THE KITCHN: Cooking lesson: How to make Vietnamese summer rolls with spicy peanut sauce
Here is a favorite Asian dishes for a summer lunch or warm evening -- fresh summer rolls (also called spring rolls). Heaps of fresh mint, shaved vegetables and light rice noodles wrapped up all ready for a spicy, tangy peanut sauce. They are healthy and light, and so refreshing in the heat of summer. And they're super easy to make.
This recipe uses a mixture of red pepper, radishes, cucumbe, and carrot, rolled up with cellophane noodles. Fish sauce, lime juice and rice vinegar are a great flavor combination, perfect for seasoning the vegetables. Then cilantro and fresh mint leaves round the rolls out. They're a perfect light, crunchy lunch or dinner course.
This recipe can be adapted dozens of ways; it's a great way to start experimenting freestyle with Asian flavors.
Because the rolls don't include any shrimp or meat, it's nice to pair them with a hearty dipping sauce. I recommend a peanut sauce with lots of red pepper flakes, but you could make a lighter sauce with just lime juice, rice vinegar, a bit of sugar, and some fish sauce for salt and depth.
And don't be scared of rice paper wraps! They're surprisingly easy to use. You will find them in most Asian groceries. Softening them in hot water is easy -- we give tips in the directions, below.
Vegetable Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Makes 8 rolls
For the Spicy Peanut Sauce:
2 tablespoons creamy organic or natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar