Friday, June 20, 2014

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Food play dates are the best play dates.

My friend Ilana visited me from Boston last week and, let me tell you something, she is a boss. Plain and simple, folks. And it's not because she's from Boston (SOO punny). She’s currently published in Huffington Post and on Buzzfeed. She planned a successful campaign for a positive portrayal of women in the media. And she loves the Bachelor as much as I do. 

That equals success in my book.

Anyways, I always seem to cook when we are together (which is totally fine by the both of us). I can’t tell you the amount of hours we have spent together, eating and talking and eating some more. And the girl’s got a massive sweet tooth, so basically I can try out any new baking recipe ideas I have on her.
It’s a win win.

It’s been so hot in the city this past week that I had no intention of turning on my oven (as much as I wanted to make zucchini bread. OMG you guys there are so many zucchinis for so cheap). I struggled to figure out something that was both sustaining and would not force me to turn on my oven for very long (and was not a salad. Too many salads in my life at the moment) In a spur of moment decision, I finally decided to go Vietnamese and make fresh summer rolls with shrimp. Healthy, flavorful and delicious. We then subsequently counteracted the healthy with a mountain of frozen yogurt topped with chocolate.

It’s all about the balance people.

These summer rolls are perfect for the, well, summer. It’s in the name, so you know it must be true. They are so so fresh and full of yummy things. And, with the peanut dipping sauce, you will inhale them before you even finish rolling them. I definitely am a culprit of that.

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Peanut Sauce
  • 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (you can also use smooth and add chopped peanuts after)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp liquid sweetener (I used honey)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp sriracha (optional)

Summer Rolls
  • 24 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 rice paper wrappers (preferably circular)
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves, washed, patted dry, and cut in half (in order to fit in the wrapper)
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, julienned
  • ½ red or yellow bell pepper, cut thinly into strips
  • 2 small bundles of bean thread noodles
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Make your dipping sauce first so the flavors will have a chance to mingle. Whisk together all of the ingredients until they are combined and no lumps of peanut butter remain.

In a small skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them to the pan, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are pink and no longer translucent. Remove from pan into a bowl and let cool.

Fill a large, shallow bowl halfway with almost boiling water (I used my electric kettle for this one). Add the rice noodles and let soak for 10 minutes, or until they become soft, but not mushy. Strain the rice noodles and run under cold water until cooled.

Before you do this step, make sure all of your ingredients that go into your summer roll are fully prepared and laying next to where you plan to roll. Fill a cookie sheet or a 9x13 baking pan with warm water. Making one roll at a time, dip a rice paper wrapper into the water, making sure all the edges are immersed. The wrapper should come out of the water still slightly firm, without it fully folding on itself. Once you lay it on your cutting board, the rice paper will continue to absorb water, allowing to become soft and pliable for folding.

 Starting at the top 1/3 of rice paper, lay down the the lettuce, in order to prevent the other fillings from ripping the paper. Continue to add more of the fillings (cucumber, carrot, rice noodles, shrimp, and bell pepper) but be careful not to overstuff your roll.

To roll your summer rolls Gently pull away the edge of wrapper from work surface and roll over the filling. At the same time, use your forefingers to gather and “tuck” fillings together under the wrapper.

“Tucking” allows you to keep the fillings together, so that the roll remains firm and straight. Slowly start to roll away from you and tuck in your fillings. After one rotation, fold in the sides for a “closed ended” roll. Continue to roll until the rice paper ends, but remember to keep tucking as you roll.
Serve with the dipping sauce and eat immediately. These babies aren’t the best to keep around for very long, as the rice paper gets stale.

Freshness on a plate right here.

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