It is late summer, the sun is hanging low and casting long shadows. It is the most beautiful period of summer, I love the colour of the sunlight which seems somewhat richer, deeper, it makes everything looks more mature, like a person reaches his golden age. It is the time of harvesting, a sense of gathering and fulfillment. It is also the time to bottle up jam, marmalade; bake pies and pickle the lovely summer produce. I was lucky to have given some bottles of jam and confiture which were homemade by my friend’s aunt in a small french village, so I have spared myself the time of making any this year. And I want to enjoy this brilliant time of the year, so some days I will try not to spend too much time in the kitchen. Hence today’s recipe, minimum cooking but with big flavour.
Summer roll is one of the most versatile foods I know, and one of my favorites as well. It is refreshing, delicious and easy to make. One can fill the rice paper with vegetables, shell fish (the most common one), meat, and even fresh fruits; with various dipping sauce as desire. I have made this version which is one of the most popular dishes on my blog. I like to experiment with different filling and flavours. This particular recipe is a combination of a vietnamese beef noodle salad and a Thai mango salad wrapped in one roll. The tender beef and soft juicy mango contrast with crunchy carrot and cucumber, sweet, tangy, umami all in one setting. The soft herbs like mint, basil and the coriander in the dipping sauce enhance the overall flavour, so they should not be omitted. If you like a bit of heat, some chopped chilies added to the sauce will do the trick.
Makes 6 (easily double)
For the Beef marinade:
- 250g beef filet, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped coriander
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped ginger
- 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1.5 tbsp. tamari or regular soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
For the summer roll:
- The beef (from above)
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 large cucumber (or one small), halved lengthwise, scoped the seeds out and ribboned with a vegetable peeler, drained on kitchen paper (or cut in matchsticks if prefer)
- 100g dried rice noodles, cooked according to package instruction
- 6 rice paper (plus more if needed)
- handful of fresh mint
- handful of basil (or Thai basil)
For the dipping sauce: (makes plenty, enough for 12 rolls)
- 4 tbsp. fish sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 4 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. Agave syrup (or sugar)
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped coriander
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
Marinate the beef with all marinade ingredients for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the dipping sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Set aside until served.
Char the beef in some vegetable oil on a cast iron pan or grilled pan until cooked, about 1-2 minutes, transfer the cooked meat on a plate and let it rest and cool.
To assemble the summer roll: dip the rice paper into a bowl of tepid water for 10 seconds. (the rice paper will keep absorbing water while you are assemble it, so don’t leave it too long in the water) Place the rice paper on a slightly wet flat surface or a large plate. Place some of each of the vegetables, noodles, beef and fresh herbs on the (lower) middle of the rice paper (see the instruction pictures from my other post).
Now fold the right and left side of the rice paper toward the middle and then fold the bottom side up. Roll with the ingredients up, until a ‘roll’ has formed. Depending on how much filling you put in each roll, the sizes of the rolls will vary. To prevent the finished rolls from drying out, use a cling film with a damp kitchen towel on top to cover the rolls while you are making the rest. Served with the coriander dip. These rolls are best served within one hour and keep them tightly wrapped before serving.