Today's post is about my odyssey to make spring rolls. It took 7 tries before I cracked it! The pic above is of my best effort to date.
This was an abject failure. I used a rice paper as the wrapper. I soaked the rice paper in cold water for about 2 minutes. It became pliable but quite difficult to handle. The filling was made up of cooked shrimp (chopped) and seasoning.
You can see from the pic that the rolls were very loosely wrapped.
The rolls just exploded apart in the pan. I didn't have the heart to take a pic. I had tried to deep fry them. We resolutely ate the result with some dipping sauce. And I resolved to do better next time.
I used the same rice paper rolls but this time soaked them in barely warm water for only 1 to 3 seconds.
The filling this time was chopped prawns, coriander, a tiny bit of chilli and seasoning.
I wrapped the rolls much more tightly and then shallow fried them. As you can see the results were a bit better but nothing like what a spring roll should be in my opinion.
I used the same technique on the rice paper wrappers. But after filling them I let them sit on kitchen paper and dry out a bit before frying them in hotter oil.
The filling this time was chopped prawn, chilli, vermicelli noodles, 1/2tsp of black bean chilli paste and salt and pepper. You soak the vermicelli in warm water for a few minutes and then let them drain.
The filling this time was very tasty – pre-cooked chopped bacon, vermicelli noodles, chopped capsicum, black bean chilli sauce and salt and pepper.
This time after I wrapped the spring rolls I put them into the fridge to cool before cooking them.
I fried them in the oil/bacon fat that I had cooked the bacon in. Garnished with mint these were tasty.
I believe that these turned out as well as can be achieved with rice paper spring roll wrappers. I won't be using them again other than for fresh (ie not cooked) spring rolls.
This attempt marked a break through. I got some frozen spring roll pastry from a local Asian grocery store.
The filling this time – chopped prawns, chopped spinach, vermicelli noodles, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper.
The pastry sheets thawed quickly. I rolled them up as tightly and neatly as I could using a single sheet of pastry for each roll.
They fried up well but not perfectly.
This time I changed up the filling to be – prawns, vermicelli noodles, small amount of lemon juice, black bean chilli paste and fish sauce.
I used a double layer of pastry and the results were pretty good.
This time I cracked it – 7th time lucky
I'll be a bit more detailed about this attempt – because it was successful.
Thawed Spring roll pastry wrappers
Corn flour (cornstarch)
Oil – mix of garlic oil and sunflower oil
Filling – sautéed pork mince (cooled completely), carrot grated and excess liquid squeezed out, vermicelli noodles and seasoning
I used a single layer of pastry but brushed each one around the edge with a mixture of cornflour and water – this was a fantastic innovation – it acted like glue and held the rolls together really well.
I prepared quite a large number of spring rolls and then froze them on a tray in a single layer with them not touching. Once they were frozen I just popped them into a plastic bag.
These pre-frozen spring rolls fried up magnificently – and in almost the same amount of time! They held together well and tasted fabulous with a dipping sauce.
My dipping sauce varies each time I make one – it is usually some combination of fish sauce, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, pepper and a little water. Sometimes I add ginger or plum sauce or hoisin sauce. Whatever floats your boat.
Was it worth all the effort – absolutely. Next time I'll whip up a big batch and freeze them – you can just pull a few out at a time for a tasty snack/starter.