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Summer rolls

Full disclosure: These take some practice. I equate them to the rules of the crepe; one out of four will invariably self-destruct. Not to worry, my appetite makes the most out of the casualties.

Summer rolls, once you learn the art of hand, are a tons of fun to make, because of their endless variation. My eyes especially guide this dish, with the intent to make them as visually appealing and colorful as possible. The twists and tweaks are entirely up to you, in order to make these summer rolls uniquely your own.


1 Package of spring roll wrappers

1 Package broccoli slaw

1 Package bean sprouts

1 Cucumber, very thinly sliced

Extra-firm tofu, cut into small chunks

1 bunch rainbow radishes, very thinly sliced

1 ripe mango, cut in long slices

1 ripe avocado, cut in long slices

Cilantro, bunch

Mint, bunch

Thai basil, bunch

Dipping Sauce:

3 Tablespoons liquid amino or tamari

1/4 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoon agave

1 Teaspoon ginger, fresh or ground

1 Teaspoon garlic

1 Teaspoon Sambal Olek

Toasted Sesame Seeds, for garnish


To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust to your senses, whether you are in the mood for a sweeter sauce or a more spicy or savory one, entirely up to you. Experiment with a fine dice of serrano, if you wish, or finish with some sliced green onion. Yum.

The secret of success to these summer rolls is expert preparation. Make sure your "mise en place" is "mise au point". To be able to quickly access all of your contents to your summer rolls as you assemble is key. Using a large bowl filled with tepid water, dip your first wrapper completely into the bowl. It does not need to soak longer than a few seconds; too much, and it will fall apart or stick to your cutting board before you even begin. 

Begin with your broccoli slaw using only about a third of the surface of the wrapper for all of your ingredients. Again, too much, and it will break as you try to roll them up. If you want to get fancy schmancy, lay out a thin line of what you want to see on the outside of your roll next to your slaw: a layer of cucumber, radish, or herbs are fun, eye-catching statements. From here, top with a thin slice of mango, avocado, tofu, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro and basil. Work swiftly, to deter the wrapper from sticking to your preparation surface. 


Gently and gingerly, lift the corner closest to you with the filling and begin to roll into a burrito, tucking in the corners as you go. Be mindful of how you roll to make sure the design you want on top actually ends up on top. This will take a round or two to perfect your quantity and method. Continue until you have created enough summer rolls according to your patience level and satisfaction. Feel free to consume the casualties as you practice as they, too, are very tasty. 


Summer rolls are best served chilled and enjoyed right away. They do not keep so well overnight, as they can begin to disintegrate on you. This is fine, because they are not likely to last more than one sitting (or in my case, the assembly process). 


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