There are spring rolls and there are summer rolls. There are egg rolls and there are vegetarian egg rolls. There are fresh spring rolls and there are deep-fried spring rolls. Confused? Does anyone know the difference? (Insert me in a desk with my hand waving in the air while I am bouncing in my seat. Yes, I was that kid.)
Why, yes, I do know the difference. And knowing is half the battle. What’s the other half, Katie? Um…well, that I don’t know; GI Joe never told us.
Summer roll: Vietnamese appetizer or snack that is always served with a dipping sauce, at room temperature, with fresh uncooked vegetables and meat and/or rice noodles wrapped in rice paper.
Spring roll: Can be fresh or deep-fried (depending on the country of origin), but the contents are always cooked (if fresh, the veggies are steamed or stir-fried before wrapping).
So basically, if the innards contain raw veggies, call it a summer roll, if they are cooked or the whole thing is deep-fried, call it a spring roll.
I used to make these summer rolls all the time last year, and I don’t know why I ever stopped. I really wanted to make them again after seeing them on Heather’s blog last week, but I’ve been suffering through a self-imposed grocery store ban in order to clear the shelves before my vacations. Luckily I sent her my recipe, and she did the dirty work for me.
Since I don’t have the ingredients to make them myself, I just stole her photos and am passing them off as my own I asked her if I could use her photos when I post the recipe that her readers are demanding of me kindly requesting that I share.
Although it looks long and intimidating, it really isn’t. And now, what you have all been waiting for: the recipe.
The dipping sauce:
- 1 T peanut butter
- 2 T rice vinegar
- 2 t soy sauce
- 2 t sugar
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper
- 1/2 T rice vinegar
- 1/2 t sugar
- 1 t fish sauce
- 2 T lime juice, about 1/2 1 lime
- 1 cup jicama, julienned
- 2 small carrots, julienned
- 1 med red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 med zucchini, julienned
- 1 med green onion, chopped
- 4 T mint leaves
- 2 T cilantro leaves
- 8 sheets rice paper
1. Whisk together the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.
2. Whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice in a large bowl. Add the vegetables and the scallion, and toss to coat.
3. Fill a round cake pan halfway with hot water. For each wrapper, immerse it in the hot water bath until it softens, which takes about 30 seconds. Move it to the counter, and fill it with about 1/8 of the veggie mixture. Add a few sprigs of cilantro and 2-3 mint leaves. If you are feeling fancy, add the mint and cilantro so that they show up on the outside. You’ll look classy…until you start to eat them and the dipping sauce drools down your chin.
4. To roll, fold the edge of the wrapper farthest from you over the filling, then fold in the edges towards the center and continue rolling the filled wrapper towards you until it’s closed and snug. Kind of like how the pros do it at Chipotle.
5. To serve, slice in half with a sharp knife and serve the peanut sauce on the side. Or do like Heather, and buy some peanut sauce; I concur with her about the fabulousity of The Ginger People’s sauce.
The rolls last about a day in the fridge, but the paper does get a little soggy. That probably won’t be a problem, though, because I doubt you’ll have any leftovers.
Have you ever made spring/summer rolls? Did you know the difference?
Note to gluten free-ers: After Averie mentioned she can’t find real rice paper without gluten in it, I checked my wrappers, and sure enough – gluten flour was the first ingredient. The package was actually labelled “spring roll wrappers”, not rice paper. Damn. So begins my hunt for real rice paper wrappers.