One of the best known East Asian delicacies is the spring roll, known in China as 春卷 and in Vietnam as cha gio. Crunchy on the outside and full of a mix of flavoured meats and vegetables on the inside, given their popularity, most restaurants takeaways in England and America will serve them.
However, as a girl who grew up spoiled by homemade Asian delicacies, it has been almost impossible to find a good replacement for the quality of spring rolls that I’m use to.
This, then, is a simple recipe for all the people at home who want to have an authentic Phan family spring roll: the kind that is a fusion of Chinese and Vietnamese culture, and just all-around delicious.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 min
Servings: 25 spring rolls
Ingredients for spring rolls:
- 1 lb shrimp in shell, peeled and deveined
- Minced pork shoulder (either minced by hand, or in package)
- Crab sticks
- Glass noodles
- Dried wood ear mushrooms
- 2 cups grated carrots (4 – 5 carrots)
- Cilantro leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 red onions
- 1/4 cup of fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 25 (8-inch) square, thawed frozen spring roll pastry wrappers made with wheat flour
- Vegetable oil
Ingredients for dipping sauce:
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- Lime juice (from half a lime)
- Fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 2 fresh red thai chillies, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3/4 cup warm water
Method for preparing the raw ingredients as the filling for a spring roll
- Chop up the shrimp into chunks about a half-inch long, then peel apart the crab sticks into fine slices, dicing them into bite sized chunks.Set aside one big bowl, and put into it the shrimp, the diced crab stick chunks and the minced pork shoulder, to be mixed at the end.
- To prepare the glass noodles, soak them in hot water and separate them from each other gently for about 10 minutes. When they are flexible enough, drain the noodles and cut them into pieces about 2- or 3- inches.Put into the big bowl along with the raw meat.
- Soak the dried wood ear mushrooms in hot water for about 15 minutes until they are soft. Remove the hard parts of the mushroom, and dice the soft parts finely.Put the diced mushrooms into the big bowl.
- Take the cilantro leaves and the garlic and chop both finely. Then take the red onion, and peel and dice it.Take all of these ingredients and put them together into the big bowl with the other ingredients.
- Now you have the basic filling for the spring roll, and it is time to season it. Take the fish sauce, the oyster sauce and the salt, and put it into the mix. Mix well, and add the cornstarch into the bowl as you go. The cornstarch is used to help bind the ingredients together and helps in the wrapping process.
To put the spring rolls together:
Firstly, crack your egg into a bowl and mix with a little water to create a binding mix.
To wrap the spring roll, place about two tablespoons of filling onto each spring roll wrapper and roll accordingly.
Before you fry the spring roll in oil, make sure that you bind the corner of the wrapped spring roll with the binding mix of egg and water.
Each spring roll should be fried for about five minutes in hot oil (make sure it is hot, as oil that is too cold will leave you with soggy spring rolls!), or until cooked all the way through.
Serve on a plate lined with paper towels and dipping sauce, and you’re ready to go!
Method for the dipping sauce
To prepare the dipping sauce, mix all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and serve alongside the spring rolls!