I don’t always know what I want to write about when it comes to these recipe preambles, other times, I log on guns-a-blazin’.
Today, it’s the latter.
Like many, I have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile my jarring insecurities with what I know to be the truth; that I am by and large a confident, intelligent and passionate individual. From reading self-help books, to exchanging podcast-length voice notes with my best friend, to investing in bi-weekly sessions with a therapist; much of my waking life is dedicated towards understanding why I feel so negatively about myself sometimes, and how I can go about course-correcting.
As someone who naturally craves validation from others (I mean, hey, don’t we all?) – one of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to overcome is delineating my sense of self-worth from external validation.
Am I a pro yet? Hardly. Hateful words still sting, disrespect still shakes my pride, and being taken for granted in any way makes me feel like an utter fool.
The difference is that I know now to be kind to myself. I let myself feel whatever it is I want to. I observe and process those feelings, then after the appropriate amount of time, move on from those feelings instead of letting them do a number on my self-esteem. It may seem painfully obvious to most but knowing that the way others (negatively) treat me says more about themselves than it does me has been a much-needed revelation.
In the interest of brevity (you’d be surprised how many times I’ve been asked to “get to the point” with these rambles), I will end this tirade with what is perhaps a very overused but truthful cliché:
kindness costs you nothing but makes all the difference.
And on that note, please consider this sentence a smooth transition to today’s recipe for these easy summer rolls.
Delightfully moreish and packed to the brim with rice noodles, avocado and colourful crisp veggies – I’ll often make up an entire plate of these alongside a delectable peanut sauce for a light lunch or dinner.
If I’m honest, the best part about homemade summer rolls?
You never ever have to share.
- ½ a red or yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced lengthways or julienned
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- ½ a small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ a medium avocado, sliced
- ½ cup leafy greens of choice (salad greens, romaine lettuce or baby spinach all work well)
- ¼ cup loosely packed coriander, roughly chopped
- ½ cup of cooked white rice noodles
- Sliced baked tofu or tempeh (optional)
- 6-8 large rice paper wrappers (mine were 22cm wide)
- 4 tbsp of powdered peanut butter OR 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce OR Bragg's liquid aminos
- ½ tbsp Sriracha (or more to taste)
- 2-4 tbsp of water to thin
- Start by chopping and assembling all of your raw veggies and, if using, protein of choice. Arranging them on a an extra cutting board or plate next to your workspace is ideal.
- In the meantime, place your rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for about 5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
- To a large and slightly shallow plate, add a quarter cup of warm (but not boiling) water. Before you roll each wrapper, soak it in the water for 5 seconds on each side. Then transfer to a cutting board (or clean rolling surface) to get started. At the time of rolling, your paper should be just malleable enough to work with - not crisp or rigid but not falling apart either.
- Assemble the rolls using a small. handful of greens, followed by rice noodles then a couple of slices of each type of veggies and once slice of protein, if using. top with coriander and proceed to roll as you would a small burrito or a large vine leaf. Be sure not to over-stuff your rolls to avoid breakage.
- Repeat as needed, soaking extra rice wrappers to use up all your stuffing. How many rolls you get in the end will really depend on how much you decide to put in each one.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Start with two tbsp of water, adding more to thin as needed - I personally prefer a thicker texture. Taste and adjust for seasonings/spice level.
I first discovered rice paper rolls on a trip to Bali in 2014 – and it’s safe to say it’s been an ongoing love affair ever since.
Admittedly, there is a fair amount of trial-and-error involved with learning how to roll them, but I guarantee you they will still taste delicious, no matter how deformed they look at first.
And look – I know I said you don’t have to share, but if you do happen to make these for you’re an audience, they are bona fide crowd-pleasers (please, however, do take this as your official PSA to not attend any ‘socially distanced barbecues’ this summer).
Before I sign off for today, I’d like to ask you to do just one thing.
Take a second to think of the people that surround you. Whether they’re family members, loved ones, friends, co-workers, acquaintances or even old flames – everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, consideration and respect.
Until next time, dear readers.