So, in case you didn't know, it's been really f***ing hot the last few weeks - and not that I need an excuse, but the suffocating city heat requires some super fresh eats to combat the grossness. I mean closeness. Summer rolls are one of my favourite things to eat - and this year they've been ridiculously popular with catering customers and at home.
If I was ever going to have enough of them, 2018 would be the year, but so far no signs of it - they're so versatile and offer so many combos it's hard to get bored. And this holds true even after I stopped eating meat and so no longer fill them with slow cooked duck legs or pork belly. Drool. Instead we've been doing miso glazed veg and packing plenty of fresh salady, crunchy and herby bits.
They can either be a super easy and fun meal, or a real pain in the arse for the chef. Obviously for clients we prep them all in advance, which after about 20 or so stops being fun. Luckily most people don't eat that many on their own, so at home we set up a DIY station with everything chopped and ready, with the assembly up to the eater. It's a great one for a dinner party because they will wow your guests and frankly just require a bit of chopping. OK, quite a lot of chopping, but it's worth it. If you have a mandolin with a julienne setting, you can save yourself a lot of time, but make sure you don't exchange it for fingers.
All you need to do is prep your ingredients - cook noodles, shred / julienne the raw veg, pick the leaves off the herbs, finely chop the chillies and spring onions, stir fry some other veg (totally optional - all raw veg is even healthier and easier).. and make neat little piles of each on serving plates. The list below is what we normally go for, the herbs are really important, but the rest of the filling is up to you and the seasons!
- (Thai) Basil
- Spring onions
- Cooked and cooled rice vermicelli noodles
- Cooked veg: marinade in a mix of tamari, miso, rice vinegar, sesame oil your choice of shredded seasonal veg e.g.: mushrooms, asparagus, courgette, whilst you prep the rest of the raw veg. Stir fry them over a high heat in a teaspoon of oil, add some sesame seeds for the last minute or so and toss it all together well.
Make a simple dipping sauce by combining: tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, mirin and grated ginger to taste.
Get your hot water ready to soften the rice paper wraps and you're ready to go. We use extra thin ones, available from most asian supermarkets - follow the instructions on the pack to soften them ready for rolling.
Lay the wraps on a board, pile in your choice of ingredients, and roll it up like a little transparent burrito - all that's left to do then is dip and scoff!