Shrimp and Vegetable Summer Rolls

Roll with it

Originally appeared in the August 26 edition of the Southside Times.

Fresh, light, crisp, cool—those are the first words that spring to mind when I think of summer rolls.  Many people are familiar with spring rolls:  the diminutive, eggroll-like appetizers filled with savory mixtures.  But summer rolls are different.  Read more after the jump: (more…)

Peanut Dipping Sauce

Yield:  1 ¾ cups

  • ½ cup (4 fl oz) water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup (5 oz) smooth or chunky peanut butter
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz) fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl oz) soy sauce
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz) sesame oil
  • 2-3 tabelspoons sugar
  • ½ -1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon hot chili oil
  • ¼ cup (1/3 oz) chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup (3/4 oz) chopped green onion

1.  In a saucepan, combine water and cornstarch and stir until cornstarch has dissolved.  Add peanut butter, lime juice, soy, sesame oil, sugar, pepper flakes, and chili oil; whisk until smooth.

2.  Bring to a boil, whisking as you do.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly (about 3 minutes).

3.  Remove from heat a cool.  Stir in the cilantro and green onion.  Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 6:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Chá Giò), Version #2

Servings:  approximately 32, medium-sized rolls

  • 32, 9-inch spring roll wrappers (rice paper sheets)
  • As needed, oil for cooking

Filling

  • 2 ounces cellophane noodles
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, chopped
  • 4 ounces raw pork, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce mung bean sprouts
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Vietnamese chile sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cold water

1.  Soak cellophane noodles in boiling water for five minutes.  Drain and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces.

2.  Heat oil in a wok or wide-bottomed sauté pan.  Cook garlic for a few seconds.  Add shrimp and pork.  Continue to cook through, breaking up any large lumps.  Add carrots, green onion, bean sprouts, fish sauce, chile sauce, and drained noodles.  Cook for several minutes (until carrots are soft).  Remove from heat and allow filling to cool completely.

3.  Mix cornstarch and water together in a small bowl.  Reserve.

4.  In batches, soak spring roll wrappers in warm water—or a solution of water and rice wine vinegar—until sheets are soft and pliable.  Lay flat, dabbing with towel to soak up excess moisture.  Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in a cigar shape in the center of the wrapper.  Fold sides over filling, and begin to roll from the bottom up.  Brush top rim with water-and-cornstarch mixture to seal the edge.

5.  In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat frying oil to 350°F.  In batches, and using the swimming method, deep-fry until golden brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towel.

6.  Serve with nuoc cham or peanut dipping sauce.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 6:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thai Melon Salsa

Yields 1 Pint

  • 1 pint assorted melons:  honeydew, cantaloupe, crenshaw
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ tablespoon Serrano chiles, minced
  • 1 fluid ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, roasted, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chiffonade

1.  Cut the melons into a small dice, or cut out in balls using a melon-baller or parisienne scoop.

2.  In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients; add in melon pieces.  Chill for several hours before serving.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 6:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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