October 08, 2006
Spring Rolls are made with pastries filled mostly with julienne vegetables (such as cabbages, carrots, or mushrooms). Some include semi cooked ground meat which is cooked in the steam while frying, while others have seafood in them. The filling is wrapped in a thin, flour wrapper, and usually deep fried. Pork is typically used for Vietnamese fried spring rolls.
Till recently I did not know how easy it is to make spring rolls, especially since here we get the wrapper ready to roll.
I had stopped ordering it from restaurants since they almost always contain pork. Here I did not try making it with semi cooked ground meat, instead just cooked the chicken lightly and shredded it.The vegetables are a creative combination, so feel free to change it. Just remember to keep the size of each vegetable very thin.
This appetizer tastes just as good without the chicken, with all the flavors and textures from the different vegetables.
Somebody suggested baking the wrapped rolls instead of frying so thats a healthy alternative. I used the 5 inch pastry sheets available in the Asian/Indian grocery stores.
Freezer Note: These rolls also freeze well. After making them, lay them quite seperated on a plate/tray and freeze them uncovered for an hour or so. When they are well frozen,they will not stick to each other. Remove them from the tray and pack them together in thick freezer bags. When you need them, defrost outside for half hour or microwave for a very short time (20-30 seconds) and then fry them.
You will need: For about 20 small rolls or 12 big rolls
2 small chicken breasts (Optional)
Carrots-1/2 cup cut into thin pieces.
Green chilies-3 finely chopped
Cabbage-1 1/2 cups very finely shredded
Coriander /cilantro- 1/4 cups finely chopped
Scallions/Sping Onion-1/2 cup very finely shredded
Bean sprouts-1 cup (Optional)
Cooked thin noodles- 1/4 cup cut into pieces.
Light Soy sauce-2 tablespoons
Garlic clove --1 finely chopped
Black pepper- 1 tsp
Salt-1/2 tsp or to taste
20 small spring roll wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying
1. Cut all the vegetables very finely along its length. They should be thin and almost of the same size. Cut the cabbage into half and slice it from the inside surface to make thin strands. The vegetables and spices have to be all cut up and handy before you fire up the pan. The cooking time is minimal so there is no time to stray from the pan searching for something. ( Which is what I end up doing most of the time.) If using chicken, cut chicken into medium sized pieces and cook with salt, 1 tsp pepper and 1 tsp soy sauce for about 7 minutes. When cooked, cut it or shred it into tiny pieces. Instead of chicken you could add cooked shrimp or mushrooms.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large shallow pan or wok and when it is very hot, stir fry the chicken. Then add all the vegetables and garlic for about 2-4 minutes. Keep stirring while the heat is high to distribute the heat evenly. The vegetables should not be cooked/wilted fully. Add the salt, pepper and soy sauce, stir thoroughly and check seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Do not put too much soy sauce. The cilantro and green part of the scallions(spring onions) should be added only after the pan is taken off the flame.Remove from heat and let it cool.
3. On a board, place 1 spring roll diagonally. Spoon about 2 tsp of filling on center half of skin. If using bigger wrappers, add more accordingly. Fold roll over filling, away from you tucking the point under filling. Fold side points over filling, and roll away from you toward the remaining corner. Moisten top point with a little water, folding over and pressing to seal.
4. Heat a deep skillet with oil, and fry spring rolls on medium heat until brown. If the oil is not hot enough, the spring roll will absorb more oil so maintain the heat. If it is too hot it will brown unevenly. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with spicy sauce for dipping.
Sweet and Spicy sauce:
2 tbsp Rice Vine Vinegar or Regular Vinegar mixed with 1 tsp sugar.
3- 4 whole red chilies or 1 tbsp red chili flakes packed in oil.
1 tsp sugar
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp soy sauce.
1 tbsp tomato sauce
Soak the red chilies in the vinegar for 10-15 minutes. Grind all the ingredients together. Add salt and sugar if needed.