Who wants to cook in hot weather? Summer has now arrived in full force here on Vancouver Island and it looks like it’s here to stay for a while. When I discovered that Alyssa from Everyday Maven had chosen Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce for this week’s Food Matters Project recipe, I silently cheered. It’s the perfect meal for a hot summer day, especially with local vegetable gardens (including mine!) producing like crazy.
One of us, who shall remain nameless, is not a fan of peanut sauce. A quick flip through The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard unearthed a recipe for Thai Chili Sauce. Since we had all the ingredients in the pantry or the garden, out came the canner and the jars. Within an hour we had a hot and spicy sauce to accompany our summer rolls and more jars to put away for the winter.
You can view the original recipe by Mark Bittman here and the other Food Matters Project participants’ versions here. I stuck close to the original recipe, simply substituting vegetables that were growing in my garden, adding crunchy mung bean sprouts, and fresh prawns caught last night. We have made these rolls many times before, and love that they are so versatile. Don’t have (or like) seafood? Substitute slivered chicken or pork or tofu or leave out the meat altogether. Add shredded Asian greens or chard or spinach. The possibilities are endless.
Makes 8 rolls
- 8 lettuce leaves, left whole
- 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup julienned (or grated) carrot
- 1/2 cup julienned (or slivered) cucumber
- 2 green onions, slivered
- 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts, rinsed
- 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, slivered
- 1/2 cup radishes, slivered
- 24 fresh peeled and cooked prawns
- 8 sheets rice paper, 8 – 10 inches in diameter
- hot water, as needed
- Thai chili sauce (or peanut sauce) for dipping
(see recipe below)
- Prepare all ingredients and set them out on your work surface. Set out a bowl or large pan of hot water and a clean kitchen towel.
- Gently place a sheet of rice paper in the water and let it soak for 5 – 10 seconds until it is just soft enough to manipulate. It will soften a bit more as you work, so don’t let it go past this point. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it. Lay it on the towel briefly then transfer to your work surface and fill.
- Lay a lettuce leaf on the bottom third of the rice paper. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top, using no more than 1/2 cup per roll to avoid tearing the rice paper. Roll the bottom edge over the ingredients, tuck in the sides and continue rolling. Slice in half on the diagonal and serve with the dipping sauce.
Click on the link below to view a video of how to roll the rice paper easily.
Thai Chili Sauce
(adapted from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard
- 2 small tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 Tbsp. minced ginger root
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2/3 cup fish sauce
- 6 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1/4 cup each brown sugar and rice vinegar
- 4 tsp. hot pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Combine tomato, pepper, onion, garlic, ginger root, chicken stock, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, vinegar and hot pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of rim. Process 15 minutes for half-pint (250 ml) jars. Makes 4 cups (1 litre).