I have had the week off work and decided to tick one item off my culinary bucket list. Much like any sort of pie made from scratch, spring rolls have always been scary to me. I figured I had the time (good thing I did – these took me over 2 hours) so it was now or never.
This is not something I would make on a weeknight after coming home from work. Me and my small, not so nimble fingers took an hour and a half to roll up 27 spring rolls. That hour and a half included a mini break I took midway to cut my nails. Evidently, spring roll wrappers don’t take too kindly to nails.
Wrapping the spring rolls
Place a little bit of filling in the lower corner. I used about one and a half tablespoons.
Fold corner over mixture and start rolling tightly.
Fold over corners. Make sure sides are not sticking out. The more air pockets there are, the oilier your spring roll will be.
Line these cuties up on a baking sheet. I lined my sheet with saran wrap to be safe.
I altered the recipe based on what I had available and my preferences. I like a bit of crunch so I added bamboo shoots instead of carrots. You can definitely switch up any of the ingredients – this is a very forgiving recipe.
Also, the original recipe claims to make 50 rolls. I only got about 30 rolls but from the pictures, it looks like I had a lot less vegetables. I must confess I did most of this by touch so it is entirely possible I messed up somewhere along the way.
One last thing – I bought sheets that are 8.5 inch squares. It was a perfect size for a beginner like me.
Ingredients (adapted from Steamy Kitchen)
1 tbsp soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
1 lb ground chicken
2 tbsp cooking oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 ginger, grated
1 stalk green onion, chopped
3/4 head of long napa cabbage, shredded or finely cut
1/2 cup bamboo shoots (strips)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 oyster sauce
1/4 cup water + 1 tsp cornstarch
30 spring roll wrappers (buy extra just in case)
oil for deep frying
1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, black pepper, and cornstarch. Mix in ground chicken and marinate for 10 minutes.
2. In another bowl, combine salt and cabbage. After 1o minutes, strain or squeeze out excess liquid from the cabbage.
3. Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil over high heat. Stir fry the chicken. Put in bowl and set aside when done.
4. Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil on medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and green onions. After 30 seconds, add cabbage and bamboo shoots and stir fry. Add the cooked chicken and stir. Add oyster sauce and stir again. Let the mixture cool on a baking sheet with one side elevated so the juices can collect at the bottom.
5. Mix water with remaining tsp of cornstarch. Use this to apply to the tip of the wrapper to secure the roll.
6. Roll filling into wrappers (photo instruction above). Make sure you use a damp cloth or towel (I used a tea towel) to cover the sheets to prevent them from drying out.
7. Place rolls on a saran wrap lined baking sheet. Cover rolls with saran wrap to prevent them from drying out. I wrapped the baking sheet with the tea towel and put the rolls in the fridge until I was ready to fry them.
8. Heat 1 1/2″ of oil to 350F. Carefully slide in 5 or 6 spring rolls into the oil and fry for roughly 3 minutes. Keep turning and moving them. Remove from oil and place on wire rack.
The recipe doesn’t call for any salt but you can save a lot of time if you salt your cabbage while you are doing your prep work. Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of salt over your cabbage and mix it together. Let it sit for 10 minutes. The salt will bring out the moisture and you can squeeze out the excess liquid from the cabbage.
Roll the wrappers as tightly and neatly as you can. Spring rolls are not nearly as greasy as the ones you find in restaurants if the sides are neatly tucked and the spring roll has been wrapped tightly.
Cover your spring roll sheets with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out. They are tissue paper thin and dry out quickly.
Deep fry your spring rolls. I thought about trying to shallow fry or bake them hoping they wouldn’t be as greasy or smelly. I read many reviews saying shallow frying actually produces greasier rolls. Deep frying takes less time and if you roll them tightly enough, you shouldn’t have a problem with too much oil – I can attest to that.
By the third batch, my spring rolls were coming out of the oil pretty dark. Lower the temperature of the oil if they get too dark for your liking.
Keep them moving. While they are in the oil, keep turning them. This ensures they brown evenly but more importantly, the oil doesn’t pop all over the place.