Vietnamese Vegetable Summer Rolls with Crispy Tofu

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As the days pass and we get further into the summer, there’s days now and again that are unbearable out. Hot, humid and sticky. That kind of weather where I can’t bear to turn on my stove or oven to cook. Weather where it’s not quite time to blast the A/C just yet…
But, of course, it’s hard for me not to cook. I can’t help it! I need to to stay sane, so when I stumbled across this recipe for summer rolls (which I’ve made once before and loved!) I figured this would be the perfect “summer” dish. While, there’s a tad of hovering over a hot stove involved, the end result is cool and refreshing and healthy to boot!

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For these summer rolls, I chose to go the vegetarian route, adding spinach, fresh herbs, sliced cucumber, and sliced peppers. Rice noodles are a great addition and included a few pieces of tofu that I sautéed in a creamy peanut sauce. A little carrot and jalapeño mix added nice color and a hint of spice. Shrimp would be a great addition too (and one that I’ve seen many times).

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Here’s a fun fact for you: spring rolls are fried while summer rolls are not and are wrapped in a wheat-flour skin made with egg in the dough. For summer rolls, you’ll need rice paper or “spring rolls skin.” It’s translucent once dipped in warm water, which enables you to easily roll your filling inside.

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Then fill and roll to your little heart’s content. Serve with a hoisin-peanut sauce (recipe below) and enjoy!

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Thanks to the Minimalist Baker for the tofu inspiration!

Vietnamese Vegetable Summer Rolls with Crispy Tofu
 
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces dried rice-stick noodles
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 2¾ cups coarsely grated carrot
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped jalapeño chiles, including seeds
  • 12 (8-inch) rice-paper rounds, plus more in case some tear
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 8 ounces extra firm tofu, drained and thoroughly dried/pressed
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ⅔ cup hoisin sauce
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1½ tbsp soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Whisk together sauce ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Set aside. Transfer about half to a small jar and set the remaining half aside.
  2. Put noodles in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling-hot water. Soak noodles for 10 minutes then drain and pat dry. Toss noodles with 1 tablespoon lime juice.
  3. Stir together sugar and remaining tablespoon lime juice in another bowl until sugar is dissolved, then toss with carrots and chiles.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cut pressed tofu into small rectangles. Toss in 3 tbsp cornstarch and flash fry in 3 tbsp sesame oil, flipping on all sides to ensure even browning – about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  5. Gently immerse 1 rice-paper round in a large bowl of hot tap water and let stand until soft and pliable, 15 to 20 seconds. Lift out, letting excess water drip off, then lay round on a work surface, smoothing it out. If round is still very wet, gently blot top with kitchen towel.
  6. Add tofu back to the skillet over medium heat and add the remaining peanut sauce, stirring to coat. Cook for several minutes or until all of the sauce is absorbed. Set aside with prepared veggies and vermicelli noodles.
  7. Arrange carrot mixture, sliced cucumber, sliced peppers, layer of cilantro and basil on rice paper. Top with about 2 tbsp noodles and crispy tofu.
  8. Fold edge of wrapper nearest you over filling, tucking in filling as tightly as possible, until it touches other side of wrapper, then fold in sides and continue to tightly roll until sealed.
  9. Put roll on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a damp towel and cover with another damp towel. Make remaining rolls in the same manner, storing them on baking sheet without touching.
 

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