Summer Spring Rolls (Makes about 6 rolls)
I love the flavor of Asian cuisine. Vietnamese spring rolls are one of my favorite light and refreshing dishes to make when the weather starts getting a bit warmer. The use of fresh herbs brings great flavor and the use of fresh vegetables brings gorgeous color to this dish.
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
2 cups bean sprouts
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 lb pork shoulder (or your favorite cut)
3 tablesppons fish sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
handful of basil
handful of cilantro
handful of mint
2 cups cooked & seasoned Jasmine or brown rice (optional)
6 spring roll wrappers
Cooking The Filling.
To make the filling, I like to start off with the pork so it can have time to marinate. I first cover the pork with a sheet of parchment paper and pound it with a meat pounder until its nice and thin. I then use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the pork into little pieces, about 1 inch long. After that I toss the meat in a medium size bowl and add the minced garlic, olive oil, fish sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder and salt. I then mixed the marinate into the meat with my hands to make sure its well incorporated. Once its nicely incorporated, I leave the meat to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
While the meat is marinating, I start making the vegetable filling. To make my job a little easier I like to use a package of pre-cut vegetable mix. I then cook the vegetables over middle-low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of garlic powder and salt. I let them cook for about 5 mins or until lightly brown and soft. And then I place them in a small bowl for later.
In the same skillet the vegetables are cooked, I add a tablespoon of olive oil and let the skillet get very hot. Once hot, I add the pork and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes turning occasionally until its evenly browned. Then I take it off the heat and place it in small bowl to the side.
The last part of making the filling is simply chopping up the mint, cilantro, and basil very finely. I really enjoy using fresh herbs from my own garden in my cooking, because my mom taught me to garden from a young age. Don’t worry though, store bought fresh herbs will do just fine if you don’t have your own garden. Once the herbs are chopped, its time to assemble the rolls.
Wrapping The Rolls
This is my favorite part, putting all the delicious ingredients together. I like to use a clean plastic cutting board to prepare these on to make clean up a little easier. Once I have my board in place, I grab a shallow bowl and fill it with warm water from the sink. I then take one of the dry spring roll wraps and submerge it in the water for about 30 seconds. The wrap is ready to come out when it becomes loose and translucent.
Laying the wrap flat on the board, I first add a handful of the vegetables down the center of the wrap and then I top that with some of the herbs. For a lighter dish I finish the roll off by topping the herbs with some of the meat. And for a little hardier of a dish I add a handful of rice before topping the roll off with the meat. Once the desired filling is added I pull the top and bottom sides of the wrap about 3/4th of the way up the wrap. Then I take the right side and pull it about half way over the wrap, covering the top and bottom folds previously made. I then roll the wrap towards the final side until it is completely covered and the filling is secure.
Serve yours as an appetizer or a light meal and enjoy!