This recipe for crunchy, bright vegetarian summer rolls from cookbook author and recipe developer Lara Lee is a cross-cultural twist on two street food icons: refreshing Vietnamese gỏi cuốn, or summer rolls, and Indonesian gado-gado, a colorful composed salad with a spicy peanut dressing. Lee likes to arrange the halved summer rolls on a platter along with sliced hard-boiled eggs and crispy, airy prawn crackers—two common gado-gado ingredients—with a side of homemade peanut sauce for dipping. Her tip for making tight and neat rolls: Soak the rice paper rounds until they’re just flexible and take care not to overfill them. Perfecting your rolling technique might take some practice, but we’re using that as an excuse to make these again and again.
cup plus 2 Tbsp. (or more) vegetable oil
cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, preferably skin-on
large shallots, thinly sliced
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
Tbsp. kecap manis, divided
oz. firm tofu, sliced ¼” thick
8″ rice paper rounds
cups 2″ matchsticks crunchy vegetables (such as carrots, cucumber, and/or bean sprouts)
head of romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
hard-boiled eggs, halved
Prawn crackers (for serving)
Heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook peanuts, tossing, until slightly darkened, about 1 minute. Add shallots, garlic, and chiles and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots and garlic are softened, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer peanut mixture to a blender; wipe out skillet and reserve. Add 5 Tbsp. kecap manis and ⅔ cup water to blender and season with salt. Blend, thinning with more water a tablespoonful at a time if needed, until smooth and a pourable consistency. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.
Pat tofu dry. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in reserved skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, cook tofu, adding a splash or so more of oil if pan looks dry, until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels; season with salt. Cut into about 2″ long matchsticks.
Working one at a time, dip rice paper rounds into a large shallow bowl filled with hot water and let soak until pliable but not floppy. Transfer to a work surface and arrange 3–4 pieces of tofu, ¼ cup vegetables, and a heaping ¼ cup lettuce horizontally across center, leaving a 2″ gap on each side (be careful not to overfill). Drizzle ¼ tsp. kecap manis over. Using moistened fingers, fold sides up and over filling, then fold side nearest to you up and over filling and roll up gently but tightly.
Cut rolls in half on a diagonal. Arrange on plates with eggs and crackers. Serve with peanut sauce alongside for dipping.