Fresh Thai Summer Rolls

The heat in Toronto has been deadly over the past couple weeks, and I couldn’t bear to turn the stove on and make my tiny AC-less apartment even half a degree hotter, so fresh summer rolls were the answers to my heatwave woes. I actually discovered this recipe in Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cook book (an all-time fave), but over the years I’ve gradually adapted it to suit my own taste preferences. The key to making this dish *extra* simple is storing away leftover grilled meat in the freezer, so that whenever you’re craving summer rolls all you need to do is unthaw the meat and you’re ready to go.

The real work in this recipe comes from the prep – finely slicing and spiralizing all of your ingredients takes time, but it’s so satisfying to see your colourful mise en place ready to go right before you start wrapping. Traditional rolls use Thai mint, but I can’t stand the flavour so instead I sub in lots of cilantro. You can add in any veggies you like – I alternate between what I have in the fridge, but grated carrots and chopped purple cabbage make great additions if you have them on hand. You can also use any protein you prefer: I usually stick to grilled chicken or pork, but shrimp or even firm tofu are great substitutions.

PRO TIP: The delicate rice paper breaks easily, but don’t fret! When mine break, I simply double wrap them in the rice paper (I actually quite like the squishy consistency of the double rice paper on my rolls, so it’s a win-win).

Fresh Thai summer rolls ready to be dipped in sweet chili sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 spring roll rice paper wrappers
  • 1 cucumber, spiralized
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 1 ounce cooked rice vermicelli
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Handful fresh cilantro (and/or mint, basil)
  • 3 chicken breasts or pork chops, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, for dipping
  • Hoisin Sauce, for dipping

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pour warm water into a flat 9-inch pan (a baking pan or flat bowl also work, whatever you have on hand). Dip the rice paper wrapper into the warm water for 10-15 seconds (it should be slightly softened but still quite rigid). Remove from warm water and place on a flat work surface (I typically use a large cutting board).
  2. Fill your rolls with cucumber, red pepper, chicken or pork, avocado, vermicelli, cilantro, and sprouts. Careful not to overstuff!
  3. Roll it up tightly – tuck the sides in and then gently pull up the bottom of the roll, as if you’re rolling a burrito. Roll it as tightly as possible without breaking the delicate paper (but if you do, just double roll it!)
  4. Serve with Hoisin sauce and Thai Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping.

*Rolls are best served fresh, but if you’re making them ahead of time, individually wrap them in plastic wrap before putting them in the fridge so they don’t stick together.

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