these summer rolls can be found in your local Asian supermarket or Asian food aisle. They are dry, translucent, round wafers, about 8-9" in diameter.
- The noodles are dry vermicelli noodles. I like to use a medium noodle (about spaghetti thickness), but the thinner rice vermicelli noodles will also work.
- Do not worry if the cooked noodles start sticking together and are hard to separate when you're handling them. Just make sure your fingers are wet and the noodles should separate easily. If necessary, give the noodles a quick rinse under cold water again to loosen. Just be sure they are not sopping wet when you add them to the roll.
- Feel free to play with the fillings for these summer rolls. They can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the shrimp and turkey and can be subbed with julienned carrots, bell peppers, etc.
- If you like fresh herbs, add those in before rolling them up.
If you make this dish, share your photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag me @dayinthekitchen!
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