Monday, January 6, 2014

In: DIY summer rolls

Tonight I made one of my favorite "DIY" meals--summer rolls. If you don't know what a summer roll, it is like a lettuce wrap but with a rice paper wrap. I'll show you what I mean.

Step 1: Gather your ingredients (Note: yields 2 servings).
You can really put whatever you want in these summer rolls. If you're lacking the inspiration for your first attempt, here is my list.

2 chicken breasts, shredded or chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced or julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
1/2 bell pepper, julienned
1 avocado
1 cup spinach
Rice paper
Rice noodles
Sweet chili sauce (or ponzu sauce, if you prefer salty over sweet & spicy)

I sometimes add some other interesting ingredients, like apple, mango, crab meat, cooked shrimp, bean sprouts, and cilantro. I also prefer getting rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken, but the store didn't have any so I had to improvise.

Step 2: Prepare your ingredients.
The boyfriend cooked the chicken with some soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. These aren't absolutely necessary since you'll have the chili sauce, but it does give the chicken more flavor!

I also started soaking the rice noodles. I typically soak them for 10 minutes, but you can soak for as long or little as you'd like, based on how al dente you like your noodles.

In the meantime, I chopped the vegetables. If you don't know how to cut an avocado, please read on. If you do, skip ahead to Step 3!

I decided to include a quick avocado cutting tutorial. I was inspired to do so after seeing my mom try to cut one. She peeled the skin and tried to scrape off as much of the meat as possible. Don't do that! Instead, cut the avocado (skin on) in half longways.
Then, twist the two halves apart. (Yes, I know. My avocado wasn't super fresh, but it was still good!)
Now, stick the knife in the avocado seed. The easiest way to do this is do an axe-like chop into the seed.
Twist the seed out with the knife.
Now, all that's left is to get the meat out. I like to cut longways for, essentially, avocado strips. But you can also cube the avocado or just scoop it all out with a spoon if you want a big piece of avocado!

Step 3: Serve and eat!
After preparing all of the ingredients, I set them out in separate little bowls.

You'll only want to prepare your rice paper immediately before preparing each individual roll. Don't prepare them in advance, or they'll get too sticky and rip apart. Preparing them is easy. Just have a large bowl of warm water set aside, and immerse the rice paper for 5 seconds. The paper may seem too stiff, but it will have softened by the time you fill the roll.

Fill the roll with whatever ingredients you'd like, placing everything in a line from one end of the rice paper to the other. Don't put too much in, or else it may not wrap!
Then, close up the roll by taking one side of the paper (where you don't have a pile of ingredients) and pull it up over the ingredients in the center. Repeat with the opposite side, sticking the two sides together. Then just fold up the open ends.

There you have it! A DIY summer roll. Enjoy!


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