Crispy Pork and Cabbage Spring Rolls

The search for extra crispy spring rolls began through YouTube several weeks ago. My mom and I were discussing preparations for our family’s Lunar New Year’s Eve dinner, and while I was on board to contribute, I had absolutely no idea what I should make. Should I make a meat dish? But then what kind of meat? Something with fish or chicken — no, wait, maybe beef. Or uhh pork. Shoot, maybe I should just go with a vegetarian option because that might be easier. BUT I WANT MEAT. Oy, the struggles.

Clearly, I was going nowhere and I needed some inspiration, but time was ticking. Thankfully, I remembered that someone had randomly recommended a Taiwanese cooking channel that they found to be helpful, and as I was browsing through some of the videos on the channel, I stumbled upon a tutorial for beef spring rolls. One video was all it took for me to be completely fascinated with perfecting the art of spring rolls by the time the dinner would happen.

Easily persuaded? Yes, yes I am.

By the way, I choose to call these “spring rolls” vs. “egg rolls” because in Mandarin, they’re called chūn juǎn (春捲), so the direct English translation is literally “spring rolls.” I know that “spring rolls” may also refer to the Vietnamese version of translucent spring rolls, but oh well, I’m still going to go with “spring rolls” for these.

To be honest, it took about four tries before I got it right. The first two times I tried making this, I used the wrong kind of skins. I kept looking for the frozen wrappers, but in my rush, I just couldn’t see them. So I went to the tofu section, where you see the refrigerated dumpling and wonton skins, and bought the ones clearly labeled “egg roll wrappers.”

The worst purchase ever.

These skins were thicker so my first batch of egg rolls came out chewy, dry, and underdone. It didn’t help that I didn’t cook the meat beforehand, so that first batch was kind of inedible The outside layer was crispy, but then the inside skin layers and filling was still raw. The second time I tried it, I chose to use the same kind of skins (because I bought a pack of 50 that I needed to get rid of), but this time, I attempted cooking the meat first, then wrapping the cooked meat with the skins. The second batch revealed similar results, with the only difference being that now it was cooked skin, inner uncooked layers of skin, and cooked filling. Whomp, whomp, whomp.

It all became better when I bought the RIGHT kind of skins. I went back to the same Asian supermarket and found the wrappers near the frozen pre-made lumpias. I guess the kind of spring rolls that I was going for uses the same kind of wrappers as lumpias. Mind blown. Anyway, enough from me. I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking!

Some tips: The skins are frozen so either defrost on the counter for a good 20-30 minutes or put them in the fridge overnight. When it’s time to wrap, make sure to cover the spring roll sheets underneath a damp cloth towel or paper towel. These sheets are paper-like thin, and will dry out very easily, which causes them to break apart.

When it comes time to wrap, be careful of putting too much filling inside the wrappers. One tablespoon is generally all you need, and you don’t want to overstuff the wrappers that they’d break apart when frying. Be mindful to also tuck and fold tightly, pressing down when needed so that there will be no air spaces. Check out the photos below for step-by-step examples and tips!

Remember: diamond shape and just one tablespoon of filling.

Roll.

Fold the right. Or the left side first. Whichever you prefer.

When folding the left and right sides, align the top to bottom. It should form a straight, vertical line on both sides. See? Finish with the egg wash!

Ta-da! Easy peasy.

For extra crispy spring rolls, wrap again with another sheet of wrapper! An extra layer of wrapper guarantees an extra crispy layer!

C’mon, they’re EXTRA CRISPY! It’s the best! Trust me. So what are you waiting for?

Inspired by Taiwan Cooking

Crispy Pork and Cabbage Spring Rolls

  • Servings: 6-12
  • Print

Ingredients: For the Marinade:

  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine
  • 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 carrots, fine julienne cut (matchstick style)
  • Half a head of cabbage, chopped finely into small dices
  • 1 stalk green onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 packed tablespoons)

For wrapping and frying:

  • 1 egg + a little water, for the egg wash
  • 1 pack of 50 frozen spring roll wrappers, defrosted OR 2 packs of 50 frozen spring roll wrappers, defrosted, for extra crispy spring rolls
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil
Instructions

Cooking the filling

  1. Place the ground pork into a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, black vinegar, rice wine, cornstarch, and sesame oil.
  2. Pour the sauce over the ground pork. Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator at least 30 minutes-1 hour, or overnight. The longer the meat is marinated, the better. This ensures that the meat will be able to soak up all the flavors.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine together the cabbage, carrots, green onions, and garlic.
  4. In a skillet or wok, cook the meat until it is no longer pink. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Then transfer the meat and set aside.
  5. In the same skillet or wok, stir fry the cabbage, carrots, green onions, and garlic for several minutes, then add the meat back into the wok or skillet.
  6. Stir the meat and vegetables together and transfer the filling to a baking sheet to cool for 15-30 minutes.
  7. Place a damp towel or paper towel on top of the defrosted spring roll wrappers to prevent the skins from  drying out. Carefully take one sheet and place it face down in a diamond shape. Then, taking one tablespoon of the filling, place it near the bottom of the sheet (see photos above for examples).
  8. Tuck the bottom corner and roll as tightly as possible. Then fold the right side, then left, then roll.
  9. Seal the wrapper with a little bit of egg wash. I used a fork but you can just use your finger too.
  10. For extra crispy spring rolls, skip the egg wash part (for now) and take the spring roll and place it on top of another sheet of wrapper. Then repeat the process of rolling and tucking. When you have wrapped it twice, seal with the egg wash. (See photo above for a demonstration).
  11. Using a skillet, generously coat the entire area with canola or vegetable oil. Gently place some spring rolls into the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet (I put 5-6 at a time), shallow fry one side until it turns golden brown before flipping and shallow frying the other side. Once golden brown, or you hear or see bubbles popping up, this means that the spring rolls are done!
  12. Serve with sauce of choice. In our house, we’ll serve this with black vinegar, soy sauce, and minced garlic; ketchup and lemon juice; or any sweet and sour sauce.

Notes: I don’t own a deep fryer, but I’ve tried frying these spring rolls using a small, deep saucepan/pot and filling it until it is about 2/3 full of oil. Fry until golden brown. This will probably yield quicker, more uniform results than pan-frying or shallow frying. But if you don’t want to use too much oil, go with the shallow frying option! You can also make these spring rolls ahead of time and refrigerate until you’re ready to fry them, up to three days!

Written by www.perseveringjoy.com

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4 Comments

    • endorap says:

      Thanks! It’s been something that I’ve been working on and I hope to continue to improve as I learn more about food styling + photography, and as I take more pictures! 🙂

      Like

    • endorap says:

      Haha yeah, you would think so if they’re called “egg roll wrappers.” Except the wrappers are thick and not great for frying. I think what makes these spring rolls so crispy is because of the super thin wrappers. They’re really the best!

      Like

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