Big Daddy's Crunchy Spring Rolls
Many Americans are confused as to the difference between "spring" rolls, and
"egg" rolls. I know I was before researching the subject. Spring
rolls are traditionally served during celebrations of the Chinese New Year. New year
is celebrated later in China than it is in the west, coinciding more closely with spring -
hence the name. An egg roll is a variation on the traditional spring roll and is
made by dipping the rolls in egg just before frying.
Timing is the key to successfully preparing America's favorite oriental appetizer. The
rolls can't sit for too long before they are fried, an hour at most, so plan accordingly.
These wonderfully crunchy delights are a lot of work, but not really that hard.
This recipe makes enough filling for 12-16 rolls, depending on how much filling
||spring roll pastry (see note)
||pork or chicken -- ground or shredded
||roughly chopped bean sprouts
||Chinese cabbage -- shredded
bean thread or thin rice noodles
||carrot -- shredded
(about one large carrot)
||scallion greens --
|oil for frying
Blanch the shredded cabbage in boiling water for 30 seconds and
immediately cool down with cool, fresh water.
Cook the noodles according to package directions, leaving them al dente (a
If making chicken spring rolls, simmer the chicken in water until done, about
20 minutes. Allow to cool and then pull into shreds.
If making pork spring rolls brown the ground pork, adding a little salt and
pepper, drain completely and allow to cool.
Heat the wok over medium high heat until a bead of water evaporates immediately on
contact. Add the peanut and sesame oil and swirl around in the wok. The oil is ready when a
shred of veggie sizzles when dropped in. Add all veggies along with the garlic
and ginger and immediately toss to mix and
coat. Continue stir frying for about 2 to 3 minutes, tossing frequently, until
the cabbage has become tender. Add in the noodles and meat and allow
everything to heat through, about 30 seconds. Finally add the sauces and
toss all to combine.
Set aside to cool completely. If you wish to do this in two
steps, simply place the filling in the fridge until ready to build the spring
Building the Spring Rolls
Carefully peel one of the square wrappers from the stack and place on the work surface
in front of you so that it appears as a baseball diamond with you sitting behind home
plate. Scoop up 2-3 tablespoons of filling and pile it on the wrapper running
horizontally just below the pitcher's mound ;^)
On your diamond the filling should be about 4" wide and 1" deep. There
should be about 1" between the edge of the filling and the edge of the wrapper. Take
the bottom corner of the "diamond" and fold it up and over the pile of filling.
Roll the pile of filling forward 1/2 turn. Brush the surface of the pile of filling with
egg wash and fold in each corner of the wrapper (at first and third base) over the pile of
filling. Roll forward until about 1-1/2 inches of wrapper up at 2nd base remain.
With your finger or a pastry brush, paint the
wrapper at 2nd base with water or beaten egg and finish rolling (this helps bind
the wrapper and prevents it from coming apart in the wok. Set finished spring roll on a
plate, seam down, under damp paper towels until ready to fry (one hour maximum.)
Heat the oil for frying in a wok or other heavy pot to 350 degrees. Because of their density
the spring rolls will quickly cool
the oil. This is okay as long as the initial temperature is at least 350
degrees so always allow the oil to come back to temperature before adding the
next batch. To prevent the oil from cooling too much don't crowd the cooker
with too many of the spring rolls at once, 3-4 at a time will do.
Fry in oil for about two minutes all together, turning if not completely
submerged - until they are a
- The spring rolls should not be prepared more than one hour before cooking,
otherwise the wrappers will begin to turn soggy.
- You can try and find the imported spring roll pastry as they are far superior to the standard
supermarket brands. You will probably need to find
an Asian specialty market or order them on-line, . I use "Spring Home" imported from Singapore and very
reasonably priced. They are 8" square. If this is inconvenient then
use the packaged egg roll wrappers found in the supermarket, usually in the