“Spring rolls are a large variety of filled, rolled appetizers or dim sum found in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. The name is a literal translation of the Chinese chūn juǎn (春卷 ‘spring roll’). The kind of wrapper, fillings, and cooking technique used, as well as the name, vary considerably within this large area, depending on the region’s culture. Spring rolls of different shapes, sizes and fillings have been a popular snack in Asia for centuries. It is believed that spring rolls originated from China. It was a seasonal food consumed during the spring, started as a pancake filled with the new season’s spring vegetables, a welcome change from the preserved foods of the long winter months. Fried spring rolls are generally small and crisp. They can be sweet or savoury; the latter are typically prepared with vegetables. This version is fully wrapped before being pan-fried or deep-fried.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_roll)
Though spring rolls is of Chinese origin, but it was well liked by many including westerners especially the deep fried version. One of the reasons may be its crispiness and aromatic fillings but personally, I preferred the non fried traditional type of spring roll as in this post: Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food–Popiah Sarawak Style (干式薄饼）. The non fried version can have much more types of filling ingredients than the fried version.
This deep fried version are very common during parties, dim sum restaurants and gathering. It was also sold in the supermarket frozen session. The size is generally much smaller and the ingredients are simpler. It does not make sense to deep fry big spring roll as it will not be crispy as they are too much fillings. Therefore, finger snack size is ideal for the deep fried version.
Is there any meat in the deep fried version? I do not rule out the possibility that some have added meat to the recipe but in my limited exposure, I have never tasted one with meat be it the frozen type of during the buffet gathering. To me, for this recipe, meat is totally redundant. The overwhelming flavour is mostly from the jicama and not the meat. After deep frying, meat flavour is lost and therefore, I have decided to issue a vegetarian recipe with the option to change it to non vegetarian recipe.
This spring roll is best served when it is immediately prepared and the dip can be any chilli sauce that you liked. In this illustration, I am using some sweet chilli sauce to go with it but some has served it with Chinese sweet sauce or even Worchester sauce. I will not include the recipe of the sauce.
For my readers who do not know what is jicama or yam bean, you can refer to here for a detail description : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachyrhizus_erosus. If you cannot get hold of jicama, cabbage, radishes, bamboo shoots, long beans, French beans are good substitutes.
In the unlikely event you cannot get hold of spring roll wrappers, you can easily prepare at home and you can refer to this recipe: Homemade Spring Roll Crepes–Popiah Skin (春卷皮，薄饼皮, 润饼皮）
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: Prepare 20 Spring rolls
- 200 grams of jicama or other vegetables of your choice
- 100 grams of bean sprouts
- 1 small carrot
- 3 sprigs of coriander leaves
- 5 shitake dried mushrooms, soaked
- 20 pieces of spring roll skin (5” x 5”)
Non vegetarian version (in addition to the above)
- 50 grams of minced pork or chicken
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlics
- 1 tablespoon of dried shrimp
- 2 tablespoons of vegetarian oyster sauce or oyster sauce or chicken powder
- Salt to taste
- Dashes of white pepper
- 1 tablespoon of plain flour
- 2 tablespoons of plain water
- Adequate oil for deep frying
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Cut the soaked shitake mushrooms into small slices. Chopped the coriander leaves. Shred the carrots and set aside.
- Skinned the jicama or yam bean. sliced thinly and shredded into matchstick size. If you wish , you can use a shredded to a job but hand shredding gives a better crunchy texture. Set aside.
- In a wok, put 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, sauté the mushrooms until fragrant. Add the shredded carrots, follow by jicama and beansprouts. Stir fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft. Add the seasonings (vegetarian oyster sauce, white pepper and salt), stir fry until well mixed. Off the heat and stir in the shredded coriander.
- For non vegetarian version, in a wok, put 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, sauté the minced garlics, dried shrimps and mushrooms until fragrant. Add the minced meat. Stir fry until the meat is set which took about 2 minutes. Add shredded carrots, follow by jicama and beansprouts. Stir fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft. Add the seasonings (vegetarian oyster sauce, white pepper and salt), stir fry until well mixed. Off the heat and stir in the shredded coriander.
- Transfer the cooked fillings to a sift such that the vegetable juices will drain out. Otherwise, your filling will become very wet and the spring roll crepes will tend to break.
- Put the plain flour in a bowl, add the plain water, stir until it become a sticky paste. Set aside.
- Open the spring roll crepes and ALWAYS USE A WET CLOTH TO COVER THE CREPE to avoid the crepe become too dry and break. Crepe is used interchangeable with spring roll wrapper or skin.
- Take a piece of the crepe, wet the edges with the flour paste. Put 1-2 tablespoons of the fillings on the centre, fold one of the sharp side inwards, follow by the other two sides on the left and right towards the centre. Roll tightly and ensure that the crepe edge stick to the crepe body.
- Once everything is done, heat up a pot of oil. Use medium heat to deep fry the spring roll until golden brown. Before taking out for draining, increase the heat to high and deep fry for another 1/2 a minute. This is to prevent the oil from flowing back to the spring roll and become an oily spring roll. Drain in a kitchen towel.
- The spring roll is best served immediately after it is prepared with your favourite sauces. In the event that the spring rolls turn soft after a few hours, heat up in the oven at 150 degree Celsius for about 10 minutes will make it crispy again. Otherwise, you can re-fry again.
- Your wrapping will have to be fast and fried as soon as it is wrapped. Otherwise, it can be too wet and the crepe will break. In this case,you will have to use another crepe to salvage the situation.
Personally, I do not think there is a need to use meat in the recipe as the meat flavour will be masked by the vegetable… But the option is yours. For those who cannot get hold of jicama or yam bean, you can use other vegetables such as shredded cabbage or bamboo shoots. Remember it is best eaten immediately after it is deep fried..
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