Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce

You guys, tomorrow is a big day. I can hardly contain my excitement…

We’re getting air conditioning!!!!! And we’re celebrating with these:

Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking


I know, all y’all over in the other 45 or so states that are actually already experiencing fall must think I’m crazy. Why bother getting air conditioning installed in the MIDDLE OF OCTOBER??? Well, let me just tell you that if you had been sweltering in the unusually high temperatures that Santa Barbara has been experiencing this year (in fact, the last couple of years) you would be right there with me in my utter joy and happiness. It has been over 90 degrees here pretty consistently for the last month or so, and with little to no air flow going through our house it’s just been a nightmare.

I keep saying to myself, “Maybe this will be the last heat wave of the year?” One can only hope.

As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about this air conditioning and the fact that soon I may be able to get in a good night’s sleep without tossing and turning in a fevered sweat all night. In the meantime, I’m celebrating our last night in an oven-like house with one last (almost) no-cook recipe. And it still manages to sneak in a little bit of fall!
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
These Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce are pretty legit. They are fresh, full of healthy proteins and vegetables, and accompanied by a lip-smacking sauce that is definitely not your average peanut-dipping-sauce-from-that-hole-in-the-wall-takeout-Thai- restaurant. Just saying.
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
Because it just makes me giddy, let’s talk about this sauce for a minute. I used this recipe from Salt & Wind, and just subbed in peanut butter for the almond butter. I wanted to make a riff on the average peanut sauce, and the red curry was just what I was looking for. I also liked the addition of the pumpkin puree to make it qualify for the “fall recipe” category [as this may be one of my all-time favorite recipe categories.] These three main ingredients give the sauce the perfect combination of sweetness, salt and spice and really liven up such a healthy, raw dish as Summer Rolls.
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
Speaking of Summer Rolls…For these, I had a really hard time deciding which fillings to include and which fillings to omit. I settled on two types of protein: shrimp and tofu. Since this was my first time attempting Summer Rolls, I ended up going the fairly traditional route for veggies with carrots, cucumber, cilantro and avocado. [Full disclaimer: I also bought some Swiss chard to include but ended up omitting it because after laying out all of the other ingredients I felt I had more than enough.] But that’s the cool thing about these rolls! They’re totally customizable and you really can use whatever veggies and protein you want. Go wild!
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
The whole process of wrapping up the rolls was completely new to me, but I started to get the hang of it, oh, around the second to last one. There is a certain finesse to getting those fine rice papers to roll up tightly without tearing!
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking
But really, there was no noticing any rolls that might have had some spillage at the seams once they got dunked in this dipping sauce. And there’s no need to hold back. This sauce recipe makes MORE than enough for this batch of Summer Rolls. After lavishly drowning your rolls in this dreamy sauce, you’ll still have enough leftover for a second dinner this week…I did!
Either way, you won’t regret making this. And it is so nice and healthy! My thoughts are that you can really eat as much as you want of this stuff.
Do any of you have a Summer Roll recipe I should try? I’m dying to keep working on my wrapping skills!
Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce
Ingredients
For the Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce:
  • adapted from Salt & Wind
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter it's best not to use fresh ground for this, I prefer [Earth Balance|http://amzn.to/1OfwGhj
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup hot water
For the Summer Rolls:
  • One dozen medium shrimp can be pre-cooked or you can cook them beforehand yourself
  • One package extra firm tofu patted dry with paper towels then cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil coconut oil or bacon grease*
  • 1 package rice paper wrappers
  • 2 large carrots. shredded I used my food processor, or you can always buy pre-shredded at the supermarket!
  • 1 medium to large cucumber julienned
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • *This may sound absurd but trust me. Every time we cook bacon, rather than trying to find an environmentally sound way to dispose of the grease, we put it in a mason jar in the refrigerator (be sure to let it cool to room temp first!) We then pull it out and use it as "oil" for anything we want to saute/roast/grill with an added taste of umami/salty/savory goodness.
Instructions
  1. First, make the dipping sauce. Whisk together all sauce ingredients except for the hot water. Once these ingredients are incorporated, whisk in the hot water. Refrigerate until ready to use. This will help it thicken up a bit.
  2. Heat your choice of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add tofu. Do not stir until the side of the tofu in contact with the skillet has gotten a nice golden-brown. Once it has, stir so that all sides take on this same hue. Once tofu is golden on all sides, remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Organize all of your Summer Roll fillings into an assembly line of sorts. Fill a pie plate (or other vessel of similar size) with an inch or two of water. You will need this to soften up your rice paper. You will also need some counter/plastic cutting board space to assemble the rolls. I used my marble pastry slab which worked pretty well.
  4. Place the rice paper wrappers in the dish of water one at a time. They will take about 10-15 seconds to completely soften up. Feel free to swish them around in the water as needed. Once the wrapper is soft, remove it from the water dish and place flat on your work space. Starting about one third of the way up from the bottom of the wrapper, start layering your toppings. I went in this order: cucumber, carrot, cilantro, protein (tofu or shrimp), avocado. This seemed to work fairly well.
  5. Bring the bottom third of the rice paper up towards the filling, while sort of tucking the filling back into the paper as you roll, making it as tight as possible. Once you have the filling contained in the wrapper, fold both sides over, then continuing rolling as tight as possible. When you get to the end (which should be at the top of your work space), the rice paper should stick to itself fairly easily, but if you need to help it along just dab on a little more water with your finger.
  6. As I said, I am far from a pro at Summer Roll wrapping, but the process did get easier as I went along. I also got a better feel for how much of each filling item to include in each roll. Practice makes perfect!
Recipe Notes

Wine Pairing Suggestion: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Reisling or Gewurtztraminer.

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Summer Rolls with Red Curry-Peanut-Pumpkin Dipping Sauce | CaliGirl Cooking

Practicing for my close-up…

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