A few years ago, I bought summer roll skins while vacationing with my cousin in Virginia. Unfortunately, by the time I used them, they were unbendable. I incorrectly deduced that they must have become stale. Recently, I found the same skins at my hometown grocery: “spring rolls skin,” made of tapioca starch, rich starch, salt, and water. This time, I researched how to prepare them. I learned that they are always inflexible until they are hydrated.
The summer heat inspired me to try this dish for Saturday dinner with my boyfriend. No need to cook, and yet, we could produce a healthy and satisfying evening meal. I was surprised at how quickly we prepared dinner and how much fun it was to create our own summer rolls.
Summer Rolls (also known as “spring rolls”)
1 package gluten-free wraps (I used Bánh Tráng Spring Rolls Skin)
Green onion, sliced
Bamboo shoots, chopped
Water chestnuts, chopped
Small lettuce leaves (in tact)
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic
grated or chopped ginger, to taste
small amount sugar
To make dipping sauce:
Combine all ingredients and stir or shake. Refrigerate any unused portions. Can be doubled or tripled easily.
To make spring rolls:
Prepare all vegetables, and place in separate bowls. In a suitable bowl or 8 x 8 baking dish, place about 1-inch warm water. (The baking dish worked well, even though the wraps are about 8.5” in diameter.) The key is NOT to soak the wraps but merely to immerse them in water for only two seconds. They will not seem pliant, but they continue to soften with time.
Work on a nonstick surface (such as Silpat®) or rice paper. Otherwise, the wraps will stick to the preparation area. Place a small lettuce leaf on the top one-third of the soaked rice wrap. Then layer with chopped vegetables. Wrap tightly over ingredients to cover; then, fold in the sides (as with a burrito), and continue wrapping. Set on plate or in container to refrigerate for up to five hours. Do not allow wraps to touch one another. Eat with dipping sauce.
The rolls were so easy to make that I used the leftover filling for lunch. At 35 calories per wrap, this meal was truly healthy, not to mention being vegan.
Next time, I might try some other ingredients, such as cucumbers or cold, cooked shrimp. But I know that summer rolls will be a part of my repertoire all year long.