7 Ways With Summer Rolls

Asian summer rolls are one of our favourite things. Here, seven chefs explain how to wrap the perfect roll, as well as the different flavour combinations to try…
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Saiphin Moore, Rosa’s Thai Café 

“First, cook your vermicelli for the filling according to the packet instructions. Once done, drain and leave to cool to room temperature. To make the rolls, fill a large shallow bowl with warm water. Take a sheet of rice paper and dip it into the water for 3-5 seconds, until translucent, then place it on a clean work surface. Make sure they don’t become too soft, otherwise you won’t be able to wrap them easily. Put a quarter of the lettuce in a mound in the centre of the paper, followed by a quarter of the carrot, herbs and vermicelli. To roll up, fold the side of the wrapper closest to you over the filling, ensuring it is tucked in neatly and tightly over the filling. Next, fold the right side of the wrapper toward the centre, pulling it taut across the filling and press down the edges of the wrapper to seal. Repeat with the left side. Now roll up the filling in the wrapper, pushing the roll away from you, to create a log-shaped parcel. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice, such as sweet chilli or peanut sauce.”

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Thuy Diem Pham, The Little Thai Kitchen

“This famous, deliciously healthy street-food dish is originally from Saigon; however, over the years, different regions have developed their own take on the ingredients. Definitely one of the beauties of this dish is that you are the creator of your summer rolls, so be as creative as you like. I like to fill mine with pork loin, raw king prawns, vermicelli noodles, shredded carrot, coriander, mint, Thai basil and garlic chives. Once made, you can store the rolls in an airtight container to keep them moist for up to two to three hours. Serve with a fish dipping sauce.” 

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Justine Murphy, MyMuyBueno

“Half fill a large frying pan with cold water. I like to use a frying pan as it’s the perfect size and depth, but a wide bowl would work too. Submerge the first rice paper sheet for 30 seconds or until softened, then place on a damp tea towel laid out on a clean work surface. Gently smooth out the first wrap into a circle. Be careful as once wet, they are very fragile and can break easily. Place a few mint and coriander leaves in a single layer in the centre of the sheet, leaving space on each side. Add two prawns, facing the same way, then a pile of sliced vegetables of your choice (I like beetroot, avocado, radishes and cucumber) and some mango to the lower half of the sheet. Fold in the sides and roll up to enclose the filling. Repeat the process for eight rolls, keeping your assembled rolls covered with a damp tea towel. These can be prepared an hour or two in advance, just keep them in the fridge with the damp tea towel and then cling film over the top so they don’t dry out. Serve alongside an almond butter dipping sauce.”

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Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell, The Squirrel Sisters

“We like to make vegetable rice rolls with a peanut butter soya sauce dip, garnished with black sesame seeds and fresh coriander. Finely slice ½ cucumber, 1 carrot, 1 red romano pepper, 1 avocado and 1 spring onion. Place a few pieces of each vegetable into a roll (prepped according to packet instructions) and then roll tightly. Serve alongside a dipping sauce made with a 1-inch cube of grated ginger, 1 tsp of crunchy peanut butter, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp of maple syrup and a squeeze of lime juice. Add all these into a little bowl and mix thoroughly until smooth. Dip your roll in the sauce and you’re done.”

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Carole Bamford, Daylesford

“Try to make these summer rolls on the day they’re going to be eaten – they only last for 6-8 hours before losing their freshness. If you are making them in advance, store the rolls in a sealed container covered with a damp cloth. We serve these with kimchi mayonnaise. To make this, place 80g of kimchi, 2 tbsp of kimchi brine, 1 clove of garlic, a squeeze of lemon and ½ tsp of honey in a blender and whizz until finely chopped but not completely pureed. Tip out into a small bowl and mix well with 175g of mayonnaise. Taste and add a little salt and pepper if needed. Chill until needed. To assemble the rolls, dip the rice paper wrappers into a bowl of hot water and soak for 10 seconds or until soft. Carefully lift onto a board or metal tray and lay flat. Pile shredded vegetable such as grated beetroot, baby gem hearts and carrot ribbons onto the bottom half of the wrapper, just below centre. Scatter over a little of the chopped chilli, ginger, mint and cashews followed by a small handful of the rice noodles and lastly a few coriander leaves. Loosely shape into an even cylinder with your fingers. Lift the bottom edge of the wrapper over the top of the filling, and tuck in tightly to hold the filling in place. Now place two or three flower petals along the length of the half-wrapped roll and continue rolling, tucking in the ends tightly as you go. Serve straight away, sliced in half so the vibrant colours are visible, along with the kimchi mayonnaise.” 

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Chris Riley, The Daring Kitchen

“Firstly, don’t overfill them. Overstuffed rolls are harder to roll, and you are more likely to tear the rice paper. It’s better to be safe than sorry and verge on the side of underfilling them if you’re not that experienced. Get a dipping sauce – summer rolls should be relatively dry inside so prepare a dipping sauce to fully enjoy them. Preparation is key: before you start rolling make sure all ingredients are cooked, cool and ready. Use lettuce to hold the fillings together. Wrap the shredded vegetable and noodles in a piece of lettuce to keep them in place and easy to roll. Finally, roll like a burrito. Start rolling up at one end, stop and fold in the sides and then continue upwards. This rolling style keeps everything in place and makes the rolls easy to pick up and eat.”

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Tracklements’ Development Chef, Tracklements

“Thai prawn spring rolls are simple to make and packed with flavour. Smouldering with a gentle heat from fistfuls of fresh, red chillies and bursting with aromatic herbs, these little rolls not only make a great finger food for al fresco cocktail parties, they’re also low in calories and fat, and are naturally gluten free. Heat 1 tsp of groundnut oil, chop 100g of fresh prawns and fry in until pink. Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce, stir for 1 min then set aside. Mix some fresh chilli jam and some crushed salted chopped peanuts in a bowl. Prepare your salad ingredients and place in individual bowls (this makes it easier to ‘build’ each wrap). Soak a rice wrapper in a large bowl of hot water (but not boiling as you’ll be dipping your fingers into it) for about 30-60 seconds until soft. Place on a clean chopping board.  Add another wrap to the hot water as you fill and roll the first one (and so on). Place a heaped tbsp of the salad mixture towards the bottom of the wrap, top with the peanut sauce and a tsp of the prawns and spread out horizontally. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the ingredients, then bring up the bottom tucking it around the ingredients then roll up into a pancake, secure the edge with a little water and press. Either eat fresh or shallow fry for a crispy treat”

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