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Spicy Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Makes 6 servings (12 summer rolls)
  • Active time: 1 hr
    Total time: 1 hr
We like to think of the summer roll as an elegant example of fast food: a salad packed into an edible container—in this case, paper-thin rice sheets—which results in something as beautiful to behold as it is practical to eat by hand. Better yet, the summer roll is a big win for the health-conscious because the roll is almost fat-free, and the sauce, while sporting a little peanut butter, is not highly caloric. One dipped bite yields an explosion of flavors and textures that's guaranteed to excite any palate.

This recipe is part of our Gourmet Modern Menu: Fiery Fare. Click here to view the full menu.
Published in Gourmet Live 08.29.12

INGREDIENTS:

For the Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce (see Cooks' Notes)
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

For the Summer Rolls:

  • 3 ounces dried rice-stick noodles
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups coarsely grated carrot (about 1 pound; use large holes on a box grater)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped serrano or jalapeño chiles, including seeds
  • 12 (8-inch) rice-paper rounds, plus more in case some tear
  • 4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped cocktail peanuts
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (Asian or Italian)

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the Sauce:

  • Whisk together sauce ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.

For the Summer Rolls:

  • 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. Cut noodles with kitchen shears or knife in 5 or 6 places.
  • Stir together sugar and remaining tablespoon lime juice in another bowl until sugar is dissolved, then toss with carrots and chiles.
  • 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.
  • Arrange about 1/4 cup cabbage across center of round, leaving about 1 1/2 inches uncovered on both sides. Top cabbage evenly with 3 tablespoons carrot mixture, then sprinkle with 1 generous tablespoon peanuts. Cover mound of vegetables with a layer each of mint and basil leaves. Top evenly with about 2 tablespoons noodles.
  • 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.
  • Put roll on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a damp towel and cover with another damp towel. Make 11 more rolls in same manner, storing them on baking sheet without touching.

COOKS' NOTES:

  • Commercial hoisin sauces can vary quite a bit in flavor. We think Lee Kum Kee is a good brand.
  • Sauce can be made 1 day ahead and kept chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.
  • You will likely have leftovers of some of the filling ingredients and sauce, but when making these rolls, it's better to have a little extra rather than not enough. The sauce is excellent on just about anything: chicken, pork, steak, tofu, and vegetables. Gourmet Live staffers swooned over it.
  • Rolls can be made 6 hours ahead, wrapped individually in plastic wrap, and then stored in a resealable plastic bag and chilled.
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