Fresh Chicken Summer Rolls

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Summer rolls are my go-to quick meals in the summertime and occasionally in the Winter when I want a light but filling meal. They can be packed full of your favourite veggies, proteins, herbs, and always be delicious. Though a lot of people know what summer rolls are – it seems a lot of people also don’t seem to realize how easy (and cheap!) they are to make!

In most restaurants, two of these wraps can go for $5-6. It’s a lot more cost saving (and fun) to be making these at home! Try to go through this recipe and see if it becomes a staple for your own hot summer days.


INGREDIENTS & COSTS FOR 6 WRAPS
TAKES 30 MINUTES, SERVES 2

1/4 of a package of thin vermicelli noodles ($0.49)
6 Rice Paper Wraps ($0.39)
1 Carrot ($0.16)
1/3 Cucumber ($0.66)
6 Romaine Lettuce Leaves ($0.30)
1/2 cup of fresh Basil (Thai Basil if you can find it!) ($0.49)

FOR THE PROTEIN: (You can use any protein you’d like, ex: substitute chicken with 1/2 block of Tofu)

1 Chicken breast ($2.33)
1 Tsp Corn Starch ($0.01)
2 Tsp Soya Sauce – 1 for marinade, 1 for sautéing ($0.02)
1 Tsp Ginger ($0.01)
1 garlic clove ($0.02)
1 scallion ($0.09)
1 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.05)
1 Thai Chili Pepper (Optional)

Total Cost = $5.02* – $0.83 each!

Compared to the $5-6 for 2 at restaurants! For the amount you make – its comparing $5.00 to $15.00-$18.00! That’s a great trade off.

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

The very first thing you should do is boil a small pot of water for your vermicelli noodles. I personally think the texture of the noodles is the most important part of these wraps, they should never be wet and soggy! While the water boils, gather all your ingredients!

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Preparing your protein should be the next step. Chop the green onions then mince the garlic, ginger, and Thai chili if you opted for it to be spicy! Next slice your protein (I used chicken), then add in the cornstarch and soy sauce. Mix it all together!

By now your water should be boiled. Add in the 1/4 package of vermicelli noodles. Lower the heat to medium and cook the noodles for about 2 minutes. Once the noodles look cooked, drain and rinse using a sift. Try to squeeze are much water out as possible and cool the noodles in the fridge. Putting the noodles in the fridge allows it dry out a bit more and allows it to have a great texture!

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Once your protein ingredients are ready, set a pan on the stove at medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and wait for it to heat. Once heated, add in the ginger. As soon as it gets aromatic, add in the protein. Stir for about 2 minutes and wait for the chicken (or your choice of protein) to cook through. Once it does, add in the green onions, garlic, soy sauce, and chili. Now stir quickly for another 30 seconds and take it off the heat. Set it aside.

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Now that your protein is set, start cutting up your veggies! I chose the julienne most of the vegetables so it’s easy to fit into the wraps.

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Once your veggies are ready, you can now start making your wraps! Take the noodles out of the fridge and shake them up a bit so they pull apart.

Take a large flat bottom pan or bowl (wide enough to fit the rice paper) and fill it with warm tap water. Grab a couple paper towels and put them next to the pan, you’ll be using these to dry the rice wraps! Put a rice paper wrap in the warm water and wait for it to get soft – it shouldn’t take more than 1 minute. Once it does, take it out and try to shake off as much water as possible, then dry it on the paper towels. This allows it to stick and hold better as your make your roll! Place the wrap on a cutting board or a flat surface and start filling!

summer-rolls-healthy-instructions-copyThe easiest way to wrap is to pull up the bottom half, then the side of the wrap, and then roll it up. And there you have it! In less than 30 minutes and 5 dollars, you have a wonderfully light but filling, healthy lunch for two!

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These wraps can be further enjoyed with sriracha, hoisin sauce, and especially my All Purpose Thai Peanut Sauce! I can’t recommend that enough, it’s just wonderful.

This recipe can be gluten free if you substitute the soy sauce used in the protein to a GF soy sauce!

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Enjoy! And any feedback is 100% appreciated.


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) receipt, weekly flyer, and their website, as well as my Farmboy receipt.

Pack of 4 Chicken Breasts – $9.33
500 g No Name 100% Pure Corn Starch ($2.29) – $0.46/100g
500 ml Rootster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
Garlic – $0.88/100g
Ginger – $0.43/100g
Romaine Lettuce – $1.50
3 Lbs Carrots – $2.00
1 Cucumber – $1.50
Basil – $1.99
400 g package of Thin Vermicelli Noodles – $1.99
Six Fortune Rice Paper Wraps – $2.99(comes with 45-50 papers)

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All Purpose Thai Peanut Sauce

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I was never too keen on peanut sauces in the past, then I started getting into Thai and Vietnamese food while in University so evidently my peanut sauce intake grew exponentially. I had tried to make multiple batches of peanut sauces from recipes I saw online and they constantly turned out.. well.. bland.  They never had that extra kick of acidity the ones in the restaurants had.

The thing with the majority of Asian sauces is that they usually contain a lot of ingredients that may be hard to come by (not everyone is able to get palm sugar and tamarind paste at their local grocery store!) So I tried to make this sauce to have the ingredients that are a bit more easy to access without looking to hard! To do this I decided to play around with the flavours and ask some lovely local Thai restaurant owners what the sauce actually consists of.

It seemed the main missing ingredients so many peanut sauce recipes were rice vinegar, coconut milk, and Thai red pepper curry paste. I’m not a huge fan of coconut milk, so I decided to omit it and add water instead (you can absolutely use coconut milk). Once I added in the other ingredients(as well as a hint of sriracha because obviously), my peanut sauce took on a whole new flavour and mirrored those in my favourite restaurants.

Use this sauce for spring rolls, summer rolls, stir fries, meat satay, noodle bowels, or just about anything! Once you start making your own, it’ll be almost be painful to eat the prepared and preserved bottles you can purchase from the grocery store. 1 cup of the sauce can be used for 2 – 3 dishes or noodle bowls (depending on how saucy you like your meals). Adding a little extra water if its a bit thick won’t alter the taste too much.


INGREDIENTS for 1 CUP OF PEANUT SAUCE & COSTS
(Prep time 5-10 minutes)

1/2 cup of All Natural unsalted creamy Peanut Butter ($0.59)
1 1/2 Tsp of Red Curry Paste ($0.13)
1 1/2 Tbs of Rice Vinegar ($0.28)
1 Tsp Soy Sauce ($0.02)
1/2 cup of water (or coconut milk if you want a sweeter taste) + 1/4 cup for preference – Free (I hope!)
1 Tbs of Honey (or 1 1/2 Tbs of brown sugar if you want a vegan recipe) – ($0.21)
1 Tsp or clove of garlic (minced) – ($0.02)
1 Tsp of ginger (minced) – ($0.01)
1 Tbs of Canola Oil – ($0.05)
1 1/2 Tsp of Lime juice or juice of a quarter of Lime ($0.05)
Sriracha to taste if you like it to be spicy! (Optional)
Crushed peanuts (Optional)

Total Cost = $1.36*

Compare that to the bland, preservative filled $5.00 peanut sauces you find in grocery stores!
*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

Finely mince the ginger and the garlic (as fine as you can!) Pour the oil in a sauce pan or small pot and place it on the stove at medium-low heat. Throw in the minced garlic and ginger and wait for it to get aromatic. Once you begin to smell it cooking, toss in the red pepper curry paste and mix. Make sure the bottom of the pan doesn’t catch (no one wants burnt sauce). peanut_sauce_red_pepper_curry

Once the curry paste is well mixed in with the garlic and ginger, add in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey. Continue to stir! It should look something like this.

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Once it starts to bubble, its time to throw in that peanut butter!

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Stir stir stir! Now add in the half cup of water and stir some more! Within a minute, your sauce is almost ready and should look something like this!

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Now for the final touches, squeeze in the lime juice and add in some sriracha if you want it to have some heat! (I highly recommend you do) Once it bubbles a little bit, you’ll notice the sauce get thicker. If you want it to be a but more runny, I advise you add in another 1/4 cup of water and let it simmer for 30 seconds before taking it off the heat.

And voila! Within 5 minutes, you have your very own homemade all purpose peanut sauce for 3 servings, and all under $1.50! You can store this sauce in an air-tight container or jar for up to 1 1/2 weeks in your fridge!

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I hope you enjoy this protein packed, super simple, sauce! I’m happy to take any feedback (good or bad) or questions!


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website.

750 g President’s Choice Just Peanuts Smooth Peanut Butter ($3.99)  – $0.53/100g
400 g Cock Brand Red Curry Paste ($2.49) – $0.62/100g
355 ml Seasoned Rice Vinegar ($4.59) – $1.29/100ml
500 ml Rooster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
500 g Farm Boy™ Pure Ontario Honey ($4.99) – $0.99/100g
Garlic – $0.88/100g
Ginger – $0.43/100g
946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
125 ml Realime Single Strength Lime Juice ($0.99) – $0.79/100ml