How to Make Perfect Crispy Spring Rolls.
Spring rolls were first made in China, a rolled pancake filled with the first of the fresh Spring vegetables, served for the Spring Festival. A Cantonese speciality, they are now made from a number of ingredients often cabbage, sometimes meat, wrapped in a thin pastry. Spring Rolls are deep fried or served as larger cold variety* wrapped in rice paper. Crispy spring rolls are popular served as dim sum with a soy dip or sweet chilli sauce. Spring Rolls are popular in Eastern China and the local cuisines of Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan and Indonesia.
Authentic Chinese Spring Rolls should not be to big, just three or four bites with a light crisp shell. You should make your filling with fresh, crunchy vegetables and lots of flavour. Unfortunately, often the only time you can find really awesome Chinese spring rolls are when you make them at home or at good restaurants, who make them for themselves. Trust me one you have made your own this will be the only option in future.
You can really choose from any number of fillings for your Spring Rolls, mixed vegetables, mushrooms, minced pork, chicken, char sui pork, prawns and tofu. When you make them, you can do it in bulk and freeze on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and then transfer to a tightly sealed container. You can cook your Spring Rolls straight from frozen.
* What are Spring Rolls can all get a bit confusing. You can find Vietnamese Rolls made with rice paper are sometimes called Spring Rolls. Spring rolls are also sometimes also called Egg Rolls.
Step by Step -Top Tips
Spring roll Pastry. You start your spring rolls by buying some spring roll pastry from a really good supermarket or specialist Asian food market. They are most likely to be in the freezer section. They normally need around thirty minutes to defrost. When you open the pastry immediately cover with a damp tea towel to keep moist. The wrappers will very quickly dry out and crack quickly if left uncovered.
Making the filling. The next stage is for you to make the filling in my recipe. In the recipe there are very finely sliced carrots, red pepper, bean sprouts and spring onions or scallions. If you practise your knife skills or use a mandolin you will get them fine enough to not require cooking. If you are not confident or feel your prepped vegetables are a little thick you can flash fry them in a wok for a couple of minutes.
Other Ingredients. Your other main ingredients are the aromatics or flavouring ingredients, I use garlic, stem ginger and Hoi sin sauce, which go well with the duck. You can experiment with oyster sauce or make your own. Finally, if you want to add ground chicken or pork or prawns you will need to cook them first. For this recipe I am using shredded duck meat from a cooked confit duck leg. If you are adding a cooked ingredient, you need to make sure it is thoroughly chilled, as a hot filling will start to steam the pastry and may cause it to burst when frying.
Frying. When you are ready to cook heat up a neutral vegetable oil in a wok or deep sided pan. Cook in batches and turn regularly to cook evenly. When they are golden brown carefully remove and drain on kitchen paper. You can keep your cooked spring rolls warm in an oven until all of the spring rolls are cooked.
Making your Crispy Spring Rolls.
Did you know there are two sides spring roll pastry? One side is smoother than the other and this is the side you need to place down on your clean work surface. Place one tablespoon of your prepared filling near the corner. Do not over fill as this may cause the spring roll to burst.
Next you mix a little cold water and corn flour together to a make a thin paste. Then brush this mix over the pastry then tightly fold in the corners. Close up the spring roll, rolling nice and tightly.
Try to eliminate any air pockets as they my cause the parcel to burst. Keep them all covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. At this stage you can freeze the spring rolls for future use. If cooking from frozen take extra care when placing into the hot oil.
- 1 Confit Duck Leg skinned and shredded
- 2 large Carrots peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
- 6 Spring Onions washed, trimmed and cut into thin matchsticks
- 1 Red Pepper deseeded and finely sliced
- 60 gram fresh Beansprouts
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled and finely crushed
- 1 piece Stem Ginger finely grated
- A small handfull Fresh Coriander finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons Hoi sin sauce
- 16- 18 frozen Spring roll wrappers defrosted
- 1 heaped tablespoon Corn flour
- 2 litres Vegetable Oil for frying
- Precook your confit duck leg or buy in from a good local delicatessen.
- Defrost spring roll pastry / wrappers.
- Get to work on the vegetables and finely cut up the carrots, pepper and spring onion.
- Mix all of the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl.
- Mix the corn flour with a little cold water until it is the consistency of single cream.
- Open the spring roll package, cover with a and cover with damp towel to prevent drying out.
- Place one piece of pastry on to your work surface and add 1 tablespoon of filling. Brush with corn flour mix and roll up.
- Keep the prepared spring rolls covered with cling film to prevent them from drying out and splitting.
- In your wok or a large heavy bottomed pan heat the oil to 160°C / 320 F using a thermometer to check.
- If you do not have a thermometer have a few cubes of stale white bread to hand. Place in a bread cube in the oil if it rises to the surface and cooks to a golden brown in a couple of minutes the oil is hot enough.
- Carefully slide in the 3 or 4 spring rolls, into the oil to fry. Turn occasionally to brown evenly and fry for about four minutes.
- Remove carefully and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining spring rolls.