I recently tried my hand at making spring rolls for the first time. As usual, I turned to this book, which has become my bible of Thai cooking. Nothing in it has disappointed me yet, and this was no exception! Easier to make than I expected, I served the spring rolls as an appetizer alongside a main of pad Thai.
As Wandee says, “there are three phases to spring-roll heaven: the filling, rolling, and frying.”
FILLING: I modified the recipe for chicken spring rolls and made my own veggie version. As it turns out, spring rolls lend themselves well to improvisation; it didn’t matter that I didn’t have all of the ingredients. I used glass noodles (instant ones), red pepper cut into tiny strips, lettuce cut into tiny strips, and green onion, along with 1 tbsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp soya sauce, and 1 tsp fish sauce. It also called for oyster sauce, which I didn’t have and so slightly increased the amounts of fish & soya.
The ingredients of Wandee’s recipe that I left out were dry black fungus(!), shredded cabbage, white onion, grated carrot (thought I had this but didn’t so substituted the red pepper), and shredded chicken, obviously. To make the filling, you simply prepare all ingredients and then throw them into a wok along with 125mL vegetable oil. They do not need to be in there very long — 3-4 minutes at most. Afterwards, drain the mixture in a colander over a bowl, allowing the oil to drip off.
ROLLING: Assembling the spring rolls wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Make sure you get skins that can be used for frying, as opposed to cold spring rolls (I got mine from Taste of Siam in Camden). To make, place a dollop of the filling in the middle, tuck part of the skin under it, roll the other part up, and then fold over the edges. The rolls are fastened together with a paste made from flour (1 tsp) and water (1 tbsp).
FRYING: To fry, make sure there is more than enough oil in the pan to cover the spring rolls, and, once the oil is hot, fry them in the wok for approximately 7-8 minutes until crispy and brown. Enjoy!
I served them with two dipping sauces, both made in advance:
Sweet & sour: Heat 250mL rice or white vinegar along with 250mL sugar until it dissolves (3-4 minutes). Add 2 tbsp soya sauce and 1/4 tsp salt. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens (recipe said 10 minutes but I found it was more 15-20). Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in 2 tbsp chili-garlic sauce (we used regular chili sauce) and 1 tbsp chopped garlic, or more to taste. This recipe makes enough for leftovers and it can be kept in the fridge.
Peanut: See recipe here.
NB: Although I won’t be doing much cooking in the next week, expect regular posts as I am behind on my updates.
Finally, I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to each and everyone one of my blog readers!