This traditional dish makes a great appetizer or a light evening meal. Unlike their Chinese cousins, egg rolls, summer rolls are not fried and have a delightful, fresh taste.
Vietnamese Summer Rolls
• 8 rice paper spring roll wrappers
• 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
• 1/4 cup shredded cucumber, pressed dry on paper towel
• 8 medium-sized cooked, peeled shrimp, split in half lengthwise
• 24 bean sprouts, left whole
• 16 mint leaves (using 2 leaves per roll)
• Bunch coarsely chopped cilantro
1. Briefly run water over 1 piece of rice paper, immediately drain and lay on cutting board.
2. In middle of the paper (which will become the wrapper), lay small line of shredded carrot, then shredded cucumber on top.
3. Add shrimp, laying each half over the line of shredded vegetables.
4. Add a small amount of remaining ingredients. You should now have a little row of vegetables and shrimp across the middle of the wrapper.
5. Fold the right end over to the middle, then the left, then roll up firmly (like a burrito) starting on the near side of the wrapper. The moistened rice paper will stick to itself.
6. Set aside and make remaining summer rolls. If prepared in advance, cover with damp paper towels, then a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve with Dipping Sauce, below.
• 1/3 cup rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon (or more) hot chile flakes
• 1 tablespoon finely diced cucumber
• 2 teaspoons roasted (not salted) peanuts, 1 teaspoon soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
1. Combine ingredients, mix and let set before serving.
2. Serve in tiny individual bowls alongside Summer Rolls.
Contributing editor Jim Long lives and gardens in the Ozark Mountains.
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