Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crispy Veggie Spring Rolls

Fried vegetable spring rolls are stuffed savory pastries filled with julienned vegetables. The wrapper is made of wheat flour,salt and water. In Asia, there are many versions of fried veggie spring rolls. It is believed that the Chinese invented spring rolls (chunjuan/ lunpia) and Chinese immigrants from the Fujian province of China brought the recipe to Japan and Southeast Asia where they settled in Singapore, Malaysia, Philipines, Thailand and Indonesia. Traditional chinese veggie spring rolls have shredded carrots, cabbage, mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Japanese "harumaki" (haru=spring; maki=rolls) consist of bean sprouts, cellophane noodles, boiled strips of bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms seasoned with grated ginger, sake, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Indonesian veggie spring rolls (loempia) have cabbage, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, carrots, garlic and onion and depending on who is preparing it, the filling is seasoned with kecap manis (a type of sweet soy sauce), shrimp paste and sambal olek (made of chilis, sugar and salt). Filipino veggie spring rolls (lumpia) are made of shredded carrots, bean sprouts, cabbage, sweet potato, green beans and served with a vinegar dipping sauce with chopped onions, garlic and bird's eye chilis. At almost every Asian get-together, fried or fresh spring rolls are served as a side dish. Kids and adults alike love the crispy fried spring rolls. My friend Yoli makes one of the best fried veggie spring rolls. She uses tofu, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, glass noodles and jicama. She sautés each veggie separately with garlic and onions then seasons and combines everything together before neatly wrapping the spring roll and serving it with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce on the side. My version involves sautéing all the veggies together and adding finely chopped honey roasted peanuts to give a sweet and nutty contrast to the veggies. P.S. Please don't be intimidated by all the shredded veggies. You can buy pre-shredded veggies or shred the veggies in just five minutes with a veggie shredder. I personally use a safe and easy to clean electric shredder. P.P.S. If you are gluten intolerant, you might try preparing the filling and wrapping it in rice paper made of tapioca starch and rice flour or you may want to wrap the filling in leaf lettuce and avoid the spring roll wrapper completely. It will still be crispy but not fried.

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c sweet onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c shredded carrots
1/2 c shredded sweet potato
1/2 c shredded acorn squash
1 c shredded cabbage
2 Tbsp minced green onions
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 c shredded jicama
1 bunch leaf lettuce
1/2 c finely chopped Planters honey roasted peanuts
1 beaten egg yolk
oil for deep-frying


Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and onions and allow the onions to caramelize. Add all the veggies (except jicama) to the pan and saute over high heat for 3 minutes. Don't overcook veggies, they should still be crunchy. Add green onions and season with salt and black pepper. Add jicama, mix throroughly and cook 1 minute longer then turn off heat. There is a frying step later so avoid overcooking the veggies. Transfer to a bowl and let the veggie filling cool down to room temperature.

Thaw frozen spring roll wrapper to room temperature. Separate a spring roll wrapper and place on a plate. Lay a lettuce leaf in the center of the spring roll wrapper. Spoon 2 heaping Tbsp of filling on top of the leaf and sprinkle about 1/2 tsp chopped honey roasted peanuts over the filling. Fold the bottom of the spring roll wrapper over the filling, fold in the sides and roll up. Seal the flap with the beaten egg yolk.

Deep fry spring rolls for 3-4 minutes till golden brown. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Serve while piping hot and crispy.


gay said...

I love spring rolls because you can virtually use any ingredients you want and still come out delicious. I love to make odd pairings of vegetables and meat to make spring rolls.

Joie de vivre said...

These look time consuming but I'm sure they are worth it!

Momsgateway said...

I'll let you on a secret---they were easy to make only because I have an electric Presto salad shooter. It took me about 5 minutes to shred all the veggies! The filling freezes well so I make a big batch and store them in freezer bags. When I want to eat spring rolls, I just thaw the filling and I wrap only as many as I need. It's really worth it!

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

I love the pic. greta colors.

Momsgateway said...


Anonymous said...

Double yums up! We just took a stab at the same thing, and we'll share our story this week. Yours sound delish, and it's a GREAT idea to add the peanuts!