A few months ago I received an email from Kim and Hong of Ravenous Couple on joining June’s Delicious Vietnam #2 posting. The purpose of this round up of posts “is to celebrate the awesomeness and diversity of Vietnamese cuisine.” Since I already posted a pho recipe a while back, Mrs. Taing’s Family Pho, for my submission I wanted to make my second favorite Vietnamese dish, summer rolls.
Wrapped in thin rice paper with fresh vegetables, pork, and shrimp, summer rolls are the perfect summer time finger food. They are easy to make, refreshing to eat, and the best part is they involve minimum cooking. My favorite summer rolls usually have a combo of pork and shrimp, but you can add any type of protein you like. I’ve seen and eaten rolls filled with chicken, beef, and soft shell crabs.
So I was surprise when my friend asked me if I had ever tried it with fish and I replied no. For some reason fish wrapped inside a summer roll just sounded like a weird pairing. Maybe it’s the soft and flaky texture of fish that I felt won’t be good inside a roll. Whatever the reasons were, I decided to give it a try anyway.
To prepare the roll, my friend told me his family starts out by pan frying or roasting a whole fish. When the skin becomes crispy and it is done on the inside, they separate the meat from the bones. Next, they place the fish meat along with vegetables on a sheet of rice paper and roll it up. It was delicious. The crispy and warm fish meat went really well with the cold crunchy lettuce and cucumbers.
For my version of this roll I’m using mountain trout fillets instead. I think any type of white fish would work, but I prefer trout fillets for their mild taste.
As effortless as summer rolls are to make, when it comes to rolling them I make some ugly ones. My first batch of summer rolls were lumpy and loose. Good thing I was more than happy to eat up my mistake. The more you roll the better you get. If you mess up a few the first time, don’t give up. There’s really no right or wrong way to roll it. Some people prefer rolling the roll towards them, while some prefer the opposite way. The picture above provides a roll by roll guidance.
Mountain Trout Summer Rolls
By Fried Wontons For You
Serving: Makes about 7 to 8 rolls
- ½ lb mountain trout fillet
- 1 cup flour (for frying the trout fillet)
- Shredded ice berg lettuce
- Julienne carrots
- Julienne cucumbers
- 1 bunch rice vermicelli noodles
- Rice paper wrapper
To start the summer roll, prepare the vermicelli noodles first. Place dried vermicelli noodles in a large shallow bowl. Pour hot boiling water on top of the noodles until they are covered. The noodles will start to get softer. This should take about 10 minutes. Taste a strand of the noodles to see if they are done. They should still have a bite to it but not mushy. When they are done, rinse under cold water, drain, and set aside.
Place one cup of flour in a large plate. Season it with salt and white pepper.
In a frying pan, pour about 2 tbsp of oil. Heat the oil until it is hot on medium high flame.
Take the trout fillet and coat both sides with the flour. Shake off any excess flour. If the fillet is too big for your pan, make sure to divide it in half before frying.
Fry the fillet in the pan until both sides are golden brown. This should take about 5 minutes on each side on high to medium high heat. When the fillets are done, place them on a plate and season with a sprinkle of salt.
To start wrapping the rolls assemble all the ingredients (shredded ice berg lettuce, julienne carrots, julienne cucumbers, fried fish, vermicelli noodles, and rice paper wrappers) within arms reach.
Find a large flat plate to use as your rolling surface.
To soften the rice paper, find a shallow plate that is as large as the rice paper wrappers and pour about two inches of warm water in it. Take one of the wrappers out (make sure there are no holes in the center of the wrapper) and dip it in the warm water for about 1 to 2 seconds. Take the wrapper out of the water, they should still be a little hard, and place it on the rolling surface.
Lay a small bed of lettuce on the top center part of the roll. Place a few strands of the vermicelli noodles on top, and then a few chunks of the fish fillet. Place pieces of carrots and cucumbers on the side of the fish.
To begin rolling, fold the top center part of the wrapper down on the filling and begin making your first roll. Next, take both sides of the wrapper and fold them inward on top of the first roll. Continue rolling until you reach the end. With each roll make sure to tightly tuck your roll in before making another roll.
Serve immediately with a Spicy & Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce or a Vietnamese Dipping Sauce on the side. Recipes for the sauce as follow below.
Summer rolls should be made and eaten on the same day. It can be made a few hours in advance but do not store them in the fridge. The skin of the summer rolls will harden up if store in the refrigerator.
Summer rolls are usually served with either a fish sauce base dipping sauce or a hoisin and sriracha mix. For my summer rolls I’m serving two types of sauces, a Spicy & Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce and a fish sauce based Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.
Spicy & Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
By Fried Wontons For You
Serving: Makes ½ cup of sauce
- 1 tbsp & 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
- 2 tbsp & 2tsp rice vinegar
- ½ tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp warm water water
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved. Chill or serve at room temperature.
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
By Fried Wontons For You
Serving: Makes 1 ¾ cup of sauce
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup fish sauce
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 2 tbsp of minced garlic
In a large glass bowl or container, mix all the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Keep extra sauce in a glass container (I like to use a pickle jar) and chill in the refrigerator.
Not only is this sauce great on summer rolls, but it’s also delicious pour on top of vermicelli noodles with shredded vegetables, pork, shrimp, and sprinkle with peanuts. This is perfect when you have extra noodles and vegetables leftover from the summer rolls.