Summer Rolls, and You Can Too (with video)

Gentle readers, today’s video features a very special guest, The Practical Cook Junior. In an effort to prove that you can both cook and convince the junior members on your team to cook and eat, too, TPC Junior kindly agreed to demonstrate the proper summer roll making technique. It is very hot this week, and you’re probably noticing a theme.

Not only is the fridge laden with veggies, I’m not in the mood for a hot soup. The full dinner menu was stir-fry and rolls, the rolls added because all of the veggies I wanted to use wouldn’t fit in the pan. Summer rolls are a great way to use up a bit of this and that, and to leave a bit of this and that for other uses.

Summer Rolls Recipe

The only special ingredient you’ll need are the wrappers, which are sold dry, in the Asian section of your supermarket. I would recommend buying the smaller size, if you have a choice. You’ll see why. Roll the instructional video:

3 to 4 spring rolls skins (yeah, and it feels like skin, too)
a few ounces small noodles, cooked (traditionally vermicelli or cellophane noodles, but I used Somen noodles, which I had on hand, and they were fine, angel hair pasta would work, too)
1/4 block of extra-firm tofu, cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks (if available!)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
a few lettuce leaves
a few sprigs of cilantro, tough stem ends removed
peanut sauce for dipping (I used commercial, still in the test kitchens perfecting a recipe, please send one if you have one you love)

Tofu Matchsticks

Tofu Matchsticks

1. Soak the skin, one at a time, in a shallow container of cool water.

Cooked Noodles

Cooked Noodles

2. When the skin is pliable, remove to a plate or other work surface and add fillings, being careful to not overfill. Don’t add more than you would see in an egg roll. This is NOT a burrito, people.

Cilantro, Lettuce, Carrots in Matchstick Form

Cilantro, Lettuce, Carrots in Matchstick Form

3. Fold the ends up, then tuck the skin around the filling, and roll. Slice into sections, eat.

Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

And these things are expensive to buy out, but they are really that easy. You can shove any variety of crunchy and soft items in there. Everything tastes good with peanut sauce. Except shrimp, which would kill me. Feel free to add some if they won’t kill you.

Perfect side item for stir-fry or any Asian-themed dish you’ve got planned. Have you ever made summer rolls? What do you like in them?

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Up next, Kitchen Tool Talk!

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6 Comments

Filed under Punt!, Recipes

6 responses to “Summer Rolls, and You Can Too (with video)

  1. I have a bunch of veggies and some things some Japanese visitors left for me that I am not familiar with (tofu noodles and pickled radish), so this sounds perfect!

    • The Practical Cook

      Pickled radish sounds awesome! Can’t wait to hear how it turns out.

      • Marianne

        I ended up using Szechuan pickle flavor sweet potato threads, which are kind of hot and sour, with cucumber, carrot, green onion and mint leaves. Yum! I love this idea for summer – portable salad!

      • The Practical Cook

        That sounds awesome! I love your phrase, portable salad. You’ve inspired me to go back in the test kitchen and try some new combos with that in mind!

  2. Looks delicious! I just ordered summer rolls for the first time this season last week. I always find them bland, although I love them, so I’m excited to see a recipe that can be played with. Do you have any other suggestions for ways to add some “kick” to the roll pre-peanut-sauce?

    • The Practical Cook

      Great question! The cilantro helps quite a bit, try parsley for the cilantro-haters. If you go with a protein option, you could spice the shrimp, add a bit of leftover bbq (pork or chicken). Following on the previous comment with pickled radish, something with vinegar would be good, too, even pickled jalepenos for serious heat. On the milder front, roasted red peppers would be good.

      I would also say don’t skip the carrots, and use a cucumber if you can find a good one. They add depth.

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