Friday, September 21, 2012

Gỏi cuốn (Summer Rolls) with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

Summer rolls (gỏi cuốn) are one of my all-time favorite appetizers. Common in Thai or Vietnamese restaurants, summer rolls are often confused with spring rolls, depending on where you are eating. Summer rolls are the cold, chewy type, filled with noodles and pork or cold shrimp, where spring rolls (chả giò) are fried and contain a ground pork filling. Summer rolls are traditionally served with nước mắm pha, which is a Vietnamese fish-sauce based dipping sauce. However, I prefer to use a sweet, sticky hoisin and peanut based sauce instead. 

These rolls are perfect for beating the oppressive heat and humidity of an Alabama summer, but I enjoy them year-round. Assembly may seem like a pain at first, but its really easy to get the hang of it. Plus, whether your rolls are perfectly neat or ugly and lumpy, they'll still taste great!

Typically, I make these with chilled shrimp, but today I'm using leftover char siu instead. Feel free to use shrimp instead, or combine the shrimp AND the pork! 

Gỏi Cuốn (Summer Rolls)

Bánh tráng (rice paper wrappers)
1 head of butter lettuce, torn
Bún (rice vermicelli noodles) - prepared according to package directions
1 seedless English cucumber, cut into 6” sticks
Do Chua (pickled carrot & daikon radish)
Mint leaves
Cilantro leaves
Sliced char siu

Prepare a shallow dish of warm water - I like to use a glass pie plate. Here, I used a skillet since I used BIG wrappers. Quickly dip 1 rice paper wrapper into the warm water to soften. Lay the softened wrapper on a cutting board and top with a piece of torn lettuce. 

Top the lettuce with a bundle of drained & cooled noodles, a cucumber stick, some do chua, mint and cilantro leaves. Top with slices of char siu. 

Roll the wrapper TIGHTLY, folding in the sides until the wrapper is completely rolled and sealed. Serve with hoisin-peanut sauce (recipe below). 

**You can make these a few hours ahead of time. Simply wrap each roll in a damp paper towel, then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, simply let the rolls come to room temperature, then remove the paper towels and serve. 

Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1 dash Sriracha

Combine the peanut butter, water and soy sauce; whisk until smooth. Stir in the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, garlic and Sriracha. 

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