Thai Summer Rolls

Summer rolls make a pretty package out of all manner of fresh summer vegetables and fruits as well as noodles, rice, or tofu. Once you get the hang of the technique used here, the sky’s the limit as far as what you can stuff into these rolls. Serve with peanut sauce (page 64), Mango Ginger Sauce (page 61), Dim Sum Dipping Sauce (page 101), Nuoc Cham (page 192), or Funky Thai Salsa (page 58).

Makes 8 Rolls

½ (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 ounces bean thread noodles
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 large carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 cup mung sprouts, optional
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
16 leaves basil or Thai basil
16 to 24 fresh mint leaves
16 rice paper wrappers
Soy sauce for dipping

1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Slice the tofu into six rectangles about 4 to 5 inches long. Place in a baking dish, pour the soy sauce over the top and roll them around a bit to coat them in the soy sauce. Place in the oven
and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Set them aside and allow them to cool.

2. Boil water in a pot or tea kettle. Place the noodles in a bowl, cover with the boiling water, and stir them occasionally for 5 to 8 minutes while you prepare the other veggies. Strain and allow them to cool.

3. After all of the filling ingredients are prepared, add warm water to a large bowl or casserole dish large enough to fit the rice paper wrappers. Dip one of the wrappers in the water to soak and lay it on a clean work surface. Lay another soaked wrap above the first one, overlapping by a couple of inches into an eight formation. Arrange a small amount (about one-eighth) of each of the filling ingredients on the first rice paper.

4. When the rice paper is soft and flexible, fold up the end of the wrapper that is closest to you, then fold in the sides. Continue to roll and tuck in the sides until the whole thing is sealed together in a happy little roll. Be sure to press firmly as you roll in order to keep the roll tightly packed. This way they will slice in half without spilling their insides and are easier to eat. Slice and serve immediately or cover with a damp cloth in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


From The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East
by Mark Reinfeld & Jennifer Murray, published by Da Capo Lifelong