It’s so close, I can taste it. Summer, that is. Not that these rolls need to be relegated to any particular season per se. They are perfectly suited for any time that calls for something light and fresh.
They may seem intimidating, even a little fussy, to make at first but once you get the hang of it, they really are a breeze. Kids are naturally drawn to want to help with these so don’t be afraid to let them. You will have more rice paper wrappers than you will need so if some tear (and they will), no matter. Please use the recipe as a guideline and fill them with whatever suits your mood.
I love to make these rolls for lunch and served with a big green salad. They are fine to make ahead of time but best eaten the same day.
summer rolls with mango-chili dipping sauce
for the rolls:
20 8” round rice paper wrappers
20 cooked medium/large shrimp with tails removed, cut in half lengthwise
40 (same size) mint leaves or Thai basil leaves
for the filling:
4 oz cooked brown rice noodles (I prefer Tinkyada)
1 c sprouts (I used spicy radish and alfalfa sprouts)
2-3 carrots, julienned
1-2 bird chilies, stemmed, seeded and minced
6-8 small radishes, thinly sliced
¼ c cilantro, chopped
½ c lightly salted roasted peanuts, chopped
juice of 1 large lime
2-3 T coconut oil
1 T fish sauce or to taste
for the sauce:
1 red mango, peeled and cubed
1 bird chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
juice of ½ of a lime
splash of ginger juice* or a t of grated ginger
splash of mirin
fish sauce to taste
In a large bowl, mix together all of the filling ingredients until thoroughly combined. Taste for a good balance between spice, salt and sour, adjusting to your palate.
Set up your bowl of filling, have your leaves and your shrimp ready to go.
Fill a large bowl or pot with hot water. You can add a little sugar to keep the rice papers from sticking together. I find it easier to soften a couple at a time. Slip the paper into the hot water and when it becomes transparent and pliable, it is ready to use.
Place the rice paper on a cutting board or, better yet, a cool counter. Mound a small amount of the noodle salad in the bottom 1/3 of the paper. Fold up the bottom end to cover the salad and then fold in the sides. Gently tuck that section under.
Place 2 shrimp halves on the top of your roll and, repeat the rolling and tucking process.
Place two leaves on the next section; tuck and roll again to finish.
Arrange the rolls on a platter and cover immediately with damp paper towels. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
mango-chili dipping sauce
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the mango with a little bit of water, stirring often. When the mango is very soft, remove it from the heat. Puree the mango and remaining ingredients together in a blender. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
*This stuff ROCKS if you can get your hands on it. It’s a great way to add a quick hit of ginger to anything.