A little effort goes into the preparation for these Pork and Vegetable Summer Rolls, but I promise, they are SO worth it!
Asian-inspired foods have long been a favourite of mine but I have to confess to a bit of a fear when it comes to experimenting with the flavours. I have had rice wrappers in my cupboard for longer than I care to admit, simply because I was afraid of them! After finally creating my version of a Pork and Vegetable Summer Roll, I wonder why I waited so long!
The preparation for this dish is a bit time-consuming but well worth your efforts. By getting everything ready ahead of time, rolling and serving the wraps is fast and easy.
Using a resealable bag to marinate meat makes it really easy to make sure the meat is well coated and stays in the marinade.
The first thing to do is prepare your meat. Slice a pork tenderloin in half along its length and then slice each half into very thin slices. Place the pieces in a resealable bag with 2 tbsp of fish or oyster sauce, 2 tbsp of sesame or other cooking oil, 1 heaping tbsp of minced garlic, a tsp of sugar and a tbsp of rice wine vinegar. Mix the ingredients really well by “mushing” the bottom of the bag so the meat is well coated. Remove the air, seal the bag and let the pork marinate while you prepare your vegetables.
The beauty of a recipe like this is you can use any vegetables and fresh herbs that you enjoy.
Traditional summer rolls have rice noodles in their filling however, I opted for meat, vegetables and fresh sage for mine. Take the time to thinly slice all of your vegetables while your meat is marinating as this will make the assembly very quick and easy.
For my version of Pork and Vegetable Summer Rolls, I used iceberg lettuce, red peppers, cucumber, green onions and fresh sage leaves. Other options could include shredded or julienne carrots, bean sprouts, arugula, etc. Use vegetables that you and your family enjoy. Although I used fresh sage leaves in mine, you could try cilantro or mint, or any other fresh herb you have on hand.
Heat a wok or heavy frying pan until it is smoking and stir fry the pork until it is lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside to cool while you make the hoisin-peanut dipping sauce.
Even I have to admit this does not look very appealing as is, but I promise it tastes great!
To make the hoisin-peanut sauce, mix 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1 tbsp garlic, 1 tsp Thai chili paste (or one Thai chili) and about an 1/8 cup of water with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. If you find the mixture too thick, add water a small quantity at a time until it’s the consistency you like.
And finally, the assembly! There are a lot of steps to creating this dish but they really don’t take that long to do. From start to finish it took me less than an hour until I was biting into one of these rolls, and I promise… they are well worth the effort.
Set yourself up an area to work where you have all of your ingredients close to you. The rice wrappers I used were 8″ diameter, so I used a round cake pan for the water to dip them in and it worked out perfectly. Make sure you have a non-porous surface to put the wet rice wrapper on to do your rolling; an untreated cutting board will absorb water and make the rice paper a gluey mess to work with.
Dip the rice wrapper in water and lay it on your rolling surface.
When you wet the rice wrapper, make sure the whole wrapper is dunked into the water, but do not leave it to soak. While you are placing your filling, the extra water will soak into the wrapper and make it easy to roll.
When layering your ingredients, make sure to leave space to tuck in the sides of the wrapper if you want closed rolls.
If you layer your filling over the lettuce, it will help make sure sharp edges of crisp vegetables don’t poke through your wrapper.
Roll the wrapper away from you, over the filling while pressing the filling towards the center of pocket that forms with your fingers. After one full roll (roughly the middle of the wrapper), tuck in the sides of the wrapper to enclose the filling. Complete the roll and lightly press the seam.
Once you have made all of your rolls, you are ready to dig in! Using one pork tenderloin I was able to make 8 large summer rolls. Despite looking so light and being so healthy for you, they are actually quite filling!
Despite all the prep work for these Pork and Vegetable Summer Rolls, they are simple to make and are a very healthy dish! I’ll definitely be playing around with other versions of this recipe in the future!