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Some ideas for rolling into spring

May 2, 2018

Sheri Wetherell/Wikimedia Commons
Spring rolls are often made with translucent wrappers and filled with a variety of vegetables and meats. You can customize them to suit your preferences.

Browsing through recipes looking for ones that can help cooks celebrate spring, I got the idea to focus on spring rolls (sometimes called egg rolls). I love them and could eat them for any meal or even a snack.


Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but if there were any leftovers from a previous meal, I have eaten the rolls for breakfast. Yes, that’s how much I crave those bits of culinary delight.


If there are other spring roll fans out there, here are some recipes to share with you, starting with my favorite one. Happy eating, kitchen friends.

Pork and shrimp spring rolls


(See note for seasoning and cooking pork and shrimp.)

1/2 pound cooked pork, finely chopped


1/2 pound cooked, peeled shrimp, finely chopped


1/4 cup soy sauce


2 tablespoons dry sherry


1 clove garlic, minced


1 tablespoon cornstarch


1 tablespoon brown sugar


1 teaspoon fresh, peeled ginger, minced


1/2 teaspoon salt


2 tablespoons oil


4 green onions, finely chopped


1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (such as Napa)


1/2 pound fresh bean sprouts


1 can (8-oz.) water chestnuts, drained and chopped


1 package (16-oz.) egg roll wrappers

1. Note: For cooking pork and shrimp: Marinate raw pork and shrimp for about 15 minutes in a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, a couple of sprinkles of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon water and 2 teaspoons of rice wine. Stir-fry meats in a lightly oiled wok or skillet until they are cooked, just a few minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.


2. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sherry, garlic, cornstarch, brown sugar, ginger and salt.


3. Stir-fry onions and cabbage in oiled wok (or skillet) 2 to 3 minutes. Add pork and shrimp mixture, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and soy sauce mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Chill mixture.


4. To assemble egg rolls, cut wrappers in half; cover with damp towel to prevent drying out. Place 1 tablespoon chilled filling in center of each wrapper; fold wrapper to enclose filling, fold in sides, complete rolling, moisten ends with water and press to seal.


5. Fry egg rolls in hot deep fat at 365 degrees for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 36 to 40 appetizer egg rolls.

Chicken egg rolls


20 to 24 egg roll wrappers (thawed, if frozen)


1 pound ground chicken


1 cup carrot, shredded


1 cup cabbage, shredded


1 stalk green onion, finely chopped


1 clove garlic, minced


1 piece (1/2 inch) fresh ginger, grated


3 tablespoons water


2 tablespoons cornstarch


2 tablespoons oyster sauce


1 tablespoon soy sauce


1 teaspoon onion powder


1 teaspoon rice wine (or white wine)


Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying, plus 1 tablespoon

1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat and cook ground chicken until no longer pink.


2. Season cooked chicken meat with onion powder, salt and pepper, then transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside.


3. Return skillet to heat and add green onion, garlic and ginger to the pan. Stirring often, cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant, then add carrot and cabbage to the mix. Cook until vegetables are just softened, 5 to 6 minutes, then return chicken to the skillet. Mix in oyster sauce, soy sauce and rice wine and cook for another minute.


4. Remove skillet from heat and spread chicken and veggie mixture out onto a clean baking sheet to cool. Tilt baking sheet and drain off cooking juices.


5. In a small bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch. Preheat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep pot or fryer to 375 degrees.


6. On a clean, dry surface, lay out 1 egg roll wrapper like a diamond (keep the others covered so they don’t dry out) and spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons chicken mixture into the center of wrapper. Take the bottom corner and fold it up and away from you, over the filling, then dip your finger into the cornstarch mixture and dab it on the top corner. Tightly tuck in both sides of the wrapper and roll away from yourself, over the free top corner. Transfer completed egg roll to a baking sheet, seam side down, and continue with remaining egg rolls. Cover completed rolls so they don’t dry out.


7. Once rolls are all ready, carefully lower a few into hot oil. Fry, stirring and flipping occasionally, until egg rolls are golden brown. Repeat with remaining rolls, making sure to not overcrowd the pot. Use a slotted spoon to remove rolls and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with soy sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.

Thai spring rolls


2 ounces glass noodles (sometimes called bean vermicelli)


1 tablespoon coconut oil


1 tablespoon garlic, minced


2 ounces ground or minced pork


1/3 cup shredded green cabbage (or Napa)


1/2 cup shredded carrots


2/3 cup fresh bean sprouts


1 1/2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce


1 teaspoon ground black pepper (I use 1/2 teaspoon)


1 tablespoon sugar


1/2 cup water


8 sheets spring roll wrappers


1 egg, beaten


1 1/2 cups coconut oil, for frying

1. Soak the noodles in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. Then cut into 6 inch lengths. Heat the oil over low heat and add the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add the pork, tossing and cook until no pink remains. Add the vegetables and cook another 2 minutes.


2. Add the tamari, pepper, sugar and water. Combine well then add the prepared glass noodles and cook for about 1 minute. The glass noodles should be translucent. Remove from heat and allow to cool.


3. Roughly divide mixture evenly on top of the wrappers. Moisten edges with beaten egg, tuck in sides and bottom and roll up to top, sealing top.


4. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and deep fry for 1 to 2 minutes only. Test oil with one roll; if oil is at optimum heat add up to three more rolls to the batch. Continue with remaining rolls. Drain well, serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.

Fresh spring rolls with Thai dipping sauce


6 spring roll wrappers (the thin, translucent kind)


12 medium shrimp, cooked and shelled


1 cup shredded leaf lettuce


1/3 cup chopped cilantro


1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber


1 medium carrot, scraped and julienned


Thai dipping sauce:


1 tablespoon soy sauce


1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar


3 tablespoons mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine) *See note.


1/4 teaspoon grated ginger root, optional


*Note: If you have no mirin, you can substitute with this: Add between 1 and 2 tablespoons of sugar to 1/2 cup of white wine, vermouth, or dry sherry to replace 1/2 cup of mirin.

1. In a bowl of cool water, soak a roll wrapper until limp. Lay wrapper out flat. Evenly divide each ingredient down middle of each wrapper, starting with lettuce. Fold over each end and tightly roll the wrapper around the contents, as if making a burrito. Moisten at seam; press to close.


2. Arrange rolls on plate, cover with moist paper towel and refrigerate until ready to serve. Then slice in two and serve with the dipping sauce.


3. To make sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

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