Sunday, August 22, 2021

Recipe of the month: Vegetable Spring Rolls

 
Hello y'all! I hope you have all been staying safe and in good health. 

Today I'm bringing you a recipe that has been in my drafts folder for a gratuitously long time! I had optimized this recipe, noted the ingredients as well as method down and framed a draft post a really long time ago but due to my procrastination with the photography, the post had remained in limbo. Last weekend I finally got around to taking some pictures (not that the quality of the pictures do any kind of justice to the delay *sighs*). 

Spring rolls are something that are made in my household pretty regularly. Sometimes my domestic helper makes them and other times I make them myself. Everyone likes them (kids included) so we make them as a starter while entertaining guests or else just for ourselves as an addition to Chinese-style fried rice, noodles or jasmine rice with Thai curry. 

I use store-bought frozen spring roll pastry sheets to make spring rolls. If you live in my part of the world, I recommend the large 8.5" sheets from Spring Home which are suitable for vegetarians. Seriously, they are so thin, pliable, so easy to use and they give great results so there isn't any need to bother making your own (unless you really really want to!). Once I thaw the spring roll pastry sheets, I prefer to use them all up by making a large batch and subsequently, freeze the uncooked spring rolls in 2 or 3 individual glass containers so we can enjoy them in batches. If you have never made spring rolls before, don't be intimidated. Spring rolls are in fact very easy to wrap (I find them much easier compared to samosas or dumplings). 

The spring roll wrappers are different from egg roll wrappers, just so you know. The covering of an egg roll is thicker with lots of small bubbles whereas the covering of a spring roll is lighter, crispier and perfectly smooth. Also, the spring roll sheets are different from the rice paper sheets that are used to make fresh spring rolls


For the spring roll filling, I like to keep things simple. I use cabbage, carrots, spring onions (whites + greens), garlic, ginger, chilies and fresh bean sprouts. I like to use shitake mushrooms as well since they impart that umami flavour that I like but sometimes it so happens that we have guests who do not like or eat mushrooms so I omit them to be on the safe side. You can either cut the vegetables by hand or use a mandoline slicer. You can even add in tofu or vermicelli noodles if you want - there is not set formula so knock yourselves out! I flavour my spring rolls with soy sauce, vinegar, a touch of sesame oil (you want to be very careful with this ingredient!), brown sugar, white pepper and black pepper. The veggies are cooked until they are just tender but still retain a slight crunch. After frying until golden brown, the spring rolls turn out shatteringly crisp. Served along with sweet chilli sauce, they taste absolutely delicious. You can take my word for it! 

Check out the recipe below. Do try and give me your feedback.

i

Vegetable Spring rolls

Preparation time: 30-40 min
Cooking time: 20-30 min
Total time: ~1 hr
Makes: 25
Serves: 5-6
Recipe category: Starter/Chinese
Recipe level: Easy

Ingredients:

4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
1.5 cups of carrot, julienned
1/2 cup of onion (spring onion whites and/or regular onion), chopped 
1 cup of bean sprouts, washed and drained
1/2 cup spring onion greens 
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
a dash of sesame oil (a little goes a long way!), Optional 
1-2 tsp brown sugar
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp white pepper powder
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper 
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
Oil for frying

Mince together:
6 pods garlic
1-inch piece ginger
1-3 chilies (adjust according to spice level) 

Comes to about 2 tbsp minced ginger-garlic-chilli 

Method:

1. Chop the veggies in thin long strips (julienne). For cabbage and carrot, you can use a mandoline slicer or even shred them. Chope the spring onion whites and greens. Mince together the aromatics and keep ready. Wash the bean sprouts thoroughly and drain all the water. 


2. Heat the oil in a wok. Maintain the heat on a high flame. Add the spring onions whites for 1 minute. 


3. Add the carrots and fry for a minute or two


4. Add the minced garlic-ginger-green chillies and fry for a minute until the raw smell goes away


5. Add the cabbage and fry till the veggies are 3/4th done so they still retain some crunch


6. Toss in the bean sprouts and spring onion greens and mix well


7. Add the soya sauce, white vinegar, black pepper, white pepper, brown sugar and salt to taste. Mix well. Be careful while adding salt since soya sauce is salty as well. 


8. Ensure that the mixture is dry. Turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool down completely. 



9. Let the frozen spring roll sheets thaw in the fridge for a few hours or else, place a damp cloth over it. When it has thawed, you should be able to pull out the sheets one by one easily. 


10. Place the sheet on a clean surface in a diamond shape. Now place 1-2 tablespoon of the filling 1-inch away from the pointed edge of the diamond nearest to you. Roll it tightly till halfway. Now fold one edge towards the middle as shown and repeat on the other side as well. Moisten the remaining edge with a little water and continue rolling tightly over the moistened edge. At the end, you should get a tightly rolled, enclosed cigar shaped spring roll. Once you get the technique right, it takes less than a minute to wrap a spring roll. Keep it covered to prevent drying out. Do the same with the remaining sheets until all the filling is used up. 




11. Heat oil in a deep pot. When hot (but not smoking), drop the spring rolls in and cook till golden brown. Stir them around for uniform frying. Drain on absorbent paper towels to remove excess oil.




12. Garnish with some chopped spring onion greens and serve veg spring rolls piping hot with chili sauce or tomato ketchup.


Notes:
  • You can add cooked thin rice noodles, suitable animal protein or tofu to the spring roll filling
  • If you desire some crunch, you can also add crushed roasted peanuts or sesame seeds to the spring roll filling
  • Keep the spring roll sheets relatively moist when you are wrapping (don't let them dry out and it is advisable to use them all up instead of refreezing the leftover sheets)
  • Make sure the spring roll filling is dry before you start wrapping
  • Don't overfill the spring rolls. Figure out how much filling to add based on the size of your sheet the first time and then maintain the consistency for the rest
  • Wrap tightly and evenly without creating air pockets
  • Fry the spring rolls in hot oil but not to the point of smoking
  • Freeze uncooked spring rolls in a single layer to prevent sticking
  • When you are frying frozen spring rolls, fry from frozen and don't thaw them
  • You can bake or air fry the spring rolls to make them healthier


Cheers,
Megha
i

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