You can feel it in the air. Summer’s almost over. Don’t get me wrong — I’m going to miss the laid-back summer vibe of the city more than the weather itself. And I’d take a cool, crisp fall day over a sticky, 90-degree summer day anytime. I just hate to think about what comes after fall.
I’ve been trying to keep summer going by making as many light, refreshing meals as possible. Last week I got a serious craving for Vietnamese summer rolls but didn’t want to head out to a restaurant just for 2 or 3 appetizer-sized orders (or endure the funny looks I’d receive.) So I decided to make them at home instead, using some recently-purchased mangoes and fresh mint from the market.
To make the filling for mango summer rolls, you’ll need mangoes, mint, and fresh vegetables that can be cut into strips such as carrots and cucumbers. (Lettuce works too.) You’ll also need rice paper wrappers and some rice vermicelli, both available in any large Asian market. The rice vermicelli noodles get soaked in boiled water to soften, then are laid on top of the soaked rice wrapper along with the fresh ingredients. Check out the photos below for a wrapping visual to go along with the recipe:
Yup, it’s that simple! (Well, okay, you can refer to the recipe below again too.) I like to serve the summer rolls with a creamy peanut sauce, accented with just a tiny bit of chili sauce.
If you’ve made summer rolls before, what do you usually like to put in the filling?
- 4 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 large mango, peeled and cut into strips
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 1 large cucumber, julienned
- 24 mint leaves
- 1 package round rice paper wrappers
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons white rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili sauce
- Bring a small pot of water. Place the rice vermicelli noodles in a large heat-proof bowl and pour the just-boiled water over the noodles. Allow the noodles to soak for about 3 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Alternatively, soak the noodles in warm water for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Fill a large mixing bowl with room temperature water.
- Dip a sheet of rice paper wrapper in the water for about 30 to 40 seconds, making sure all sides are wet and the wrapper is very softened. Lay the wrapper flat on a cutting board or other clean surface. Lay a small bunch of vermicelli noodles in the bottom ⅓ of the wrapper. Lay strips of carrot, cucumber, and mango horizontally over the noodles. Top with two mint leaves.
- Fold the bottom of the rice paper over the filling and begin rolling tightly. Fold the left and right sides of the wrapper over the filling. (See the photos above.) Finish rolling tightly. Lay the finished summer roll seamside-down on a plate and cover with a slightly damp towel.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Whisk together the ingredients for the peanut dip. Serve the mango summer rolls with the peanut dip on the side.