Monday, April 13, 2015

Summer Rolls

If we've managed to stick to our schedule, currently, my sister and I are in the Apulia region of Italy. I'm praying we've managed to stick to our schedule.

Anyway, in the spirit of the approaching warm weather, I decided to make summer rolls, which are sometimes known as spring rolls. I shared a summer roll recipe more than three years ago, which is still a good recipe, but it was time for an update and a makeover.

Summer rolls are an amazing warm weather food because it's jam-packed with vegetables so it's great for your summer body and it's bright and fresh and just super appropriate for the season.
Ingredients [yields approximately 20 rolls]:
protein & marinade
1½ lbs. protein (chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, tofu, seitan, whatever you like)
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon minced lemongrass
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup tamari
¼ cup oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

rolls
20 x 6" rice paper wrappers
bunch cilantro and/or basil
1 baby cucumber, sliced
½ bell pepper, sliced
1½ cups broccoli slaw
4 oz. bean threads
+ whatever vegetables you like (sprouts, avocado slices, zucchini, mushroom, scallion)

dipping sauce
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons tamari
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Start by marinating your protein of choice. I went with chicken thighs this time. Add Sriracha, lemongrass, sugar, garlic, tamari, oil, and rice wine vinegar to a bowl and stir to combine. Coat the chicken in the marinade and chill for 2 hours. You can certainly marinate the chicken overnight as well.
Heat a large skillet over high and sear the chicken until it's lovely and browned.
Remove the chicken from the pan and dice it up.
Return the diced chicken to the pan and pour in any marinade that's leftover in the bowl. Cook for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to really penetrate into the meat.
Okay, now let's talk about assembling the rolls.
Boil the bean threads according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to chill.
Dip the rice wrappers in warm water.
This is a little graphic I made when I first posted about summer rolls and I still love it. Here's how to assemble them:
Place the wrapper on a plate. Add the pepper and cucumber and herbs to the center of the wrapper. Pile on some broccoli slaw, noodles, and chicken. Tuck the bottom of the wrapper up, fold in the sides, and then roll over the top.

To make the dipping sauce, combine chili garlic sauce, tamari, and vinegar. Give it a quick stir and that's it!
The rolls are super fresh and bright and delicious. The chicken is crazy flavorful, especially with the lemongrass, and there are so many yummy textural elements. The noodles and rice paper wrapper are chewy, the cucumbers, peppers, and slaw are crunchy, and the chicken is tender. It's just perfect.
Since there were only two of us eating, I decided to make just twelve rolls (yeah, each of us got a generous portion of 6 rolls) and I mixed the leftovers into a big noodle bowl to save for lunch the next day. Super delicious and it's a pretty healthy dish, especially if you go big with the vegetables.
Here's the recipe page:

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