Serving summer rolls DIY-style means that everybody gets to roll their own at the table, which not only reduces the prep time for the chef but also means that individual likes and dislikes can be accommodated with zero fuss. Plus I think it’s just more fun this way…
For the rolls:
1/2 packet of rice wrappers
2 red peppers
1 gem lettuce
large bunch of fresh coriander and/or basil and/or mint
2 spring onions
1 block firm tofu, pressed (optional)
For the peanut dipping sauce:
3 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 clove of garlic, crushed
the juice of one lime
a squeeze of agave syrup
Low-salt soy sauce
Sweet chilli sauce
1. Separate the lettuce leaves, wash them thoroughly and spin them dry in a salad spinner.
2. Julienne the peppers, carrots, cucumber, spring onions, and tofu (i.e cut them into matchsticks).
3. Arrange the lettuce, vegetables, tofu and fresh herbs on a large platter.
4. To make the peanut dipping sauce just combine all the ingredients until you have a smooth paste – you can do this by hand or in a small food processor for a smoother sauce. You can adjust the consistency if necessary by adding a little water or extra lime juice.
5. To serve, set the table with the platter of raw veg in the middle where everyone can reach it. Fill some large shallow bowls with hand-hot water, allowing one bowl between two. Set out the dipping sauces in small bowls. When you’re ready to eat, soak a rice wrapper in the warm water until it is soft and pliable; transfer the wet wrap to your plate and put the next one in to soak. Arrange your fillings on top of your rice wrapper – then roll it all up, dip and eat! Repeat until everyone is full…
Tips: putting a lettuce leaf on top of your rice paper and your other fillings on top of the lettuce leaf helps to prevent the rice paper from splitting. Use plenty of herbs for maximum flavour, and try putting some of the nutty dipping sauce inside the roll – but try to resist the temptation to over fill your wrapper or it will be more difficult to roll it up neatly.
Not sure how to roll? If you feel you need a tutorial, have a look at this one, but to be honest it’s really not that hard – just fold your circle in at the edges and roll it up.. and there are so many rice wrappers in a pack that it really doesn’t matter if one goes a bit wrong, you’ll soon get the hang of it!
To reduce salt intake, I dilute the soy sauce with a little water when I put it in the dipping bowls (do this out of sight and nobody will be any the wiser).