The reason this title sounds a bit ‘head-on-the-cloud-kind-of-title’ is because of my motto of eating summer rolls no matter if I’m happy or sad. If I’m feeling happy I will boil a piece of pork belly to make summer rolls, if I’m sad I will…boil a bigger pieace of pork belly to make summer rolls When I was in university, I always had lunch at an Asian restaurant nearby since they have a pretty cheap set menu, and I always chose summer rolls as my entrée. The main source of protein in those rolls were the one shrimp sliced in half, the rest was only vegetables and rice vermicelli, but I ordered them every lunch nonetheless.
When I moved out, my weekly shopping bag always consist of a piece of pork belly for summer rolls. This dish is pretty popular with both my French and Vietnamese guests, and it works well both as an entrée or as a main course. Summer rolls can be served with simple chilli and garlic dipping sauce (recipe here), in this post I will introduce a peanut diping sauce and sweet & sour dipping sauce, both of which go very well with summer rolls.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Buồn vui món gỏi cuốn & nước chấm
A. Summer rolls
There are two main parts to a summer roll: meat and vegetables. There is a variety of fresh vegetables that can go into a summer rolls: batavia lettuces, mint, Vietnamese balm, etc. However some of those herbs are difficult to find here, and they’re expensive as well, so I usually simplify the vegetables part, and my summer rolls would consist of these following ingredients:
- Batavia lettuces
- Thinly sliced carrot strips
- Rice vermicelli
- Boild and sliced pork belly
You can add more ingredients if you want, such as sliced omelette, cucumber, replace pork belly with pork hind leg or stir fried beef, etc, really, the sky is the limit
Boil the pork: Put the pork belly in a saucepan and add water to completely cover it, heat on high heat until the water boils, reduce to low heat and simmer, test if the meat is done by inserting a chopstick into the meat, if there is no pink liquid coming out then it’s cooked.
Quickly dip the rice paper in water for 5 seconds, let it sit on a plate and arrange your ingredients, then just roll like you would a spring roll. The shrimps should be arranged at the end of the rice paper so that when you finish rolling, it will show on the roll and looks that much more appetizing. I find that the rice paper with the name My Tho and the logo of 3 bamboos like in this photo works best for summer rolls.
B. Peanut dipping sauce
- 200ml coconut milk
- 6 tablespoon peanut butter (recipe here)
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, heat on medium high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar and peanut butter are melted. Taste and adjust to your liking. This dipping sauce goes very well with a bbq as well.
C. Sweet & Sour dipping sauce (adapted from Sorted Food)
- 100ml water
- 45g honey
- 45g ketchup
- 45g tamarind sauce
- ½ tbsp rice vinegar
Add water, honey, ketchup, ketchup, and tamarind sauce into a small saucepan, heat on high heat until the mixture boils, and then reduce to low heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly, remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. The mixture will thicken more when cooled down so don’t thicken it too much on the heat.
This dish will surely be a hit for a weekend gathering