Aptly named, Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls) are perfect for warmer months. They’re light, refreshing and great as an appetizer or light lunch. Traditionally, they are made with vermicelli noodles and a protein such as shrimp or pork. However, summer rolls are wonderfully adaptable, so you can tailor them to basically whatever you like. With this particular recipe, I used the avocado in place of shrimp, they have a similar shape when sliced and they’re hearty enough to act as a light protein. Likewise, when thinly julienned the cucumber acts like a noodle, making this dish lighter than if had been made with vermicelli.
Rice Paper Round Tips:
* The rice paper round will still be quite stiff when you pull them out of the water – the residual water on the rice paper round will continue to soften the wrapper.
** As you work on the rest of the rolls, be sure not to let the completed rolls touch – they could stick. If you store them for later consumption, I recommend wrapping them individually in plastic wrap. —Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom
To make the peanut sauce, add the peanuts, sesame seeds, garlic, and ginger to a food processor. Blend until smooth – this will take several minutes and you’ll actually hear when it’s done by the sound of the blade running unimpeded by the ingredients. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the soy sauce, hoisin, red curry, sugar, and sriracha. Simmer just until the sugar dissolves, do not let it boil. Add the contents of the saucepan to the food processor and blend until incorporated. Set the sauce aside and allow to cool.
Squeeze the lime juice over the avocados – this will not only add flavor, but prevent them from turning brown so quickly. Wash the cilantro and lettuce. Lay out all of the ingredients for your mise-en-place.
Fill a large bowl with warm water (from the faucet will do). Working with one at a time, fully submerge a rice paper round for a few seconds - the rice paper round will still be firm, but will continue to soften as you layer your ingredients. Lay the wrapper evenly on the work surface. Working quickly yet delicately, start at the bottom 1/3 of the wrapper, lay out the avocado slices slightly overlapping them. Continue to layer the rest of the veggies, ending with the lettuce (you want the ‘stiffer’ ingredients in the middle so they are less likely to puncture the delicate wrappers.) Be careful not to over stuff the rolls.
Begin rolling using your fingers to keep the ingredients together as you roll. Roll as tightly as you can without tearing the wrapper. After one full revolution fold the sides to close the ends of the wrapper (like a burrito.) Continue to roll until the wrapper is completely sealed. Roll the remaining wrappers in this fashion.