RECIPE: Summer Fresh Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Total time: 20 mins
Serving size: 8 rolls

This recipe is a recreation of some fresh rolls I enjoyed at a vegetarian restaurant called Hum in Vietnam. I’ve never seen traffic as hectic as it is in the streets of Ho Chi Min – clusters of motorbikes fill the streets in enormous numbers and a symphony of frantic honking echoes throughout the roads. In the midst of this energetic and bustling city, Hum was a peaceful retreat. The restaurant played calming music; picture something out of a hot yoga class, creating a gloriously relaxing atmosphere. Not only that, but the tiny patio had its own little botanical garden, equipped with a waterfall running along the path. Hum was truly a little oasis.

The fresh rolls I had at Hum months and months ago are something I still crave on a regular basis. Since returning home to Canada I’ve made them multiple times, tweaking a few ingredients to make them my own. They’re great as an appetizer or healthy snack, and they’re vegetarian. The sweet and refreshing mango in the rolls was a flavour I embraced enthusiastically in the painfully hot weather of Southeast Asia during summer, but it still adds something fresh and juicy even during long, Canadian winters. The tangy, spicy dipping sauce I pair with the fresh rolls gives them a little extra vivacity. The rice paper wrappers are delicate so be sure to be gentle with them while you dip them into the water – you want to keep them slightly firm so they don’t rip! Use only the freshest ingredients; try your local farmer’s market for the fruits and veggies. The fresher the sprouts and red peppers are, the more satisfying the crunch will be as you bite into the soft rice paper and indulge in the refreshing flavours.

For the Spicy Peanut Sauce:

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, minced

¾ cups of hot water

¼ cup natural peanut butter

½ lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Red chili pepper flakes to taste

 METHOD:

  1. Heat vegetable oil at medium heat in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add garlic and ginger to saucepan. Cook for 1 minute while stirring.
  3. Add hot water, peanut butter, and lemon juice to saucepan. Stir until smooth.
  4. Stir in chili sauce, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce to mixture.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes or until thickened. The mixture should be a similar consistency to natural peanut butter.
  6. Stir in red chili pepper flakes.

For the Fresh Rolls:

INGREDIENTS:

8 rice paper wrappers (approx. 6 inches)

3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 large carrots, julienned

1 large cucumber, julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 mango, julienned

¼ cup Sunflower sprouts

METHOD:

  1. Hydrate rice paper wrappers in warm water to soften. The easiest way to do this is to fill a large pan with hot water. Carefully submerge the entire rice paper wrapper under the water for 2-3 seconds, then gently remove it and place the softened rice paper wrapper on a dry, flat surface such as a cutting board.
  2. Place remaining ingredients carefully in a line, being careful not to over-stuff the roll.
  3. Roll up everything tightly (just like a burrito!). Be gentle so you don’t rip the rice paper wrapper.
  4. Dip in Spicy Peanut Sauce and enjoy!

 

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