These Vietnamese pork summer rolls are an easy weeknight dinner. Lay out some fresh ingredients, boil up some rice noodles and make a quick saute of some ground pork, and you're good to go!
Serves: 12 rolls
1 (approximately 16-ounce) package of rice noodles
12-16 rice paper sheets (preferably Vietnamese, approximately 8.5" in diameter)
3 medium carrots, peeled
3 seedless baby cucumbers
3 cups loosely packed leafy green lettuce
4-5 sprigs mint
4-5 sprigs basil
1 pound ground pork
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fish sauce (for the dipping sauce)
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar (for the dipping sauce)
juice of two limes
1-212- teaspoons of water
optional: dried red pepper flakes, bean sprouts
Make the noodles: boil a large pan of salted water over high heat. Add rice noodles and cook according to the package directions. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water until cool.
Assemble the fixings: wash all vegetables and greens arrange on a tray for serving. Cut the carrots and cucumbers julienne style (into matchsticks). Roughly chop the scallions, reserving one of the scallions for the ground pork.
Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Heat olive oil until it is shimmering, then add garlic and stir for one minute. Add pork, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and saute until brown and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 chopped scallion and stir thoroughly. Transfer the pork mixture to a serving bowl (it's okay if the pork cools to room temperature).
Make the dipping sauce: Heat the fish sauce in a small sauce pan over medium heat, then add the lime juice, brown sugar and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir constantly to dissolve the brown sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and taste the sauce. If it tastes too strong (i.e., too fishy or salty), add the water, a little bit at a time, until the flavor of the dipping sauce is mellower.
Arrange the vegetables, greens, pork, and dipping sauce on the table. Place the rice paper sheets on a dry dinner plate along with small bowls filled with water. To make this a do-it-yourself summer roll bar, provide each diner with one large dinner plate with a dried rice paper sheet.
Dip your fingers into the bowl and quickly rub water all over to soften the rice paper sheet slightly. If your dinner plates are recessed, you can drizzle a little water into the plate and then slide your rice paper sheet all over it to moisten it slightly on each side. When the rice paper sheets are pliable but still a little stiff (i.e., not completely soggy), arrange desired toppings on the rice paper sheet. Fold the top and bottom inwards about 1.5-2 inches, then start rolling from one side of the rice paper sheet, folding the filling underneath you as you roll. It'll take a few tries to get the hang of it, so don't give up!
Recipe by Grits and Chopsticks at https://www.gritsandchopsticks.com/the-gravy-train/2015/10/vietnamese-pork-summer-rolls.html