Avocado, watercress and dill summer rolls with orange and soy dipping sauce

Avocado, watercress and dill summer rolls with orange and soy dipping sauce

I am going to be begin with a word of warning. A few years ago, fresh back from a trip to Vietnam and full of enthusiasm for this brilliant cuisine I booked a meal at a rather upmarket Vietnamese restaurant in London. I excitedly ordered a large plate of summer rolls delighted to be sharing this new discovery with my fellow diners only to find that half the party did not make it beyond the first bite. It turns out the texture of rice wrappers is not for everyone. This really is their loss for rice wrappers provide an excellent – and entirely wheat free – vehicle by which to get fresh salady ingredients from plate to mouth without the aid of cutlery. Genius.  Summer rolls often contain rice vermicelli. If you want a bit of bulk by all means add some cooked and cooled vermicelli (vermicelli takes little more than a dunk in some boiling water to be considered cooked and so this addition will add little to your preparation time). For me though, the lightness of this dish is what I like. The rolls works well as a delicate starter leaving space for a more hearty meal or as part of a platter of nibbles before an evening out providing satisfying flavour without being too filling.

Rice wrappers are increasingly making their way onto supermarket shelves but if you can’t find them there you should be able to get hold of a pack from any Chinese supermarket. A bit of speed is required in the composition as the rice wrappers, once moistened, quickly become sticky and start to misbehave. If it begins to feel like you are having a fight with some ultra-adhesive clingfilm it is best to accept defeat and start again.   


Avocado, watercress and dill summer rolls with orange and soy dipping sauce
Serves: 4
  • 1 pack 20 inch rice wrappers
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 large avocado
  • 8 French radishes
  • 75g watercress
  • 1 bunch dill, washed
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Dipping sauce
  • 1 large orange, juiced
  • 25ml soy sauce
  1. To make the dipping sauce place the orange juice in a pan on a low heat for 7-8 minutes so it reduces by around two thirds. Take of the heat and mix with the soy sauce. Place in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. Take the cucumber and slice into thin strips using a julienne peeler or sharp knife. Only cut the outer flesh of the cucumber discarding the more watery core.
  3. Halve and peel the avocado, remove the stone and slice lengthways in half inch slices. Slice the radishes lengthways.
  4. Fill a bowl with slightly warm water. The diameter of the bowl needs to be wider than the rice paper so that the rice paper can be fully immersed in the water.
  5. Dunk one rice paper in the bowl of water for 5 seconds. Give it a shake to get rid of excess water and lay on a clean chopping board.
  6. Near one of the edges of the paper place a handful or two of the watercress tearing any larger clumps into smaller sections as the rolls are meant to be eaten by hand.
  7. Next, place two or three slices of the avocado on top of the watercress. Then, take a few sprigs of dill and, using a pair of scissors, chop finely over the avocado and watercress and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Fold the near edge the wrapper over the contents, then fold both sides into the middle and roll up.
  9. Serve with the dipping sauce.

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