Friday, September 5, 2014

Vegetable Summer Rolls with Spicy Dipping Sauce


We are technically still in summer so I had to share these deliciously fresh Summer Rolls with you today. These rolls are perfect for hot days like today since it's 95 degrees! So I didn't need to heat up the kitchen today to make this treat,  I used a microwave to boil some water to soften the noodles and heat some water to soak the wrappers.   All the other ingredients are fresh vegetables and full flavor herbs like mint and Thai basil leaves.  I grow Thai basil in pots during the summer months because I adore the flavor it gives to any dish.  I could not believe what a hit these rolls were with my husband.  He is a serious carnivore, but he ate more than 2/3 of the vegetable rolls I made.  He also could not believe he liked them so much since they had no meat.  He said it was love as first bite with the fresh vegetables, herbs and the spicy dipping sauce.    The sauce is a must for this meal because the other ingredients have no real seasoning of salt.  Here is a tip I like to suggest on how to eat them.  I like to cut them in half and then spoon a little of the dipping sauce into the opening of the cut roll.  This way the dipping sauce has a chance to get into every bit of the roll.  Now remember make the dipping sauce as sweet, salty or spicy as you like.  This is one meal you can customize to your taste from the ingredients inside to the sauce.  It's just a fun and fresh dish that will keep you cool when the weather is hot outside.

Packet of round rice paper wrappers ** see note
English cucumber sliced into matchsticks
grated carrots
Thai basil leaves
mint leaves
bean thread noodles (about 4-6 oz packet)
green lettuce (I used fancy mix of small lettuce leaves)
warm water (needed to soften rice paper wrappers

Note: These are dried wrappers found by the noodles at Asian markets.  Do not use the egg roll wrappers from the freezer or refrigerated section for this dish.

I did not include quantities because you can customize these rolls to as much of the ingredients you like (but do not over fill the rolls so they can still be wrapped neatly).

Place warm water into a shallow dish (I used a pie plate)  Place one rice paper wrapper at a time into water for 20 seconds or until soft and pliable. 

To cook the Ben Thread Noodles:  Boil water and place noodles in boiling water.  Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes until tender.  Drain and place with other ingredients for rolls.

Place softened wrapper on a plate and layer with lettuce,  cucumber sticks, shredded carrot, basil leaves and mint leaves.   Bring in sides of wrapper and then roll tightlyfrom the bottom up to form a roll. Keep prepared rolls under a damp paper towel so they do not dry up.  I like them at room so serve immediately.  If you prepare them ahead of time, chill until you serve.  Serve with dipping sauce below.  Enjoy.

Spicy Dipping Sauce:
2-3 Tbs Fish sauce (soy sauce can be substituted)
1-2 Tbs Brown Sugar
1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1-2 Tbs Sambal Oelek (or garlic chili sauce)
2-3 Tbs finely sliced green onion (white part)

Mix all ingredients together.  Adjust taste as desired.

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