Summer Rolls are the absolute bomb diggity. TRUST ME! These puppies are guilt free and delicious! This is what you'll need to make them at home. You can thank me later!
Here is the number one rule: If you can put it in a salad you can put it in a summer roll. Just be mindful of how delicate the rice paper is. Arugula?...great choice! Broccoli?..not so much! Here I have thin slices of cucumber, chives, mint, unnamed herb my mom grows in her backyard, cilanto and red leaf lettuce. Make sure any vegetables that need to be sliced and diced are also done in a way that makes them easy to stack and role.
Next is the protein. You can go with sauteed beef, baked chicken, braised pork belly, pekn duck. Pretty much anything that floats your boat goes. Here I've chosen the least time consuming option and the most economical.
I chose a pork shoulder which I trimmed and boiled. After removing the pork shoulder, I now have stock which I will freeze and turn into congee at a later time. I also threw the shrimp in the same pot to layer the flavours of the stock. Feel free to also add any of the veggie trimmings to the stock while the pork cooks as well. The angel hair vermicelli is also a favourite addition of mine. It can be purchased in most Ethnic sections of the grocery store and cooks in about three minutes. After it comes out, I like to drizzle a bit of garlic oil on top.
Most restaurants will serve you the typical "Thai Chilli Sauce" in a bottle as the dip to the rolls and occasionally you will get the Vietnamese restaurants who offer a thick and bland peanut sauce. No. Nuh Uh. That's not how I roll and that is not how we do it in Cambodian homes. The direct translation of what we offer would be a "Sweet Fish Sauce".
You will need garlic cloves, thai chilli peppers, hoisin sauce, fish sauce (buy the one with a squid picture or crab) water, lime juice (which I forgot to take a picture of) simple syrup or just plain white sugar. My apologies for not having a proper recipe, we already had a bottle already whipped up in the fridge.
Think of it like a salad dressing recipe. Water is the oil and the fish sauce is vinegar. You'll need more water than vinegar and about a 4:1 ratio for garlic & peppers. Bruinoise the garlic & peppers till they're like confetti and add it to the fish sauce and water mixture. Lime juice, sugar and hoisin sauce is all to taste. I like mine sweet and sour so I have a heavy hand with the sugar and lime and not so much with the hoisin. Keep in mind the hoisin is also pretty high in sugar.
When you're ready to roll, you'll need Rice paper, a bowl of hot water and a flat plate built like a collander. Rice papers are readily available now in most grocery stores and the flat plate can be purchased at Tap Phong Trading Campany in Toronto (360 Spadina Ave) or you can use a regular plate or check your local China Town. The specialty plate is mainly for convenience, to quickly dry the rice paper so you can start rolling.
Now is the fun part! Dip the rice paper in the water coating all the sides once. Lay it on your plate and let the water soak up then add your toppings (making sure to stay on one side of the roll)
In my house we like to sit around a table and everyone rolls their own. You can pick and choose whichever toppings you like till you find the winning combination! I can go through about 3-5 rolls in one sitting!
Once you're done, roll it up tightly like a cigar and enjoy!