Last week I had the good fortune to accompany my husband on one of his business trips to Phoenix, Arizona. I am a true travel junkie and am always on the lookout for any opportunity to travel. Whenever we travel I use the free app called “Kosher GPS” — which locates Kosher restaurants, minyanim and mikvaot in any community in the United States based on my location.
Once we settled into our hotel and my husband went off to his conference, my job is to find the local restaurants. To my surprise, several kosher restaurants came up in Phoenix. The Phoenix community has a variety of restaurants, including Chinese, Israeli, pizza and vegan — all under the Vaad HaKashrut of Greater Phoenix. We ate at most places and they were all fantastic. In particular, Fresh Mint, is a vegan eatery and was one of the most unique restaurants I have ever eaten at. Of the many delicious dishes I ordered at Fresh Mint, the Summer Roll (often known as Vietnamese Roll) was our favorite.
When I returned home, my mission was to make my own version of this roll.
Summer Rolls or Vietnamese Roll
10 spring roll rice paper wrappers
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
2 large Persian cucumbers, julienned
1/3 cup chopped purple cabbage
1-2 cups cooked rice noodles
1 avocado, sliced
Handful fresh cilantro or mint or basil
5 large green lettuce leaves (romaine or butter) torn in half
10 pieces kosher crab sticks or 10 slices of smoked salmon or tofu
sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Prepare the rice paper wrappers: Pour warm water into a large bowl or 9-inch square or round baking pan. Working with one at a time, dip the rice paper wrapper into the warm water for 10-15 seconds (or whatever the package suggests). You want the wrapper to be soft, yet still slightly firm and pliable. Immediately remove from the water, pat or shake the wrapper slightly dry and place flat onto a work surface such as a large plastic or ceramic cutting board.
Filling and rolling: Place the prepared rice wrapper on the ceramic board. Put down the lettuce as your first layer, across the rice paper leaving a small border open at the top. Then add the, carrot, cucumber and cabbage to the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper. Then, a small amount of noodles, avocado and fresh herbs. Lay a slice of crabstick in the middle of the vegetable filling. Remember, do not over-stuff the roll.
Roll everything up tightly. Gently pull up the bottom, and roll over the filling, tucking in the sides as you go. It’s basically like you’re rolling a blintz. Remember, you want a very tight roll.
After rolling, cut into 6-8 pieces, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with peanut sauce.
Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, mashed (or about 1 teaspoon minced)
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or a sweet chili sauce, optional for spice
1-2 Tablespoons warm water, or more as needed
Prepare the dipping sauce: You can whisk everything together in a bowl or use a food processor. Add everything to a medium bowl (except water) and whisk until smooth. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of warm water or until you reach desired thinness. Pour into a serving bowl/ramekin and top with garnish. Set aside.