Vietnamese food is known for its veggie-heavy main courses and intensely aromatic herbs, and the freshness of all the meals is what makes them so light and inviting. Summer rolls (traditionally known as gỏi cuốn) are an exceptional example of putting vegetables front and center of the meal. Stuffed into a slightly tangy and translucent rice paper wrap, they’re like a portable salad, poised for dipping. The fillings are only as limited as your imagination allows, and the recipe here is a fusion of the author's upbringing. You can also try any combination of cabbage, lettuces, sprouts, peppers, jicama, summer squash, scallions, cilantro, and mint—be creative!
Swiss Chard Summer Roll With Citrus Soy-Marinated Tofu [Vegan]
For the Marinated Tofu:
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) soy sauce
- 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece ginger, minced
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 block (14 ounces, or 390 g) extra-firm tofu, sliced ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick crosswise
For the Dipping Sauce:
- 1/2 cup (125 g) hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) sugar
- 11/2 tablespoons (25 ml) sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- Juice of 1 lemon
For the Wraps and Fillings:
- 16 to 18 sheets rice paper (22 centimeter [about 8 1/2 inches] diameter)
- 1 bunch chard, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
- 1 bunch basil, torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 2 carrots, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) matchsticks
- 1 cucumber, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) matchsticks
For the Marinade:
- To make the marinade, combine the soy sauce, ginger, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a resealable plastic bag. Add the tofu to the bag and gently toss, making sure all the slices are coated. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the remaining ingredients, at least 15 minutes.
- To make the dipping sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the sauce among smaller bowls for each guest and set aside.
For the Rolls:
- Remove the tofu from the bag and discard the marinade. In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, fry the tofu, browning each side for about 3 minutes until a toasty crust forms. Transfer the tofu to a cutting board, cut into thinner slices lengthwise, and set aside with the other fillings.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. Using both hands, dip the rice paper in the water for a few seconds until the whole sheet is moistened. Carefully lay the rice paper flat on your work surface, smoothing out any folds, and wait a minute for the sheet to become soft and pliable.
- Layer the marinated tofu, chard, basil, avocado, carrots, and cucumbers in the bottom third of the rice paper. Tightly fold the bottom edge over the fillings and roll the paper away from you. Fold the sides in about halfway up and continue rolling to the end. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and fillings, and serve the rolls with the dipping sauce.
- The rice paper will start to stiffen if left out for too long, so it’s best to wrap as you eat.