Summer of Fresh Rolls

So loyal readers will remember last summer I made a crazy amount of soup recipes…at exactly the time of year you don’t actually want soup.  As it just so happened the stars aligned and cookbook after cookbook I opened to find I had tagged a soup recipe.  Well this summer instead of finding I had tagged a bunch of soup recipes I have opened my cookbooks to find I have tagged a large amount of fresh rolls, which are also know as summer rolls…so that seems fitting!

This fresh roll recipe comes from the cookbook Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan.

I started this recipe by making the peanut dipping sauce, which was a separate recipe in the cookbook but since I haven’t had much luck making peanut sauce in the past I decided to try Phan’s version.  I first cooked glutinous rice (also know as sweet rice).  I rinsed 1 cup of rice under water and then put it in a pot with 2 cups of water.  The pot was brought to a boil and then reduced to low heat and covered for 15 minutes.  Then the pot was removed from heat and let stand for 10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing the rice with a fork.

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After the rice cooled it was put in a food processor with peanuts, garlic, chile, red miso, ketchup, canola oil, sugar, vegetarian stir-fry sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil and a bit of water.

You will notice I have the contents in my blender. I killed my blender trying to combine, so I later transported the contents into my food processor (as the recipe instructed) and finished combining. Should have listened to you Phan. RIP blender!
You will notice I have the contents in my blender. I killed my blender trying to combine, so I later transported the contents into my food processor (as the recipe instructed) and finished combining. Should have listened to you Phan. RIP blender!

I removed from the food processor and refrigerated until needed (up to 4 days).

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Also something I haven’t had much luck making is mayonnaise.  So I also decided to try making Phan’s mayo.  To make it I first needed shallot oil.  To make the shallot oil I heated canola oil over medium high heat and added thinly sliced shallots.  They cooked for 4 minutes, and then the heat was lowered to low as the shallots cooked for 4 minutes more.

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The shallots were strained from the oil.  I was left with shallot oil!

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I prepared myself to make the mayonnaise.  I put a kitchen towel under my bowl with an egg yolk in it.  I pulled out my whisk.

I can do this. I CAN make mayonnaise!!
I can do this. I CAN make mayonnaise!!

Then I whisked the egg adding a drop of oil at a time and slowly increased to a steady stream.  Whisking constantly…my arm got super tired.

action shot!
action shot!

And the result was yellow mayonnaise!

yellow success!
yellow success!

I seasoned with salt.  I tasted it and the shallot oil really made the mayonnaise super shallot-y.

I then began to prep all my fresh roll fillings.  I cooked rice noodles in boiling water until they were pliable.  Then I drained and rinses them under cold water for several minutes.  Then hot water for several minutes and back to cold water for several minutes.  I have never done the cold hot cold rinse before but Phan said doing so will first stop the noodles from cooking further and then stop the noodles from sticking together.  Very interesting!  I set the noodles aside until I needed them.

cold hot cold rinse
cold hot cold rinse

I then put a pot of water on the stove and got it boil.  I dropped some shrimp in and cooked until they were pink and curling (about 3 minutes).

hard to see but there are shrimps in there
hard to see but there are shrimps in there

I removed the shrimp with a slotted spoon and let them cool before cutting them in half lengthwise.  Then into the boiling water I dropped pork shoulder.

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The heat was reduced to medium low and the pork cooked for 20 minutes.  Then the pork was removed and once cooled cut into 1/2 in strips against the grain.

Guess what?!  We are done with our prep.  Now lets assemble the fresh rolls.

organization for fresh rolls is a must!
organization for fresh rolls is a must!

I placed rice paper in warm water for a few seconds until pliable.  Then on the lower third of the paper I layered red leaf lettuce, spread a teaspoon of shallot mayonnaise over that then mint leaves, a few slices of the pork and a 1/2 cup of the noodles.  I folded in the sizes and rolled from the bottom one roll then placed 3 slices of shrimp and continued rolling.

all rolled up
all rolled up

The rolls can be kept up to a few hours inside damp paper towels.  Once ready to serve cut them in half and serve with the peanut sauce.

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The Verdict:  I learned a few new tricks with this recipe!  I learned about the cold hot cold rinse.  I learned about keeping the fresh rolls in damp paper towel and I learned a way to make mayonnaise.  So what did I actually think of the actual fresh rolls…ok.  The shallot mayonnaise was VERY shallot-y and I really didn’t care for it.  Also this the first time  I have put mayonnaise in a fresh roll so I thought it was kinda strange.  There was so much prep it was almost overwhelming!  But this made a great dinner for a super hot day.