Cooking With Kids is our new weekly recipe series on getting creative in the kitchen with the family.
In need of new lunch inspiration that the kids will love and have fun making? Chef and founder of Rosa’s Thai Cafe restaurant in London, Saiphin Moore, has a healthy veggie solution with her Vietnamese-inspired summer rolls recipe – a quick, easy and healthy dish that can be put together in under half an hour.
The secret to a good summer roll is in the rolling technique and practice makes perfect. “Kids can learn how to concentrate and be patient when cooking, as rolling summer rolls isn’t as easy as it looks!” she explains. “Each time is better than the last. If the first one goes wrong they can try again to improve.”
The best part is that you can customise it with whatever ingredients on hand and it’s a creative way to get kids to eat their vegetables. “Traditionally, fresh rolls in Vietnam are made with shredded pork with prawns, but this vegan version uses the peanut sauce as a protein source in the wrap,” Moore says. “Feel free to modify the recipe and stuff them with any mixed leaves you prefer and dip them in sweet chilli, peanut sauce, or even tamarind sauce.”
Vegetarian Summer Rolls
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 5 mins
6 rice paper sheets (spring roll wrappers) with a diameter of 16cm
140g dried rice vermicelli
250g iceberg lettuce, shredded
100g carrot, shredded
30g mint leaves, roughly chopped
30g fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
30g Sweet Thai basil (or Italian basil), roughly chopped (Optional)
1 teaspoon of peanut sauce (per roll)
1 pot of sweet chilli dipping sauce or sauce of choice, to serve
1. Cook the vermicelli for the filling. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. While that’s on the go, soak the vermicelli in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes, then drain. Once the water hits a rolling boil, carefully drop the vermicelli into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, until done, then drain and leave to cool to room temperature.
2. To make the rolls, fill a large shallow bowl with warm water. Take a sheet of rice paper and dip it into the water for 3-5 seconds, until translucent, then place it on a clean work surface. Tip: Make sure the paper rolls don’t become too soft, otherwise you won’t be able to wrap them easily. 5 seconds in warm water max.
3. Put a quarter of the lettuce in a mound in the centre of the paper, followed by a quarter of the carrot, mint, coriander, basil and vermicelli.
4. To roll up, fold the side of the wrapper closest to you over the filling, ensuring it is tucked in neatly and tightly over the filling. Next, fold the right side of the wrapper toward the centre, pulling it taut across the filling, and press down the edges of the wrapper to seal. Repeat with the left side. Now roll up the filling in the wrapper, pushing the roll away from you, to create a log-shaped parcel.
5. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. I recommend sweet chilli or peanut sauce.
For more recipes Rosa Thai Cafe: The Cookbook by Saiphin Moore, published by Mitchell Beazley in hardback, £14.28.