Rolling On

by jenna on June 16, 2010

I’m not sure what just happened.

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Yesterday at the store I found myself feeling quite inspired as I stared at the rice paper in the ethnic food section. I’ve never bought rice paper before and never really had the desire to. They always mystified me with their flimsy jelly-fish feel and their directions that I couldn’t understand. Summer rolls have always been something I’ve loved to order at restaurants, but the thought of actually making my own rather terrified me.
So back to the kitchen explosion. I’m vaguely reminded of a previous roll-wrapping catastrophe that took place almost exactly a year ago. Some people learn from their mistakes. I just roll on.
But to be fair, the end result was very much worth the effort. Look how pretty these babies are despite my less than stellar wrap job.

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Since I was literally waist deep in rice noodles, I couldn’t really take photos of every step but that’s okay. I think this recipe better deserves a video post anyways. Perhaps coming up in the future? In the meantime, here’s the recipe.
Tofu Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Serves 1

2 large pieces of rice paper
1/2 cup cooked rice noodles (follow directions on the package to cook)
1/2 cup shredded mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 block of extra firm tofu, sliced into very thin matchsticks
2 tbsp chopped honey roasted peanuts
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 carrot, grated
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp dry ginger
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 squirt sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp agave nectar
3 tbsp warm water
First of all, make the sauce. Combine the peanut butter through water in your blender and whirl on high until smooth and creamy. Put in
a small bowl and set aside.
Now, the key is to keep everything organized. Make neat piles on your cutting board with the noodles, mint leaves, cilantro,
peanuts, tofu, sprouts and grated carrot. Keep everything neat and separated.
Soften one piece of rice paper in warm water. Remove and dry with a paper towel. Lay down flat on the counter and start to fill with
the items on the cutting board, making sure you don’t overstuff your package. When it’s time to wrap up start rolling with the
end closest to you and then fold each side in like you are folding up a burrito. Keep it tight and then press down to seal.
Repeat with following rice paper and serve with sauce on the side.

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Unfortunately mine weren’t wrapped as tightly as they should have been and there was a bit of an explosion. Since at this point I was too hungry to care, I just made a big salad out of it all and stuffed my face.

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Really good though and I will definitely be trying these again, switching up the ingredients perhaps. I loved using the tofu in them though because it ups the protein, but you could also use avocado instead and that sounds like it might be pretty tasty as well.
Fun top secret dinner tonight! Stay posted!


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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin June 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I looove making homemade summer rolls! I always get the hang of it after the first one or two, but I love that you can put anything you want in them when you make them at home! I use bean sprouts instead of rice noodles sometimes if I’m too lazy to do any cooking. Yum!

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Kaz June 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I’ve wanted to make rice-paper wraps for a long time, but I don’t think I’d be able to do it, so I’ve held off.

Kudos to you for giving it a go! That looks so delish!

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jenna June 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

i made some similar veggie rolls once using the rice paper wraps….i had the same experience with them falling apart and they sort of freaked me out! :) lol i haven’t tried using them again!

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Sarah for Real June 16, 2010 at 12:37 pm

My husband always does the wrapping at our house because I just don’t have the patience.

We use a bowl of warm water to soak one rice paper at a time and don’t bother drying them with a paper towel. I think drying them would make them sticky?

They tend to dry out on their own and we don’t end up with soggy rolls. Meh, to each his own. We also use basil instead of mint sometimes!

I freakin love peanut sauce though. I could just eat it with a spoon.

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Bridget June 16, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Summer rolls are da bomb! Love em’! Sometimes they tend to explode like that

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Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

:O That meal looks so gourmet and so delicious! I wish I could get hold of rice paper now :/ I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in the store here!!

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Theresa June 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Looks delicious! I have made similar rolls with great success and yes, the addition of avocado is amazing. From your pictures it looks like you are overstuffing them which might be causing them to “explode”. Nevertheless, the end result looks pretty tasty!

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Claire June 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm

My rice rolls always fall apart too but they are sooo good…thanks for reminding me to go out and get some!

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Claire June 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm

My rice rolls always fall apart too but they are sooo good…thanks for reminding me to go out and get some!

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Heather (Heather's Dish) June 16, 2010 at 1:04 pm

only really great cooks make messes like that :) those sound amazing!

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Marilou @ Mostly Healthy June 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Never done summer roll myself but I do looooove them! It’s the mint that does it all

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman June 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Everyday Food just featured these and got me craving them. Yours look great!

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Jennu June 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Yum!! These look great!

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Heather @ Side of Sneakers June 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Most of the times when I make things “rolled” I end up needing a fork ;)

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Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches June 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Yummm….those look like a fun albeit messy kitchen experiment! i can’t wait to try out this recipe…

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Y June 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm

“Since at this point I was too hungry to care, I just made a big salad out of it all and stuffed my face.”

That’s like my answer to everything.

Hmm…I should probably eat xyz tonight before they all go bad. I’ll just throw them in a bowl and call it a salad. Awesome.

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Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) June 16, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I admire your courage with rice paper! I’m not there yet… but maybe one day ;)

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Dorry June 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I’m so impressed by your efforts! I’m totally obsessed with summer rolls and order them whenever they are on a menu. Funny thing is when fancier restaurants sell them for $12 and the local Vietnamese place sells them 2 for $1.50 :)

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Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ June 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Wow you tore up that kitchen. But it looks like you created something really good out of it.

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Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly June 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm

That looks so good!!! :)

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WendyF June 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm

A tip I’ve never shared before, but it’s about time I did. My sister-in-law learned in Vietnam to use a tea towel (or wash cloth) to moisten the papers versus dipping the papers into a bowl of water. Start by placing your paper on a flat surface, press n wipe the paper with the dampened cloth – if you find that the cloth becomes dry, moisten it again and continue wiping until the paper has turned translucent. The paper won’t be as gelantinous as the dunking method and you’ll see that by the time you assemble it, the paper will be soft. Also, I’ve found that this method makes the paper far less prone to rips, tears or sticking onto itself.

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Cassie @ Tasteful Tales June 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I tried making them once with my sister… it was disastrous! Yours look like a success to me! Nice job! Next time you make them you’ll be a pro!

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Angela (ohsheglows) June 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I must admit that stuff has always terrified me! What is in it?

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Cara June 16, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Those veggie rolls look horrible ! Honest opinion, but I’m sure they tasted great.

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ashley June 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm

not horrible…just like veggie burritos! lol YUMMY

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Julia (Taste of Living) June 16, 2010 at 2:23 pm

HOW SCARY IS THIS? I made these rolls yesterday evening as well! Crazy idea: me in Europe and you overseas making the same thing;)

x Julia (Taste of Living)

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Andrea June 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I really LOVE how you have been posting so many recipes lately. Please continue to do so :) Thank you!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Muchkin June 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Haha! A salad is the perfect solution to food explosions. That always happens with my tacos.

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kalli@fitandfortysomething June 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm

oh yum!

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Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies June 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Those definitely look delicious!

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Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle June 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I love spring rolls with rice paper!! I will definitely be trying this out!!

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Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle June 16, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I love spring rolls with rice paper!! I will definitely be trying this out!!

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Brynne June 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I bought rice paper a few weeks ago but have been too scared to use it! Maybe I’ll try your recipe to motivate me this week – thanks Jenna!

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Helen June 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Your kitchen looks like it is well used!! Congrats for making spring rolls, they looked packed. I love how you made them into a salad too. Looking forward to dinner, more lentils??

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Paige (Running Around Normal) June 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I’ve always wanted to try making my own spring rolls, too!

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 16, 2010 at 3:01 pm

oooh I love the freshness of these rolls! But yes they can be fiddly – and frustrating – but in the end….oh so tasty :)

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theemptynutjar June 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I’ve never seen rice paper before. Don’t really know what it is. But looks interesting with the noodles inside.

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katie June 16, 2010 at 3:15 pm

my fave vegan restaurant in atl serves rice paper rolls and they are BOMB! i like romaine, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, guac (with lots of onion & lime), brown rice, and raisins. the standard also comes with tomato and sweet potato spears. yum!

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing June 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm

YUM!! I love love spring rolls and i’ve always wanted to make them!

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Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Spring and summer rolls look so gourmet! And I feel your fear of making them. It’s exactly how I feel. Although I also felt this way about sushi, which is surprisingly easy to put together. :D

I can’t wait to try this recipe!!! :D

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine June 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I looked at the post from your first rolling experience- funny that it’s the first time you announced the Murphy-Goode contest! I’ve always been terrified of wrapping stuff, so these look pretty amazing too me, even if there was a bit of an explosion :)

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Tammy (Defining Wellness) June 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Very pretty! My husband I learned to make temaki rolls at a cooking class — it’s so much fun to do. And with each try, you just get better. :)

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Dee June 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I love summer rolls! Kudos to you for making it at home. :)

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Katherine June 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm

your wrap looks like an overstuffed burrito! I am not at all opposed to that

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Amanda June 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Looove making rice paper rolls. Luckily my boyfriend usually does the actual rolling process, but one of our tricks to get them to stay together is … romaine lettuce!! Use the rib of the lettuce as your base for all the toppings and it’s the best way to keep it sturdy. We love to use leftover pork and shrimp in them, too!!

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Sarah (OC2Seattle) June 16, 2010 at 5:12 pm

This post brings me back to my sushi roll wrapping disasters ;)

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VeggieGirl @ Barley and Me June 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm

That sounds fab!! I definitely will try to make these — thanks for sharing.

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Laura (Starloz) June 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I didn’t realize how complicated it was to makes these babies. It all in the wrapping.

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diana@mymarblerye June 16, 2010 at 5:53 pm

wowzas. I didn’t know it took that much manpower to make those things!! I’ll respect the chef more next time I’m at a viet or thai place!

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Diana @ frontyardfoodie June 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Haha, awesome kitchen shot. I always wonder if anyone else’s looks so crazy while cooking……I should have known. hehe

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Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) June 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Yum, these look great!!

xo
Kris

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jenny (green food diaries) June 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm

looks beautiful!!! i have rice paper in my fridge and i will most likely adapt this recipe…

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rene June 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm

WOW they are gorgeous! by the way is *1/3 cup* of pb necessary? these rolls seem to come up to nearly 400 calories each!

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jenna June 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm

1/3 cup peanut butter makes enough sauce to have tons of leftovers!

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Calantha June 17, 2010 at 8:45 am

I love making rice paper rolls! And my wrapping job is always a mess… but it doesn’t matter–they taste the same! And they always make a good excuse to eat peanut butter!

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Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary June 17, 2010 at 8:56 am

I’ve always had the same fear of making summer roll, but love eating them out… Doesn’t look too hard, maybe I’ll try now! Thanks Jenna :)

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The Healthy Apple June 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

These look beautiful; what a perfect summer lunch!

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