Summer rolls were a family favorite dinner that my Mom made often when we were growing up! It was a memorable meal not only because it was so good, but also because it was something my entire family could eat, since my mom is gluten free, and the rice paper is naturally gluten free, too! My Mom would put all of the fillings in bowls on the kitchen table, and my brother, Yoni, and I had a blast mixing and matching different filling combinations, and rolling our own rolls to try. It was an interactive, customizable, and delicious way to eat dinner as a family. I like to serve mine with mango in the summer, since it’s in season and adds some welcome sweetness to the flavor profile, and a peanut butter dipping sauce, which is traditional in central Vietnam, and called nước lèo. If you’ve never tried them, summer rolls are a fun AND delicious way to eat lunch or dinner!
1. Summer Rolls vs. Spring Rolls vs. Egg Rolls
If you’re a little confused about the different types of rolls you often see throughout Asian cuisine, here’s a quick explainer: spring rolls and egg rolls are both deep fried, but spring rolls are usually smaller and the wrapper is much thinner than an egg roll. Summer rolls aren’t cooked at all; the rice paper is softened quickly in water, and they are naturally gluten free.
2. Why mango?
I love mango in general, but I also love that it adds sweetness and tang to the rolls, because the other usual fillings don’t add those flavors.
3. Rolling is easy!
If you’re nervous about the rolling part, keep just two things in mind: 1. Don’t over soak your rice paper! Just make sure the entire surface is submerged in water for a second or two, and then it will soften while you pile the toppings inside. 2. Think of it as a tiny burrito; just roll the end closest to you up and over the fillings, fold the left and right sides in toward the center, then keep rolling up. The rice paper will be soft and tacky, and sticks together easily.