Lower carb avocado, rainbow vegetable and prawn-filled Vietnamese summer rolls are perfect dipped into silky peanut-tamarind dip. An easy, healthy appetizer, starter or light supper. Swap prawns for marinated tofu for a vegan option.
Apologies if you have come looking for a photo post on my idyllic Scottish Outer Hebrides trip. I had underestimated how many photos I took on both my phone and my DSLR. Basically, I am still going through them all.
Back in the days when we shot on actual film, we were much less snap-happy. (Okay, some of you are too young to have used a film camera or even know what one looks like.) Not seeing the fruits of your careful and artistic composition until Boots or Walgreens had a good laugh at them in the lab, processed them, stuck stickers on the blurry ones and had you part with a fiver for 36 glossy 4x6s, was a disincentive to go too mad with the shutter button.
So, this weekend I will hopefully finish my editing, and next week share some of what we saw and experienced travelling through Scotland’s wild Atlantic islands. If you crave a secluded and relaxing Scottish getaway, you won’t want to miss my post. When I finally post it. 🙂
In the meantime, I wish to share with you a quicker riff on an old summer roll recipe of mine. If you’ve only ever had summer rolls at your favourite Vietnamese restaurant, you may be pleasantly surprised how easy and inexpensive they are to make. And unlike spring rolls, these are never fried.
Summer rolls are the quintessential Vietnamese cold appetizer. Even if you don’t care for Vietnamese food per se (although I’ve yet to meet an adult who doesn’t), I’m positive that soft rice paper rolls stuffed with fresh vegetables, herbs and noodles will appeal. Although, in this recipe I have eschewed the noodles and replaced them with um, more vegetables. I figure the wrapping is enough rice, especially if you are following these up with a meal containing starchy carbs. Bung in some cooked vermicelli noodles if you wish.
In truth, Andrew and I will just eat these for our supper and not bother with a “proper” cooked meal. Lazy, not virtuous, you understand.
I have to admit that my fine motor skills are pretty rubbish so these might not look as good as they taste. But trust me, these bursting with flavour and colour little wraps will have you planning to make these often, even as the days shorten and sleeves lengthen. The dip too is pretty special. We took a wee pot up north with us to spread on toast and plunge sugar snap peas into. So good!
Nutrition Notes: This recipe has quite a lot going for it nutritionally. If you “forgive” the teeny tiny rice wrappers, this is full of health-promoting fiber, phytochemicals, protein and good fats. The cabbage, radishes and pak choi are especially fab in terms of not only their fiber content, but also the plethora of anti-oxidant flavonoids and phenols, glutamine, vitamins K, E, C and folate. The trump card, however, is the richness of its glucosinolate content. Glucosinolates convert upon digestion into isothiocyanate compounds, known to be preventive for a variety of different cancers, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. The rainbow colours, garlic, ginger, turmeric and peanut butter here will also contribute some valuable disease-preventing phytonutrients.
***Before I get to the recipe can I just ask you to do something for me? I have discovered that there are a couple of Facebook pages purporting to be me (calling themselves Food To Glow or, ugh, Food To Flow). They are posting my posts as their own, rewriting the url as their own, and in one case linking to a blog cloned from mine – all of my posts, my own bio pic, the whole kit and kaboodle, but named something else. If you have “liked” me on Facebook, can I ask you to double check that it is me that you have liked and are commenting and sharing from? Here is the authentic Food To Glow page. I have reported the rogue pages to Facebook but they are notoriously bad at dealing with such things (the reporting system is in fact circular) so they may be up for quite awhile. Tomorrow I will be starting the paperwork on reporting the cloned blog to Google and the fraudulent blog’s web host, and perhaps contacting my solicitor who dealt with something similar for me last year.
Anyway, thanks so much for not skipping down to the recipe. Do go check that it is me you are following on Facebook. One of the pages has almost 1000 likes (not far off what mine is!) and I’d hate to think it is one of you following this person thinking it is me. Thanks so very much. I really appreciate your support here and on my social media channels. ***
Shrimp and Avocado Summer Rolls with Peanut-Tamarind Dipping Sauce
Lower carb avocado, rainbow vegetable and prawn-filled Vietnamese summer rolls are perfect dipped into silky peanut-tamarind dip. An easy, healthy appetizer, starter or light supper. Swap prawns for marinated tofu for a vegan option. Have a few extra wrappers handy for the inevitable “do over” situation. xx
6-9 rice paper wrappers (from Asian supermarkets and large general supermarkets)
2 Gem lettuces, bag of baby pak choi, leaves separated (I used a “living” box of pak choi from Lidl) OR any lettuce you like
Cupped handful of radishes
One-eighth or so of purple cabbage or white cabbage
1/2 red or yellow pepper
Large handful of beansprouts (I used Good 4 U brand super sprout mix), well washed and patted dry
1 large avocado
Palmful each of mint leaves and coriander/cilantro leaves
200g large cooked and peeled prawns
2 limes, sliced in wedges, divided used
75g crunchy or smooth no salt or sugar-added peanut butter
150ml light vegetable stock
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tbsp tamarind pulp or paste (I make my own but it is very messy; ready made is in the Asian section of supermarkets) OR 2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
35g coconut cream (optional, I don’t usually add it) OR 3 tbsp of powdered coconut milk – more to taste
1 tsp ground or grated turmeric
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Prep the vegetables before you soak the rice wrappers; keep everything in little individual piles to make life easier. Finely slice the lettuce if using or pluck the pak choi leaves. Trim the radishes and thinly slice. Thinly slice the cabbage and pepper. Halve the avocado, remove the stone and slice the flesh into thin wedges. Rip up most of the herbs to release the flavour and aroma.
2. Follow packet directions for soaking the rice paper wrappers. I boil a kettle of water and let it cool a little, then place a wrapper in a large skillet, and just cover with hot water. I use my fingertips to gently move the wrapper and check when it is soft – about 20-30 seconds. Then I place it on a damp tea towel laying on my work top, straightening it as best I can. This may take a little practise to get it fairly unwrinkled.
3. Now layer the filling onto the middle of the wrapper as shown in the image, spritzing with a little lime juice. Don’t be tempted to overfill as the delicate wrapper will split. If it does split, just soak another wrapper and give it an extra skin.
4. To roll it up, pull one side over the filling quite firmly, then pull in the corners snugly before rolling up tightly. If you have ever made a burrito, it is basically like that. Pop them on a cool platter as you go, covering lightly with cling wrap and chilling in the refrigerator while you make the dipping sauce.
5. For the dipping sauce, add everything to a medium saucepan and gently whisk to mix. Bring to a gentle simmer; cook for four to five minutes, or until thickened and glossy. Let cool to room temperature.
Serve the Shrimp and Avocado Summer Rolls with the Peanut-Tamarind Dipping Sauce, extra herbs and the remaining lime wedges.
Ripe For Pinning!