Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wrapped and Deep Fried, Maybe.

Deciding to do a post on spring rolls, I did not anticipate the variety of such an item between, not just Asian countries, but Mexico and South America also. I mean sure, you get an appetizer in many places called Southwestern Spring or Egg Rolls, but are they really?

So what is the difference between a spring and an egg roll? Mainly the ingredients, size and texture of the wrappers; spring roll wrappers are paper thin, more pliable, smaller and made of rice flour, water and salt. Egg roll wrappers are thicker and made with all purpose flour, water, cornstarch and egg; they are very similiar to a cannoli shell. Spring rolls can be deep fried or not, egg rolls are normally deep fried; and the ingredients wrapped up in both of them can be endless combinations.

Spring rolls typically refer to the fresh, young vegetables available in spring time; cut or chopped into small pieces, perhaps mixed with marinated meat or poultry. The fillings might be mixed with a sauce, or the sauce served on the side for dipping. In Mexico, spring rolls are called Rollos Primavera and served with a dipping sauce of ketchup mixed with a spicy, hot mustard. Argentina and Brazil have their own versions of spring rolls, and the dipping sauce is typically sweet and hot. Of course there is the eggroll which usually has a spicy beef mixture with beans; maybe rice, corn or both included. Similiar to a taquito, but using a traditional Chinese eggroll wrapper and wrapping technique instead.

Basic Spring Roll Recipe


2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup Chinese (Napa) cabbage, shredded
2 green onions, diced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
12 spring roll wrappers
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water
4-6 cups canola oil (dependent on use of Wok or deep skillet)

Optional ingredients: 1/2 lb of shredded pork, chicken or beef; or chopped shrimp. Mix with 1 Tbsp oyster sauce and 1/2 tsp baking soda; marinate for 1/2 hour.


On high heat in either Wok or deep skillet, stir fry carrot, cabbage, green onion and bean sprouts for one minute; add oyster sauce and sesame oil; toss and remove from heat. If using an optional meat, poultry or shrimp; add 2 more Tbsp of oil; when hot, stir fry until ingredients just begins to turn color; remove from heat and mix with vegetables.

Into Wok or skillet add, cups of oil to 1 1/2 inches; while oil is heating (to 375F), prepare rolls. Place wrappers in diamond shape position; combine cornstarch and water. Place a tablespoon of stir fried mixture in center; coat all edges of wrapper with water mixture. Fold top and bottom of "diamond" slightly over filling; begin rolling from left to right and seal with extra water mixture if needed. Fry rolls 3 at a time until golden brown; drain on paper towels.

Makes 12 spring rolls.

Of course spring rolls do not have to be deep fried, just roll them up, but only use water to seal the edges.   Make sure, when stir frying the meat, poultry or shrimp that they are cooked thoroughly before adding to the vegetable mixture.

Mary Cokenour