I had an absolute blast hosting a Girls Night Cooking Class with Yolanda and Marissa! Teaching people some new recipes and sharing a few cooking tips is so much fun! Plus, we all get to eat some yummy food!!!
Yolanda and I planned a personalized three-course menu for the night based upon her food preferences and dietary needs. The menu was: Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce, Paleo Pad Thai and a Banana Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!
The Banana Carrot Cake recipe is actually on the blog but this one we made without pecans. After we got the Banana Carrot cake in the oven, it was time to start making the Vietnamese Summer Rolls.
Vietnamese Summer Rolls are kinda like a spring roll that is not fried. Instead of the egg roll wrapper, the skin of the roll is actually a rice paper sheet. The filling usually consists of a protein plus lots of raw vegetables and rice noodles. In restaurants, they often serve the rolls with some type of peanut sauce for extra deliciousness! The summer roll is super fresh and crunchy. It provides a great contrast to the creamy and spicy peanut sauce.
These Summer Rolls are the perfect appetizer. It is totally customizable for what you like and can be made slightly ahead of time, stored in the fridge, then served cold or at room temperature.
Making Summer Rolls can be a little tricky, so here’s a few tips make it a little easier:
- Have all your ingredients sliced, prepped and ready to be used: This takes a little time up front, but it will make it so much easier to make a dozen of these delicious rolls. Feel free to choose whatever filling ingredients you like. Some ideas for filling ingredients are lettuce, swiss chard, carrots, cucumber, mango, shrimp, chicken or pork. For a huge boost of flavor, add fresh basil leaves, or cilantro or both.
- Dip your rice paper sheet in warm water but don’t get it too wet so that it starts sticking to itself: Once the sheet is pliable, place it on a dampened cutting board then fill it with your fillings ingredients. Keeping your fingers and your cutting board damp will help stop the rice paper sheet from sticking.
- Don’t overfill the summer roll: It is very tempting to do this but the roll will be much easier to work with if it is not overstuffed. It may take a few tries to get the amount of filling right
- Roll it up tight like a burrito: The easiest way to roll up the summer roll is like a burrito. Make sure to keep the filling ingredients in place, by making sure the roll is super tight.
- Cover the summer rolls with a damp paper towel: If you’re prepping these ahead of time, covering the rolls with a damp towel will help prevent the rice paper from drying out.
The trickiest part about this recipe is rolling up the summer rolls. Here’s a step-by-step guide to rolling up the rolls:
- Dip the rice paper sheet in warm water, then once pliable, place on a cutting board.
- Place a lettuce leaf or swiss chard leaf in the middle of the rice paper sheet. Place your filling ingredients of choice on the lettuce leaf/swiss chard leaf.
- Fold in 2 opposite sides of the rice paper sheet to cover the filling.
- Take one of the unfolded sides and fold it over the filling.
- On the same side, start tightly rolling the rice paper sheet over the filling.
- Keep rolling till a log is formed. The rice paper sheet should stick to itself as you roll, keeping the roll closed.
Now for the peanut sauce! This is actually a version of an Indonesian Peanut Sauce. Two key ingredients are the kecap manis and the sambal oelek. Kecap manis is a sweet soy sauce. You can actually find it at some local grocery stores and online. It is usually made with soy sauce, a lot of sugar and garlic. So it tastes really good but a healthier alternative is to use equal parts of reduced sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos, and a liquid sweetener such as honey, maple syrup or agave. Sambal oelek is a spicy paste of chilies, vinegar and salt. It adds a kick of bold heat to the sauce. A little water is used to thin out the sauce to a dippable consistency. The ultimate peanut sauce is a perfect balance of creamy, salty, sweet, savory and spicy.
These Summer rolls were a big hit! They are so versatile and delicious, especially with some delicious peanut sauce.
And remember, if you’re in the Houston area and looking for a cooking class, let me know! I’d love to cook with you!