Summer rolls

IMG_2914These almost didn’t get made, and if I hadn’t made myself so hungry for them I would have probably just bowed to adversity and quit trying.  I had planned them for the Day the Refrigerator Died, and I had to freeze the perishable ingredients in the chest freezer or lose them completely.  Then after the new refrigerator was in and chilled, I still had to get myself in gear and defrost the pork tenderloin and the fake crab, and then I had to do the preliminary prep work.  So it was just sheer determination (and gluttony) that got these made today.

I love these fresh rolls in restaurants, whether of the Thai or Vietnamese variety.  They are easy enough to make, but they do take some prior planning and quite a bit of chopping.  They are SO good though.

Before you can make the rolls, some advance work is necessary.  I love stir-fried pork tenderloin in mine, so first you need to slice the raw meat into small matchsticks…IMG_2886

and then you marinate it for about 24 hours in a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil.  Just eyeball the amounts.IMG_2888Then just cook up a handful of rice noodles and let them drain and cool.  Stir fry the meat.IMG_2916Chop up the rest of the ingredients, and you are ready to roll.  (ha)  labeledingredientsThese are the ingredients I like to use in my summer rolls.  I use the fake crab (Krab) and of course the real thing would be better, but I had to buy a new refrigerator and couldn’t afford it.  Also nice are shredded carrots (which apparently did not survive the Dead Refrigerator Purge, because I couldn’t find them) and red leaf lettuce, which I forgot to buy.  But these ingredients made delicious rolls.IMG_2900These rice paper sheets are the basis for the rolls.  This is the brand I used this time, but I have used other brands and I really don’t see any difference between them.  In order to use them, you have to soften them in hot water.  Just submerge the sheet of rice paper for somewhere around 5 seconds or so, depending on how hot your water is, take it out, and lay it on the counter.  Here is a photo of a sheet just going into the water.  And yes, I have the original Corningware pattern.  I’m old.IMG_2903Lay the softened rice paper on your work surface, and add a little bit of each ingredient.  Don’t go crazy adding things–a small amount of each is best–because your summer rolls  will burst at the seams.  Believe me when I tell you this; it may have happened to me on occasion.

put the ingredients at the bottom of the wrapper

put the ingredients at the bottom of the wrapper

start rolling from the bottom

start rolling from the bottom

tuck in the sides, and finish rolling

tuck in the sides, and finish rolling

The damp rice paper will stick to itself and seal beautifully.

After that, you just need to make your dipping sauce, and your delicious summer rolls are ready to enjoy.  The recipe for Nuoc Cham is below, but I also like purchased peanut sauce or hoisin sauce for these.  Here is the recipe for the dipping sauce:

Nuoc Cham
2 cloves garlic
2 fresh hot peppers
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3-1/2 cup water

In a mortar, pound the garlic, chile pepper and sugar into a paste.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and add fish sauce, lime juice and water; stir to blend.  Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes until ready to serve.  Strain. IMG_2913

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