Chinese food in the U.S. is all about fried spring rolls and wontons, but Fresh Summer Rolls are just as good in a ‘fresh’ way. A summer roll does not need many ingredients but it does need good fresh ingredients. There is really not much cooking here — you just need time to prepare and roll each one. I love to make these and use fresh herbs from the garden, basically, whatever is plentiful at the time like fresh mint or basil and cilantro, or all three for a flavor explosion in your mouth with each bite.
Fresh Summer Rolls are great for parties or for when you are just craving some healthy finger food and you can make them so many different ways. Of course, have plenty of dipping sauces around to add even more variety. Peanut sauce is always a must.
My pickled carrot recipe makes enough carrots for a lot of rolls and you can also use these carrots for other dishes such as my Shrimp Bánh mì Sandwiches. For this recipe, I have listed the ingredients but not amounts — it all just depends on how many rolls you want to make.
- 1 batch pickled carrots
- thin rice noodles
- cooked large shrimp, 4 per roll, or 2 cut in ½.
- red or green leaf lettuce
- english cucumber, cut into 3 inch sticks
- fresh bean sprouts
- fresh cilantro leaves
- fresh basil or mint leaves
- rice paper rounds
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the rice noodles. Boil for about 4 minutes. You want the noodles to be cooked, but still have a bite and not be over cooked and gummy. Drain and rinse well with cold water, drain again and set aside.
- Have all your ingredients ready and lined up. Start by making sure you have a large bowl with warm water and dunk the rice paper round into the water a few times. Set it on a cutting board or other work surface and start to assemble. The warm water will start to soften the paper so that by the time you have the filling all assembled, you can roll them easily.
- Place the shrimp in a vertical line down the middle of the round. Next top that with about a tablespoon or more of the pickled carrots, then a bit of the noodles. I then place a leaf or two of basil or mint, topped with a few bean spouts, cucumber, leaf of lettuce, and then the cilantro. Once you make one, you will figure out the right proportion to get a nice roll.
- Fold up the bottom, then bring in one side tightly. Next fold down the top and then gently form into a roll and roll everything over so that you fully enclose the filling. You can serve these whole like this or for large parties I like to cut them in half. Serve with peanut sauce and you will be in love with these delicious Fresh Summer Rolls.
- 2 carrots, shredded
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a saucepan, heat the vinegar and sugar over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over shredded carrots and season with salt. Set-aside until cool. This can be done in advance. Be sure to place in fridge.