I've been making different versions of Thai and Vietnamese style steak salads with rice noodles, aromatics, fresh chilli and fish sauce for quite a few years now. When I was running through my list of recipe ideas trying to figure out what to cook this weekend I found a scribbled note that I can't even remember writing down. The note told me that an Asian steak salad would be absolutely delicious rolled up in a rice spring roll wrapper, with the dressing acting as a dipping sauce. Thus, these Vietnamese Steak Salad Summer Rolls were born.
As you can tell, learning how to wrap these beauties (which, wrapped individually in damp kitchen paper make great lunch box fodder) takes practice; mine are not quite perfect yet. However, one tip I've discovered is to not let the spring roll wrapper totally soften in hot water. If you soak them a little, one at a time but take it out of the water just before the manufacturing markings soften, they'll be much easier to handle.
This recipe makes 5-6 Summer Rolls, which is great for just one of you for lunch, or for two of you as a starter or part of a bigger spread. Buy in loads of the fixings, make up the dressing, prepare the vegetable and cook the noodles, and then carry dishes of hot water, the wrappers and just sliced warm steak to the table as a DIY dish for friends. Sake based cocktails would be brilliant here.
- Small Nest of Vermicelli Rice Noodles
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1/2 tsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
- Juice of 1/2 Lime
- Large Pinch Golden Caster Sugar
- 1/4 Cucumber
- 2 Large Spring Onions
- 1/2 Red Chilli
- Generous Handful Fresh Coriander Leaves
- 1 Small Steak
- Vegetable Oil
- 5-6 Rice Spring Roll Wrappers
Cook the noodles until tender in a pan of boiling water. Ignore the instructions on the packet that tell you just to soak them in boiling water; I've never actually had this work for me. Meanwhile, prepare the dipping sauce and your vegetables.
Whisk together the fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce, lime juice and a generous pinch of golden caster sugar, and set aside. Cut the cucumber into very thin matchsticks, and shred the spring onions and the chilli, deseeded.
Rinse the cooked noodles under cold water to rinse off any starch from the cooking water and to cool them down. Rub the steak with a little bit of steak, and fry in a very hot pan over a very high heat for a few minutes on each side, until the steak is well browned and but still pink inside. Let the steak rest for a few minutes, then slice into very thin strips.
Fill a shallow dish with very, very hot water. Dip the rice spring roll wrappers into the water until they have just started to soften then carefully lay it out flat on a clean cutting board. Build your roll 1/3 of the way in, keeping 1/4 of clear rice wrap on each side. Try and keep the steak, coriander and chilli pieces on the bottom; it will make for prettier rolls once they're all wrapped up! Fold the top of the roll over the filling to seal it in, and roll over once as tight as you can. Fold the sides in to create a rectangle with the roll at the top, and tightly roll the whole thing up, trying not to tear the rice wrap. Repeat until you've used ip all of your filling, and enjoy!
If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to steak, you can always go for pork belly. Pretty much all of the ingredients are the same in these rolls as well as in my Korean Pork Belly Bun Bowls, so I now really, really want to try wrapping them, complete with marinated pork strips up as Summer rolls. I think I've become a bit alternative Summer roll obsessed!