How to Roll Rice Papers and a Recipe for Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

I absolutely love this time of year, with the trees full of blossom and the wisteria out in flower. Not only does it look stunning, but it smells glorious too! Here in Bath, the weather is finally starting to warm up and we’ve actually managed a few meals in the garden this past week. Our dinners have definitely shifted to lighter dishes, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of our favourite summer-inspired recipes over the coming weeks.

Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Today’s post was inspired by the front cover of this month’s Vegan Life magazine, which featured these stunning summer rolls by Jessica in the Kitchen.

Vegan Life Issue 15

The rolls are a vegan twist on the classic Vietnamese Summer Roll. Instead of meat or prawns, the rolls are filled with a rainbow of fresh veggies, making them both visually beautiful and delicious.

My family loves summer rolls! We typically eat them as a light evening meal, enjoyed out in the garden, but they’re also great for buffets and picnics. We like to add strips of smoked or marinated tofu into the rolls for protein. When accompanied with a peanut dipping sauce, they’re surprisingly filling!

Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Have you ever tried making summer rolls before? I find that they fall into the category of ‘easy when you know how’. The first time I tried to make them, I got myself in a real tangle with the rice paper. I soaked it for too long then it folded in on itself and was beyond saving.

I was determined not to be defeated by a rice paper though, so I did some research and discovered that with a couple of easy steps, rolling summer rolls is a cinch. I found this 37 second YouTube tutorial especially helpful.

I’ve rolled countless rolls now, and my only failure was that initial one. My rolls aren’t very neat (neatness isn’t a forte of mine!) but the rolls work. They taste good. And most importantly, Lil’ L loves them. I’ll keep working on the neatness.

Learning from my past mistakes, I thought I’d put together a step-by-step guide on how to successfully roll rice papers. Even if it helps one person out, I’ll be more than delighted.

So firstly, we need some rice papers…

Rice PapersYou’ll find them widely available in oriental supermarkets. They’re either called rice papers or spring roll wrappers. I buy Vietnamese Banh Trang from Hai Na Oriental Supermarket in Union Street in Bath. You get about 45 papers (22cm / 8½ inches in diameter) in a pack for £1.89, which is great value.

Summer Roll filling

It’s important to prep all the ingredients before you start rolling (known as ‘mise-en-place’ if you happen to be French or a chef). I typically use a large carrot, small courgette (zucchini), sweet pointed romano pepper, some red cabbage and a romaine lettuce. For a protein kick, I add in strips of organic smoked or marinated tofu (I’m currently loving the Taifun brand).

Summer Rolls Mise en Place

Once everything is ready, prepare a bowl of warm water. It doesn’t matter what kind of container you use, as long as it’s big enough to fit your rice paper.

Want to know something funny? To take the shot below I ended up pressing the shutter with my nose!! How ridiculous is that? You only dip for a second so no time to set up the timer!

Making Summer Rolls

Anyway, back to the guide… Take a rice paper in both hands and dip half of it in the water. Quickly keep turning the paper in the water (like you’re turning a steering wheel) until the whole paper is wet. Shake off the excess water and lay the paper on a plastic chopping board or smooth work top (not wood as it sticks!) The paper is still quite firm when I remove it from the water but it continues to soften up as it absorbs the moisture. (I find that if you dip it for too long, it goes gloopy and impossible to control).

Making Summer Rolls

Arrange your veggies on one half of the rice paper, leaving a border either side. You want to make sure that there are no sharp edges poking out as the rice papers are delicate and easily tear.

Making Summer Rolls

Squash the filling together then start rolling. Gently pull the rice paper up and over the vegetables, tuck in the edges as you roll. Try to keep it as tight as you can (like you’re rolling a burrito). Here comes another nose shutter shot!

Making Summer Rolls

One thing that surprised me when I first made summer rolls is that they are sticky! I never saw this mentioned in recipes, so I googled it and, yes, they are meant to be sticky. Some people recommend wrapping each roll in cling film (plastic wrap) to stop them sticking together but I didn’t like the idea of the plastic waste (plus M was worried that he’d accidentally eat the cling film) so I found a way to get round the stickiness… roll them in toasted sesame seeds!

Making Summer Rolls

Not only do the rolls feel much nicer to hold when they’re covered in seeds, but the sesame coating actually boosts their nutritional profile too. Sesame seeds are nutritional powerhouses.

Once rolled and seeded, place the roll on a plate and repeat the process. I make eight rolls for four people, but if your rice papers are smaller than mine, you may want to roll more.

Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Just before serving, I cut the rolls in half. I give everyone their own little dipping bowl for the peanut sauce (so they can double dip to their heart’s content), then it’s time to tuck in!

Summer Roll Peanut Dipping Sauce

Summer Rolls

Happy rolling!

Sharon Signature 1

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14 Comments

Filed under Lunches & Light Dinners, Vegan magazines

14 Responses to How to Roll Rice Papers and a Recipe for Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

  1. What a great idea to roll your summer rolls in sesame seeds. That’s a genius way to avoid having them stick together, and they look so pretty!

  2. Lyn E.

    Thanks for such detailed instructions – they look delicious. And great idea about the seeds. All the color of the veg looks lovely.

    • Thanks Lyn! These summer rolls are perfect for the hot weather we’re having right now. It’s so lovely to see the blue skies and sun shining. Let’s hope it lasts! x

  3. catriona archer

    wow, looks scrummy!

  4. Summer rolls are one of my favourite foods EVER and these look gorgeous! They are definitely a little tricky at first…your guide is so helpful! Also…I’ve never seen anyone coat them in sesame seeds before- I think that’s brilliant!! I imagine it would be cool to do a mix of white and black sesame…but then again, they already look too pretty to eat 😉
    Koko recently posted..Korean BBQ TofuMy Profile

    • I LOVE the idea of black sesame seeds! It’ll make the summer rolls look so eye catching. Will definitely pick some up next time I’m at the oriental supermarket 🙂 x

  5. These look so good, plus the peanut dipping sauce sounds dreamy. I’ve never used rice paper before- will have to try sometime.
    Lauren (@poweredbypb) recently posted..Super Sporty SmoothieMy Profile

    • Yes, you’ll definitely have to give rice papers a go! Summer rolls are perfect for supper in this mini heat wave we’re having. Long may it continue! 🙂

  6. Markio

    Good Work! Really good instructions!

  7. I looked at this the other day on my phone – this recipe will be invaluable to me. I haven’t ever bought rice paper wraps before and didn’t know you had to dip them in water first. What a great tutorial! BTW I’ve been able to buy the magazine in Sainsbury’s recently – they must be stocking more copies.
    Vicky recently posted..SCD Ice Cream GF SCDMy Profile

    • So pleased to hear you’ve been able to buy Vegan Life in Sainsbury’s! For me, the magazine just keeps getting better and better. I especially love the interviews. I find them really inspiring x

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