Monday, July 23, 2007

Fresh Summer Rolls

Introducing the Fresh Summer Roll! Sound familiar? That's because it's pretty much the same thing as the Fresh Spring Roll except it is summer-time when you eat it. I referred to these tasty delights in a previous blog entry about Pho-Reign, a Vietnamese restaurant nearby. That is where I was I first inspired to make this version.

Fresh Summer Rolls

See, for years I have been making fresh spring rolls with this recipe. (Something to note about the recipe in that link: the second list of ingredients is for a sauce I have never made, but I always serve it with the Hoisin sauce which is the third list of ingredients. Check out the recipe and then come on back.)

At Pho-reign, instead of just using boring cocktail shrimp, they mix things up with BBQ beef or pork. So, I decided to make a Thai chicken version with a peanut dipping sauce. I took the main recipe you just checked out, and eliminated the cilantro, mostly because I didn't have any, and the shrimp. Then, I broiled two boneless chicken breasts dousing both sides with a sauce made of:

  • Soy Sauce
  • Fish Sauce (Optional, use sparingly!!)
  • Teryiaki Sauce (a thick version used for BBQing)
  • Drop of Sesame Oil
  • Peanut Butter

(I am really sorry about not having measurements but you're just going to have to use your own judgement and taste.)

When the chicken was done, I cut it into 1/2 inch strips and started my assembly line with the other ingredients. Instead of the shrimp, I used the chicken strips, and wrapped everything in the wet rice papers. For a dipping sauce, I mixed up:

  • 3 parts Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 part Peanut Butter

Sprinkle the combined sauces with chopped peanuts

These are really soooo good. But at the same time, kind of an acquired taste. The moist rice papers are kind of.. chewy, and they look transparent. If you are entertaining, however, it is nice to put whole fresh herbs on the wrapper first, so they end up showing through and looking very pretty. The exciting thing to note here, I know you can hardly contain yourself, is that you can really use any kind of meat or even tofu if you are vegetarian or vegan. This is a very healthy recipe as well and great on a hot day because it is so light and the herbs always make everything taste so fresh.

You may be thinking: what are all these crazy ingredients and where can I get them?? Well, the good news is you can probably get most of them in the ethnic sections of your larger supermarkets. If you live near an Asian supermarket that carries Thai and/or Vietnamese groceries, even better, and cheaper. If you live in LA, I did find a place for Thai and Indonesian ingredients.. you can read about it here.

Here are some links and info for some items so you'll know what to look for:

  • Rice Spring Roll Wrappers: These are round, the size of a dinner plate, and very brittle until they are dipped in the hot water. They are made with the same kind of rice flour as rice noodles (Pad Thai is made with rice noodles).
  • Fish Sauce: A very popular sauce that goes into a lot of Thai cooking, you just didn't know it. Don't ask what's in it.
  • Hoisin Sauce: Very tasty right out of the jar, albeit salty. Made from soy, sweet potato, and other things.

    Well, that's it kids, happy rolling!