Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fried Spring Rolls

Do you ever have cravings for certain types of food? I think most people do. Maybe it's mexican, or could be italian. Since I eat both of those regularly, my cravings usually come in the form of chinese or thai. I wouldn't say I crave fried food, but I will say that sometimes, a fried spring roll sounds utterly delicious. The kind of delicious that only fried can offer.

For this recipe, I'm torn on how to describe it. Basically, they were an experiment by Jill at Hey, that tastes good!, and one that I decided to replicate.

Typically you would not use rice paper wrappers for frying spring rolls. That was the experiment. Jill even called her post 'ugly, but delicious'. That should tell you a lot about why you don't use rice paper.

I almost bought both kinds of wrappers to do a comparison test. But in the end, I decided to try it Jill's way, and then remake another spring roll in the future with the typical, flour wrappers for frying. Plus, using the rice wrappers would leave me with a few sheets leftover to make fresh spring rolls later.

In fact, Jill was right, they are 'ugly but delicious'. Both Tim and I enjoyed them and quickly ate 2-3 each. If you pile them on a plate, as I did, be forewarned that they will stick together.

In the end, I'm not sure I would remake them this way, just because my curiosity is peaked to use the regular wrappers (this was my first time making fried spring rolls). I have to try the other wrappers to decide which is better. But these were fun, different and tasted pretty darn good! Definitely satisfied my fried spring roll craving.

If you are adventurous enough and had some small hands lurking around the kitchen, wrapping and rolling the spring rolls could be a fun project for kids.

Fried Spring Rolls (using rice paper)
from Hey, that tastes good!

8 ounces mixed mushrooms
3 baby bok choy (I substituted ¼ green cabbage head)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 scallions
1 carrot, peeled
A handful of spinach (I didn't use)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin (rice wine)
1/4 pound chopped tofu
1/4 package of rice noodles
1 egg white (not necessary, water holds the paper together just fine)
1 package rice paper wrappers

Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of hot water until softened. Thinly slice your mushrooms and carrots and put in separate piles. Cut the leaves off the bok choy and set aside, thinly slice the bottoms and add to the carrot pile. Slice the scallions thinly and set aside. Cut the spinach and boy choy leaves into strips.

Heat 1 T oil in a pan (wok if you have one - a large skillet works fine). Add the ginger and scallions and cook for a few seconds, then add the tofu, carrots and bok choy bottoms. Cook together a few minutes, then add the mushrooms. Once those have cooked most of the way through, add the spinach, bok choy leaves, soy sauce, noodles, and mirin. Cook until liquid is mostly gone and greens are wilted. Pour filling into a strainer, and set aside to cool/drain for a few minutes.

Once cooled, fill a shallow bowl with hot water. Dip one rice wrapper into the water and hold it there until softened. You will know when it’s ready. Lay the wrapper carefully on your work surface, and put a tablespoon of filling in the center.

Pull the bottom half up, then fold over the right side and then the left.Squoosh the filling in as tight as you can, wet the last side with egg white, and then fold over. Set aside, and repeat until all the filling is gone. Heat about an inch of oil in a pan, and when shimmering, slowly drop in the first roll. Let fry for a few minutes, then flip, carefully. It will puff up all crazy but don’t worry. That’s why they’re ugly. Once you feel they’re fried enough, drain on a paper towel and repeat.

Serve immediately with a sweet chili sauce.

Because sometimes you just want it fried:
- Vietnamese Crispy Spring Rolls, from Sunday Nite Dinner
- Southwest Spring Rolls (omit the chicken for veggies), from My Kitchen Snippets
- Veggie Wontons, from Chef Michele's Adventures

Guten appetit!

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