It’s no coincidence that this issue’s feature recipe has the word summer in it.  It should not be confused with its evil cousin, the spring roll, which is typically deep-fried in oil and not quite as healthy. What is wonderful about the summer roll is that the rice paper is an edible vehicle for loads of fresh, veggie-centric ingredients. No matter what ends up in your roll, the key is to have patience when using the rice paper. Read on for a chef hack!

There are four components to a well balanced, tasty roll:

Fresh components. Shaved carrot, daikon, your favorite spiralized veggie, fresh mint and/or basil,  pickled red onion, butter lettuce, sliced firm mango, cucumber, green onion.   

Protein. Cooked shrimp, chicken breast, or leftover cooked fish are excellent additions to your summer roll and elevate them from appetizers to meal status. 

Starch. Bean thread noodles are a gluten-free option but if you have any regular cooked spaghetti noodles, throw those in there, or even some leftover rice. 

Sauce. 1/4 cup sesame oil, 2 TBSP lime juice, 2 TBSP shoyu, 2 TBSP grated ginger, 1 Medjool date, (pit removed), 1 clove garlic. Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until totally smooth.

Chef Hack: With the rice paper, less is more and you’ll need less water than you think. (maybe in a bubble?)

  1. Create a dry, clean surface to roll, with all your ingredients ready to go close by. 
  2. Turn on your faucet, take your rice sheet, and place it under the stream of warm water for 2 seconds on each side. It will still appear quite stiff. This is ok! Read on.
  3. Place the rice sheet on a clean surface and start laying down ingredients.
  4. During the time that the filling is being laid,  the rice paper will hydrate and become pliable, much like a warm burrito that is being stuffed to capacity at your favorite burrito shop. You will be surprised at how stretchy it becomes, turning from stiff paper to a stretchy sheath, allowing you to get a nice tight roll.  DO NOT be tempted to add water to the paper and trust in the passive hydration of the paper.

Enjoy it with your dipping sauce and don’t forget to share it with your friends!   

Maja Liotta is a private chef and culinary instructor. She is the mother of three awesome kids. She resides in Haku and loves surfing, dancing, and eating. and Instagram @chefmajaliotta