What Can You Put in a Spring Roll?

I’m on a roll this week, forgive the pun.

What do you like a a spring roll? This is just one example with minced pork but you could try chicken, char sui pork, egg, duck, pure veg – what ever you fancy, the possibilities are endless. If you’re looking for more ideas scroll down.

Spring Roll Wrappers
Oil (to fry in)
500g minced pork
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup of cornflour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 head of Chinese leaf cabbage
1 carrot
A cup of fresh bean sprouts
1 inch fresh ginger, grounded
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
Ground pepper
Preparing the filling
Fry off the pork mince and ginger in a large wok and once cooked, stir in the carrots and cabbage. Add the Chinese rice wine (I used Michiu), soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar,  a good grind of pepper, as well as just a teaspoon of the cornflour. When everything is nicely combined, take off the heat and allow to cool completely. The mixture needs to be drained of as much of the juices that will come out, especially after resting.  The more you drain now, the less likely the spring rolls will be soggy later (especially if you are planning on freezing them to cook at a later date).

When the mixture is cooled, add the fresh bean-sprouts. These, being so delicate, will get enough cooking in the frying phase alone.

Get rolling

The mixture, now drained and cooled, can now be rolled in to the wrappers. Prepare a dry work surface, and mix together the rest of the cornflour with a 1/4 cup of water. You will use this mixture as glue to close each wrapper.

Keep the rolls small – a spoonful at a time is best. It depends on the size of the pastry sheets you have, but consider that the wrapping needs to be tight which is easier with smaller rolls. Lose folds will make for greasier spring rolls, letting the oil collect in the pockets of air.

Place a row of the mixture in one corner of the sheet. Fold over the corner and begin to roll the wrapper towards the centre. At half way, fold in the sides tightly tugging down slightly in the direction of the already folded corner, so that the sides are as parallel as possible. This will ensure neater roll ends. Brush the flour water over the last corner to act as adhesive as you roll to the corner tightly.

To Fry
Heat about one and a half inches of oil in a pan carefully. Test the heat of the oil with a wooden chopstick (or the end of a wooden spoon) – if the oil bubbles steadily around the wood, the oil is at optimum temperature (but not bubbling furiously as this means it is too hot).

Slip each roll in gently and allow to fry for a minute or two on each side or until golden brown. Then remove and drain on a rack or some kitchen towel before serving. If you want to serve many in one go, have a baking tray on standby so that you can place batches of spring rolls onto and place them in a preheated oven to keep warm.

Other Filling Ideas

  • Char Sui Pork, bean sprouts, peas and carrots with a ginger, soy sauce and shaoxing wine seasoning.
  • Chicken and Chinese leaf cabbage with spring onions, shitake mushrooms, carrot, bean sprouts, garlic, ginger, light soy sauce, five spice & oyster sauce.
  • Finely sliced bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, shitake mushrooms, carrot and pepper, with soy sauce and oyster sauce.
  • Duck, Hoisin sauce, brown sugar, dark soy sauce, ginger and spring onion.
  • How about spicy king prawns, vermicelli noodles and coriander?

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