Dienstag, 4. März 2014

Summer Rolls with a Sweet and Sour Lime Sauce

Or with sweet and sour sauce

This would have been lunch for my colleage and me, ... if my body hadn't decided to be sick. But I didn't want to let the ingredients go to waste and made the summer rolls. These are Vietname style summer rolls, so they are not fried/deep-fried. They're low in fat and gluten-free (in case anyone suffers from celiac desease) if you substitute the beer that is used to soak the rice paper for water or gluten-free beer. 

The summer rolls are great for buffets, picnics, lunch at work, or long trips. They're also really yummy!

Ingredients for the rolls:

  • Bánh Tráng rice paper (I used 29 sheets with a diameter of 22cm/8 1/2 in)
  • ca. 200g of soy sprouts
  • 400g of plain tofu (you can also take 250g of smoked tofu and skip the frying/soy sauce step of the recipe)
  • 4 medium carrots
  • some fresh mint
  • some fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • Some lettuce (I prefer lollo biando)
  • 100g of rice vermicelli (100g = uncooked weight)
  • 0.5l beer (this can be substituted for water)
  • some soy sauce
  • some oil for frying

Ingredients for the sweet and sour lime sauce:

  • 1 small (or half a medium) carrot finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 2 table spoons rice vinegar
  • 30g of fresh ginger
  • juice of a lime
  • a little bit of salt


  • Cook the vermicelli rice noodles briefly. I rinsed the noodles afterwards, so they would lose some of the starch. This way I could seperate them more easily when I took portions for each roll. For this purpose, I also cut them up a bit. 
  • Cut the tofu in thin slices - as thin as you would like thin French fries.

Warning! Tofu still tastes like soggy card board
at this point!
  • Heat up a little bit of oil in a pan and fry the tofu sticks. 
  • Moving the tofu in the pan every other minute or so, fry for 6-8 minutes in total. 
  • Warning: At this point the tofu still taste like soggy (slightly crisp) cardboard!
  • After your 6-8 minutes are up, generously deglaze with soy sauce. And by generously, I mean generously. This is probably going to take around 80ml of soy sauce.

  • Move the tofu around in the pan, so each tofu stick gets covered in soy sauce.
  • Turn down the heat and leave the pan on the burner.
  • OR you can just use this recipe for deepfried tofu.

  • While the tofu is sitting on the stove, we'll get started on the sauce, so the flavors of the ingredients can develop while we're making the rest.
  • Grate the carrot finely. 

  • Peel the ginger and grate finely as well.
  • Juice the lime. If you have an organic lime, you can also zest the peel and add it.
  • Mix carrots, ginger, agave syrup, lime juice, rice vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  • Mix well and put it in the fridge to rest. 

  • Chop the mint and cilantro. 
  • Mix the chopped herbs with the vermicelli noodles. This way you get an even distribution of the herbs and won't get a surprisingly strong mint taste every other bite.

  • Grate the carrots - not as finely as for the sauce though.

  • Cut off half a cucumber, peel it and cut it in quarters.

  • Cut out the core, then cut each quarter into three thin stripes.
  • Then cut them in short pieces.

  • Set up everything for the big rolling!
  • Not pictured: The lettuce. 
  • Get a plate that's big enough for the rice paper.

  • Fill the plate with beer - or water. The beer adds a nice taste to the summer rolls. 

  • Soak the rice paper in the beer, one sheet at a time! Do not put in several sheets at once. They will only stick together.

  • Don't leave the sheet in for too long. They should not get too soft. 
  • Then, place the sheet in front of you. Place another sheet into the liquid.
  • On the sheet in front of you, mix all of your ingredients: Noodles with herbs, soy sprouts, carrots, cucumber bits, tofu sticks. Drizzle a little bit of soy sauce on top.
  • Finish the whole thing with some lettuce (I didn't use it back when I wrote this recipe ;), so it's not pictured).

  • Rolling is really easy: 
  • Wrap the filling once from the bottom, then fold in the sides, and roll it up! 

  • Done!