Folding the Rice Wrapper to create the Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Vietnamese Salmon Summer Rolls

Not to be confused with the usual fried Chinese spring rolls, these healthy, protein-packed Vietnamese summer rolls are a cool summertime favorite! Although best enjoyed immediately after making the Vietnamese summer rolls, the ingredients can be prepped and refrigerated for several days, and rolls made just in time for an appetizer or main course.

Summer Roll Ingredients

2 oz rice vermicelli (sold in package)
1 rice wrappers (sold as spring roll wrappers made from rice pancakes)
2 lbs fresh salmon (feel free to substitute fresh ahi tuna or jumbo-size shrimp)
Several lettuce leaves, chopped
2-3 whole carrots, peeled and julienne cut
1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and julienne cut
2-3 scallion stalks, chopped
Thai basil leaves, as needed
Peppermint leaves, as needed
Cilantro leaves, as needed

Ingredients for Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Ingredients for Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Preparing the Ingredients

Bake or cook the fresh salmon. I prefer to prepare the salmon on the gas barbecue on aluminum foil to prevent burning. Once cool, salmon should be gently flaked into smaller pieces using a fork. Set aside in refrigerator.

As an alternative to salmon, substitute fresh ahi or yellowfin tuna, jumbo-size shrimp (cleaned, deveined, cooked). I will only use farm-raised or sustainably fished / harvested fish and seafood.

Cooking fresh salmon on barbecue for Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Cooking fresh salmon on barbecue for Vietnamese Summer Rolls

While the salmon is cooking, bring water to boil in small pot and cook rice vermicelli for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Rinse with cold water in a colander, and drain. Set aside vermicelli and let cool.

Cooking rice vermicelli for Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Cooking rice vermicelli for Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Prepare the carrot “matchsticks”. Peel and julienne cut the carrots to yield about 3 sticks per roll. Similarly prepare the cucumber “matchsticks”, do not forget to remove the seeds. Chop the scallion stalks into small pieces. Wash, dry, and chop the lettuce leaves into pieces no larger than 1-2 inches.

Separate the basil, peppermint and cilantro from their stalks. Wash and gently pat dry with paper towel.

Set aside and refrigerate all fresh ingredients until ready to assemble the Vietnamese summer rolls.

Fresh ingredients for Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Fresh ingredients for Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Dipping Sauce Ingredients

4 tsp fish sauce
4 tsp low-sodium Tamari sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp white sugar
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp peanut butter
1/4 cup water

Preparing the Dipping Sauces

Prepare two different dipping sauces in separate, small mixing bowls. For the first dipping sauce, combine the fish sauce, Tamari sauce, minced garlic, sugar, half of the lime juice, and half of the water, and mix well with a whisk. For the second sauce, combine the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, remaining lime juice and water, and mix well. Set aside. When ready to serve, pour the sauces into small dipping bowls.

Assembling the Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one rice wrapper into the warm water for 1-2 seconds, holding each side of the wrapper so it doesn’t fold over. Carefully remove from water, and lay wrapper flat on a clean, dry and non-stick surface (I use a glass cutting board, do not use a wooden or porous board). In a row across the center of the wrapper, place 2-3 tbsp flaked salmon, small handful vermicelli, carrot and cucumber sticks, scallion, and a couple leaves of basil, peppermint, and cilantro. Cover with a few pieces of lettuce. Leave about 2 inches on either side, and about an inch on the ends.

To finish the roll, fold the uncovered ends inward. Next, lift one of the uncovered sides over the top of the ingredients, gently pulling but being careful not to tear the wrapper. Finally, grab the remaining uncovered side of the wrapper, and again gently pull across the ingredients and overlap with the opposite side of the wrapper. The sticky wrapper should overlap and seal with the opposite side and the folded ends.

Assembling Vietnamese Summer Rolls on rice wrappers
Assembling Vietnamese Summer Rolls on rice wrappers
Folding the rice wrapper to create the Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Folding the rice wrapper to create the Vietnamese Summer Rolls

To serve, turn the Vietnamese summer rolls upside down on a plate so that the ingredients show through the wrapper skin (lettuce will be on bottom). Serve with hoisin and fish sauce dipping sauces.

Suggested Wine Pairings

Pair with a glass of chilled, dry and crisp rose wine (The Withers 2018 El Dorado Rose, California, about $22) or dry, medium-body organic white wine (Albet i Noya 2017 Curious Xarel-lo, Spain, about $20). Enjoy!

Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Vietnamese Summer Rolls

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