I like summer rolls. I really like assembling summer rolls. Since I was a young ‘un (as in, before I could talk in full sentences), few things have made me happier than a plate of rice paper, some form of peanut sauce-glazed protein, be it chicken, pork, tofu, or pretty much anything but shellfish (which makes my throat swell up), mint, rice vermicelli, and cucumbers. Nowadays, when I’m very capable of talking in full sentences (I rarely stop talking, actually), I still love it. It doesn’t take much to pull this together, and it looks dang impressive at parties!
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or chunked
2 pickling cucumbers
3 medium carrots
1 8oz rice vermicelli (NOT what I have, I was in a hurry at the store and got the wrong package)
½ cup creamy peanut butter
⅓ cup soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons galangal powder
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
⅓ cup vegetable oil (not shown)
First things first- we need to julienne the carrots and cucumbers. To julienne something, you cut it into matchsticks, essentially. You could buy them already shredded… But why? I’ve always been convinced the stuff they’re coated in is made out of bark and puppy dogs and lost souls. Bring on the defamation lawsuits, folks. Besides, doing it at home is easy! You just need a good sharp knife and the will to julienne. I like saying julienne. Can you tell? Anyways. Lop off the ends of the carrots and cucumbers, and peel them.
I’ve never not peeled carrots and cucumbers. That is, I’ve not never peeled them. I mean, I have left the peel on carrots, not. I was going somewhere with this. Oh well. Cut them into chunks,
slice them vertically,
then turn them on their side and make long slices, and you’ve julienned! Ze next thing is to make ze magical dressing. Mix together the peanut butter,
It’ll be kind of stiff and weird. So add the oil now! Once it’s smoother, add in the galangal powder (you can substitute ginger powder) and the chili flakes.
Let the sauces flavors meet and meld and mingle
while you get to work on the noodles.
Cook them according to package directions, like I said, I got the wrong ones. I was in a bit of a hurry, so I just grabbed the first rice noodles I could find. Not a smart move.
Throw the chicken into a skillet, and pour some of the sauce on top
(I was using the rest of the sauce for tofu for the vegetarians in my family, but you could use it as a dipping sauce, or even as a marinade for raw chicken or pork), toss/stir it so it gets coated, and slowly let it warm while you assemble the rest of the stuff. It’s really all about making it look pretty now! Set out a bowl of very hot water, the rice paper, the (cooled, run them under cold water) noodles, cucumbers, carrots, chicken, mint, basil, and sauce if you have any left!
Perfect for a buffet or birthday party. To cook the rice paper, carefully place it in the water and pull it out once it’s soft. The truth it, despite the hundreds of summer rolls I’ve made over the years, I still haven’t entirely got the trick. Once you get one right, lay it on the plate, and build it with whatever you like!
I’ve also never been able to neatly wrap a summer roll. I just sort of smush it together.
It looks okay! At least on that side. This is the other side, the real side, if you will.
Ha. Enjoy these! They take a bit longer to make than the rest of the recipes from this week, but they’re definitely worth it.
Here’s the printable recipe, with ingredients and instructions: Chicken Summer Rolls