Homemade Vietnamese summer rolls
I have a new found respect for asian food after trying my hand at both Japanese California rolls and Vietnamese summers rolls this week. Getting sticky food to look nice is really hard! You can't just focus on the content and the flavour, you have to know how to handle the ingredients so that they are the right texture to actually create the dish as well as understand what goes where to get the presentation right. Left and right side of the brain working over time! Well worth the effort though as these crispy tofu summers rolls are really refreshing on a warm summer day like today and the raw vegetables makes this a great nutrient dense plant based dish that will help your skin glow!
Rolls and Filling:
Rice paper sheets (I chose Amazin Organic Gluten free and Vegan ones)
Vermicelli noddles (I used Mama instant whole grain noodles)
1 x Cucumber
1 x Red pepper
2 x Carrot
Lettuce (I picked some of mums homegrown lollo rossa but Iceberg has a good crunch)
Firm Tofu (I went for The Tofoo Co. organic stuff)
3 tbs Almond Butter (Can use regular peanut or cashew)
3 tbs dark soy sauce
Drizzle of sesame oil
1 tbs maple syrup
1 finely chopped fresh chilli
1/2 lime juice
Hot water to thin as preferred
Crispy Tofu sauce:
3 tbs Corn Flour
2 tbs soy sauce
Start by cooking the noodles as per the instructions on the pack. I used whole grain vermicelli. Once cooked I ran cold water over them, drained and set aside.
Next, prep the veggies. Julienne the carrots, cucumber and red peppers (or whatever you like to include). Wash the the lettuce, mint and basil - I had the privilege of picking these fresh from my mums green house - and separate the leaves.
To make the dipping sauce just place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. It will be thick so add a little hot water to reduce to whatever consistence of sauce you like.
Cut the tofu into long rectangles, dry with kitchen towel and then dust in corn flour and a little pink Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper. Add a decent amount of sesame oil to a pan and fry the tofu until crispy. Add some dipping sauce to a bowl, add a few generous swigs of soy sauce and then pour a little over the tofu and fry again. Take off the heat and place in a bowl.
Organise all the ingredients around a large wet chopping board so you can add the fillings quickly and have a clean wet tea towel ready to place over the rolls as you make them
Get a shallow dish big enough to place the hard rice paper in and fill with very warm water (not so hot that you can't put your hand in though!). Place the rice paper in and hold under the water until it softens. Lay gently onto the wet chopping board. This part just takes practice to get the sheets soft enough to roll but not so soft they disintegrate. Two of my first attempts ended up on the compost. Then organise the veg, herbs, noodles and tofu filling as you like and roll once, tuck in the ends and then continue to roll. Place them onto a serving plate and pop over the wet tea towel.
As you can see, mine turned out looking very much 'homemade'. Different sizes, lengths and design. As with the California rolls, getting these to look the part will take some practice! Enjoy!