If you have never made Spring Rolls, why not give them a try now! These were so much fun to make and tasted like heaven.
The varieties of Spring Rolls are endless and the cooking methods vary so wildly it is a little confusing. For me. when I think of a Spring Roll, it is a fried roll with a savory filling. The fillings are many and numerous, from things like minced pork with scallions and bamboo shoots, to cabbage, carrots and chicken. They are called Spring Rolls because they were traditionally eaten in the Spring in China during a festival.
The kind of roll that is not cooked I have always called a Fresh Roll and this is a roll that is assembled cold with cooked, cold ingredients, wrapped in a more delicate, almost transparent rice flour skin. The fillings I have had in this are cilantro, shrimp and bamboo shoots, and served with a sweet dipping chili sauce. They are great in the Summer or when you crave a burst of freshness.
I made the fried variety last night and we couldn’t get enough!
The one important thing is to buy good Spring Roll (or egg roll, as the wrapper is sometimes called) wrappers, and the one at my not-so-great supermarket actually is not half bad. The filling was whatever I felt like, and what was available in my kitchen. I had two chicken fillets and a little bit of a pork tenderloin, which was not enough to make a complete meal for four unless it only featured as part of the dish. Using bits and pieces like this is a great way to stretch ingredients to the maximum.
I cringe a little when people say they had such fun in the kitchen when making a dish with their kids. It just sounds too ideal and fairy-tale-like, and nowadays when I have witnessed kids helping in the kitchen, it seems overly instructive and controlled on the parents’ part. We seem to hover more over our children because the world has become a big bad place in so many areas, but I think in the kitchen we should give them a little space to be creative (okay, maybe limit their urge to see what can be chopped with a sharp knife!).
Making Spring Rolls is an ideal way to get your kids into the kitchen and for everyone to enjoy it. Kids love nothing better than activities where they can be in control of an entire process. The Spring Rolls don’t need to be perfectly executed to taste fantastic and you can learn so much about mixing and matching foods without worrying about rules. Recipes are tough, because although you want to steer someone in the right direction, you hate to restrict them to using a spoonful of this or that when you know there are endless ways of making a dish come out right in the end.
In these rolls, everyone involved filled them with their favorite things, and closed them up as best they could. Each one was marvelous!
*I have included a few different ingredients that are interchangeable. For example, you can omit the cooked celery, mushroom and scallion mixture and just substitute with freshly chopped greens such as cilantro or spinach, or both. In other words, you can just fill with some greens, meat or fish and grated raw carrot. Keep this in mind when you read the recipe and when you shop for, or check for ingredients. I just gave more options to let you know that there are no strict rules about this. Feel free to use whatever you like!*
oil for frying: olive oil, grapeseed oil or vegetable oil.
2 chicken breast fillets, very thinly sliced (or 3 fillets if you omit the pork)
1/3 lb pork tenderloin, very thinly sliced (or 1 lb tenderloin if you omit the chicken)
2 medium celery ribs including leaves, finely diced
3 medium carrots, grated
3 cups chopped spinach
4 scallions including green parts, sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbs finely grated ginger root
2 cups diced oyster mushrooms (or crimini, or button mushrooms)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbs mirin
2 tbs hoisin sauce
2 tsp sriracha sauce (optional, but personally I like the heat)
1 package Egg-Roll wrappers/skins (about 20 -22 in a package – found in the cold section fridge in the veggie section)
Dipping sauces suggestions: Mix equal parts mirin with soy sauce (say 2 tbs of each for a serving), or mix hot sauce with a sweet chili sauce, or sweet chili sauce on its own.
*This can easily be a Blood Type A Diet recipe by using a protein that is either neutral or beneficial (chicken, salmon, cod), omit the hot sauce, and stir-fry with olive or grapeseed oil). All veggies suggested are allowed. Follow same instructions below for method*
1 – Place the meat (or different meats) in separate bowls. Mix the soy, mirin, hoisin, ginger, and sriracha in a bowl and then divide between the meat you are using. Mix well and set aside for about 15 minutes ( you can begin to prep the other ingredients).
2 – Place a wok or large saute pan on high heat and add about 2 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add a single layer of meat to the pan. Do not crowd the pan or the meat with steam. Cook quickly on one side (about 2 minutes undisturbed), and the same on the other. Transfer to a bowl and when cool enough to handle, chop into smaller strips.
3 – Prep the rest of the ingredients and place everything in bowls. This makes it easier when you are making the rolls.
4 – Place the pan or wok on slightly lower than high heat and add 2 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add the celery and mushrooms and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the scallions and spinach and cook for another minutes. take off of heat. *If you want to use the spinach raw, set it aside until ready to make spring rolls*
Ready to assemble Spring Rolls