Spring rolls recipe

Posted on October 22, 2013

2


Every now and then I’m reminded that I’m a bit of a bad daughter and don’t see my mum nearly as much as I’m supposed to. In order to compensate, I try to cook her favourite things when I can. Mum’s favourite cuisine is Vietnamese so on the weekend I made her a dinner of spring rolls served in 2 ways. And after that performance, I think I’m back in her good books. In case your mum loves spring rolls too and you need a recipe to get her back on side, I’m here to help ;).

springrolls2ways

This recipe is actually based on one my mum’s, but with a few tweaks of my own sprinkled here and there. I say I’ve tweaked it not because my mum’s recipe isn’t any good, but because she doesn’t cook with a recipe and just throws things together as she pleases. Here I’ve used the same combination of ingredients as she does, but probably in slightly different ratios. Obviously there are many variants of spring roll fillings, and the recipe for these can be very personal. Everyone will have their own way of making spring rolls and you can always customise it to your own preferences. The particular filling I’ve used is fairly typical of a Vietnamese spring roll and certainly this combination of ingredients will pop up in a number of other online recipes; it consists of pork, prawn, taro, wood ear fungus and bean thread noodles. The taro, fungus and bean thread noodles can all be found at Asian grocers. If you can’t find any fresh taro to use, the frozen variety works fine.

For the sake of variety, I’ve also wrapped these spring rolls in 2 different ways; in spring roll pastry wrappers and also in rice paper. Rice paper tends to be more commonly associated with rice paper rolls or ‘fresh’ spring rolls, but rest assured rice paper can be deep fried as well. Though it is quite rare to find restaurants in Melbourne serving spring rolls wrapped with rice paper, which is a bit of a shame because I rather like this version. I suppose it’s less popular because rice paper is more fiddly to work with and storing them can be tricky due to the sticky nature of rice paper. Rice paper spring rolls have a slightly different texture to those wrapped in the other pastry; it’s crunchy in a different way. I don’t really know how to describe it, so probably best to try it for yourself…

IMG_7546

I can’t really specify the number of spring rolls the below recipe yields because it will depend on the size of wrappers used and how much filling you choose to pack in. As reference I used about 2/3 of the filling to make 16 large spring rolls with the more common spring roll wrappers and used the remaining mixture to fill 16 medium sized spring rolls in 22cm rice paper.

RECIPE – Spring rolls (makes ~1.5kg filling)

Ingredients:

  • 600g minced pork
  • 500g raw prawns (shelled and de-veined)
  • 400g taro, peeled and shredded
  • ~15g wood ear fungus (aka black fungus)
  • 50g bean thread noodles (aka glass noodles/vermicelli)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ~1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • white pepper to taste
  • defrosted spring roll pastry and/or rice paper rolls

Method:

  1. To prepare wood ear fungus, soak in a small bowl of warm water for ~5 minutes to soften. Drain, chop finely and reserve. In a separate bowl, soak bean thread noodles in a medium bowl of hot water for ~5 minutes until noodles become transparent and are cooked through. Drain noodles, give the bunch of noodles a couple of snips with kitchen scissors and reserve.
  2. In a food processor, blitz prawns until it because a coarse paste. (You can continue processing to a fine paste, but I like having a few bigger chunks of prawns in my mix.)
  3. Place prawn paste in a large bowl, add in minced meat, shredded taro, wood ear fungus and bean thread noodles. Mix well. Add sugar and salt to taste, using just a tablespoon to start with. To check seasoning, place a small amount of filling in the microwave and blast in 10 second bursts to cook through. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.IMG_7543
  4. To wrap using spring roll pastry, ensure that the pastry has defrosted so that it is pliable enough to handle. Arrange pastry so that it faces you in a diamond formation. Place filling about 1/4 of the way up the length of the pastry. Wrap pastry up halfway, then fold the 2 sides in. Continue rolling pastry and seal the edge with a bit of water.springrollregular
  5. If using rice paper rolls, prepare a large bowl of warm water. Dip rice paper into the warm water for a few seconds until it becomes pliable, do not soak for too long otherwise the rice paper will become difficult to work with. IMG_7547
  6. Place filling about 1/4 of the way up the length of the rice paper and roll up halfway. Fold the 2 sides in and continue wrapping, the end will seal automatically. Place completed rolls in a single layer, ensuring that the rolls do not touch each other. (Sorry, it’s a bit hard to see in the photo given the rice paper is translucent!)springrollricepaper
  7. To cook spring rolls, prepare a pot of hot oil for deep frying. Stick a wooden chopstick into the oil to check the oil temperature, if the oil forms bubbles around the chopstick, it is ready for use. Place a few spring rolls into the oil and deep fry for ~4 minutes until filling has cooked through. The rice paper tends to bubble up in the hot oil; this is normal, the air bubbles will deflate later. IMG_7560
  8. When cooked, remove spring rolls and drain excess oil on paper towels. Do not keep the rice paper version of these on paper towels for too long as the rice paper may stick to the paper towel!springrolls1
  9. Serve with lettuce, sliced cucumbers, Vietnamese mint and nước chấm.IMG_7562
  10. To eat, grab a piece of lettuce, load it up with a spring roll, cucumber and mint, dip it in some nước chấm and away you go.IMG_7566

Fish sauce for dipping (nước chấm)

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • a few drops white vinegar
  • 1 whole bird’s eye chilli (de-seed or only use half of chilli if you are not fond of heat)
  1. Place ingredients in a small saucepan, mix well and heat until sugar dissolves. You may need to adjust the ratios of ingredients according to tastes.

As I mentioned earlier, I served my spring rolls in 2 ways. The second, alternate way to serve them is cut up in a noodle salad (bùn chả giò), with rice noodles, shredded cucumber, shredded carrot (or pickled carrot and daikon if preferred), Vietnamese mint, spring onion oil, crushed roasted peanuts and nước chấm. The ingredients for bùn chả giò are quite easy to prepare and a bit self explanatory so I won’t bore you with the details. The only thing I should probably point out is how to make the spring onion oil. Easy peasy: chop 2 spring onions and place in a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat ~2 tablespoon of peanut oil (or vegetable oil) until smoking and pour over spring onions.

IMG_7568

I’m quite aware that in the photograph above, it’s clearly fried shallots and not crushed peanuts – that’s because I didn’t have any peanuts in the house, so I was being creative. Mum was quick to point out that fried shallots are not the correct garnish to serve with bùn chả giò, so make sure to do as I say and not as I did. And aside from that minor ‘mistake’ in the finishing touch, mum was rather pleased with my spring rolls served 2 ways. That counts as a win wouldn’t you say?

Advertisements