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Vegetarian summer rolls with almond sauce

July 12, 2012

Summertime is here, and what better to eat than the aptly-named Vietnamese summer roll? Also called spring rolls on the Mainland, the rolls can be filled with a variety of veggies and protein options, which are dipped into a sour or peanut sauce. Since my main entree is usually a huge chunk of meat, I elected to make some vegetarian ones.

The three sisters brand is pretty well-known and popular for rice-based wraps. A dip in some warm water for a few seconds is enough to make them limp and fold-able, in an otherwise hard and brittle sheet of paper.

I also made my peanut sauce out of almonds, simply because I only had almonds on hand. I don’t like buying nut butters in stores, so I just made my own along the way with the amount of nuts I already had.

I filled my wraps with jicama, cucumber, carrots, and basil. Typical fillings are usually pork, shrimp, rice noodle, bean sprouts, basil, and mint, though I sometimes see lettuce thrown into the mix as well. Basically any clean, bland flavors of vegetables and boiled meat would be appropriate as the filling, and the sauce helps bind the entire dish together to make the flavors pop.

Ingredients
1 cup almonds
1 Tbsp temari soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
3 Tbsp ginger

16 sheets of rice paper
1 medium carrot
1 medium cucumber
1 small jicama
1 cup basil

Directions
(1) Add almonds to a blender or food processor and blend for about 3 minutes, until the pieces are very small, like almond meal. Add soy sauce, lime juice and ginger, and blend until sauce is completely liquid and chunky.
(2) Julienne the carrot, cucumber, and jicama into 4″ by 1/4″ matchsticks.
(3) Set up a large plate and add some warm water. Dip one rice paper into the water for about 5 seconds, and transfer to another plate. Rice paper should still be a little solid, but it will get limp very fast.
(4) Add several basil leaves, and lay several pieces each of carrot, cucumber, and jicama on top of the rice paper. Roll the rice paper around the vegetables until halfway. Fold over each of the sides, and then roll all the way, allowing the rice paper to adhere to itself.
(5) Continue until all vegetables are gone.
(6) Proportion of sauce is for a few small dips just for flavor. For people who love a really strong sauce taste, double the sauce recipe.

Enjoy!

Dai Dai

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