Last night I went over to my brother and sister in laws house to make dinner/give cooking lesson.  It was loosely discussed Sunday night at a full family dinner but I was still unsure whether I should bring enough food for 3 or for 6 depending on how many people would be there.  Not one for surprises, I prepared and packed enough for all.  Summer rolls are not really traditionally winter type food but I am longing for the summer again and these with their fresh flavor take me back to the summer.

This is also a perfect way to get more veggies into your diet.  We all know how important they are to our health.  This recipe is a great way also to involve your kids or friends at a relaxed party.

My sister in law loves Thai food (and so do I) so I decided to teach my brother and her how to make them.  I also supplemented the meal with a pre-prepared roasted onion, orange pepper, and eggplant room temp. salad with chickpeas.  The meal was enjoyed by all and we had a good time.  I love my family and when we have good food, it just makes the company so much more special. 

Summer Rolls (for approximately 16 rolls)

2 large handfuls of fresh rice threads or 1 pkg. dried rice threads (found in Asian supermarkets or well stocked grocery stores)
* cook according to package directions, drain, and rinse with cold water)
16 rice paper wrappers/spring roll skin (found in Asian markets)
baby spinach leaves (a couple of big handfuls)
8 oz. shredded carrots
1 large red pepper, julienned
2 mangoes, julienned
1 jalapeno pepper, julienned (optional)
1 pkg. basil (Thai basil if you can get it)
pie dish or deep baking dish that will fit rice paper wrapper (fill with 1/2″ H2O
space to work

It makes it really easy if you prep all of your ingredients beforehand and set them out so it is easy to grab when you need them.  Dip a rice paper roll into the water, submerge, and then flip over and do to the other side (do not soak the wrappers or they will get too soft).  Lift the wrapper out and let excess water drip off.  Place on work surface and lay a small handful of spinach down, top with a small mound of rice noodles, then some carrots, peppers, mangoes, and then a few basil leaves.  Starting with the side closest to you, roll up as tight as you can without ripping the wrapper.  I find it easiest to start rolling the side closest to me over the filling.  Then I fold each side up and then roll the whole thing closed.  The rice paper wrapper will seal itself.  Repeat till done with fillings or until you have made as many as you want to make.  Don’t overstuff them or the rice paper will tear.  It takes a bit of practice, but is well worth the effort (especially with a glass of wine on the side)!  Now onto the dipping sauce.

Tahini Dipping Sauce

1 tblsp. coconut oil
4 garlic cloves
1/4 c. hoisin sauce (look at ingredients and find one without high fructose corn syrup)
1 tblsp. honey or agave
1 tblsp. chili garlic sauce (found in the Asian area of the supermarket or Asian market)
3 tblsp. tahini or any nut butter (cashew or almond works nicely too)
1/2 c. hot water

Combine all ingredients in the blend and process till smooth.

Arrange summer rolls on a plate and serve with dipping sauce.  If making rolls slightly in advance cover summer rolls with plastic so rice paper does not dry out.

The picture is not happening until I make them again!

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