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Beautiful summer rolls

Last week, I was staring at a beautifully sunny, if sweaty, London - blue skies and temperatures that most Brits would associate with their two weeks' holiday on the Med. Naturally, the summer was crying out for food to match - something light and delicate and fresh to the taste.

Summer rolls sprang to mind - a bit of tofu, some raw veg and herbs, and you're done.

Happily, it also takes a few minutes to prepare and a few more to compile, giving you more time to spend drinking wine outdoors.

So, having bought all the ingredients necessary for these Vietnamese rice paper rolls, the weather promptly raised two fingers at me and proceeded to send rain down like stair rods, smashing my early efforts at growing Swiss chard and putting the mockers on all thoughts of sun bathing.

Still, if you fancy recreating summer indoors, you could do worse than whipping up a batch of these.

Summer rolls


One or two ribs of celery (depends how much you like celery, really)
One carrot
One block of smoked tofu
A handful of peanuts
A 5cm length of cucumber
Big handful of chopped mint
Big handful of chopped fresh coriander
Zest of half a lime
A tablespoon of soy sauce
A dessertspoon of sesame oil
One bunch of rice noodles (I'm thinking Sharwoods here, which handily divides its packets of rice noodles into bundles)
A packet of rice paper pancakes

How you do it

Cut the celery, cucumber, carrot and tofu into matchsticks and mix.
Add the peanuts, coriander, mint, lime zest, soy sauce and sesame oil, and mix together.
Break the noodles into thirds, prepare according to pack instructions and stir into the rest of the mixture.
You should now have one big bowl of goodness and a pack of rice paper pancakes.
Get a baking sheet, and fill it with water, and get yourself two plates.
Put one rice paper pancake into the water, and leave for 30 seconds, or until it's pliable.
Pick it up, and let the water drain from it. Put it on one of the plates, and dab dry with a clean tea towel.
Put a spoonful or two into the centre of the pancake, about two thirds of the way down (the side of the pancake furthest away from you should have the two thirds of blank pancake).
Flip the bottom of the pancake up, so it partially covers the filling.
Bring in both sides of the pancake so more of the filling is covered.
Then roll the pancake up as tightly as you can without breaking it.
Put the completed summer roll on the other plate, and cover with a lightly damp clean tea towel til you're done.
Keep making the summer rolls til all your mixture is used up.

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