Please do try making yourself some of these fried spring rolls (egg rolls) as it is so easy and tasty. I have made them many times and learned from trial and error. They freeze great for frying up later when you have an Asian cuisine craving. I freeze them in packs of 4 or 6 to have as an appetizer. Mine are Vietnamese style, which are traditionally made with rice wrappers. Thanks goes out to my old long ago Vietnamese grad school roomie Lan for teaching me her style of cooking.
Here’s what I do, keep in mind that I rarely measure, I just go by gut feeling and smell.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Dried rice papers – go for the ones that are 1/4 of a round verses the whole round. These will make spring rolls about as big as your finger. Check to make sure they don’t have wheat as there are a couple of varieties out there that do have wheat starch in them. Tapioca papers work fine too.
1 pound of ground pork – raw – do not cook (some people add ground shrimp)
large handful of sliced wood ear mushrooms reconstituted. It is easiest if you can buy them already sliced and dried, but if they are whole, just slice them up after soaking.
dried mung bean noodles – one small packet – these must be the thin tiny noodles, if you can’t find the mung bean (sometimes called lily thread) rice noodles will do – reconstituted and chopped up a bit so they are no longer in long pieces. I just use scissors to slice through them while they are in the bowl
finely chopped green onions
one medium onion shredded
one shredded carrots or more if it is a small carrot
shredded ginger – lots of it
lots of black pepper, i mean lots
dash of fish sauce
Mix it all together, you really shouldn’t need any egg to hold it together, but if you feel unsure, you could probably add an egg.
Smell it. If it smells nice and gingery and peppery with some garlic, then it is probably good.
Prep your area with a couple of cutting boards and something flat that has a rim to it. I use a pizza pan. Put a little of cold water in the pan – yes, it does not need to be warm, cold water works perfectly. Take your dry wrapper and dip it into the water and hold it in for a couple of seconds. Take it out and let it drip for one second and lay in on your cutting board. While that one is softening, dip a couple more and lay them out to soften. If you wait for the paper to soften in the water, it will be too late and will easily tear.
Now go to the first one you laid down and add a bit of the filling to the bottom of the circle or 1/4 circle (depending on which ones you are using). Add the filling in the form of a log and then wrap up from the bottom and roll a bit, then tuck the left and right sides over the center and roll it to the end (just like a burrito). Place it end piece down on another cutting board and let it finish adsorbing and dry out a little. Keep doing this until you are finished. Save some to cook right now – why wait? The rest, put on parchment paper or leave on your cutting board and put in the freezer to freeze individually and then package into freezer bags – food savers work great for these once they are frozen.
For frying: heat up oil of your choice making sure it coats the bottom of the pan thoroughly (or use a deep fryer if you have one). Add a couple of spring rolls and make sure they are not touching each other because if they do, they will stick to each other and tear. Fry till brown and then carefully flip them over and brown the other side. They will spatter, esp if any of the rice paper is torn and lets the filling juices out, so use a spatter guard and oven mitts.
Let them rest on some paper towel. Then start dipping!
Spring roll dipping sauce
1 part GF tamari or soy sauce
1 part rice wine vinegar
1/2 part toasted sesame oil
minced green onion – just the green bits
Enjoy and let me know how they work for you!