I’m posting this recipe for two reasons.
Firstly, during the past month, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (an American non-profit organization) released a report that states that Chinese food is unhealthy. I believe the aim of this report is to demonstrate that there is no cuisine, ethnic or otherwise, that is ultimately healthy. As such, consumers must pick and choose what to eat and how often. However, the majority of the media coverage makes correlations between this report and North American Chinese Food, not traditional Chinese food. For instance, many online news articles mention lemon chicken, chicken balls, egg rolls, and general Tao’s chicken. Since I have never really eaten North American Chinese Food and I want to demonstrate that Chinese food can be healthy, I am posting a healthier alternative to the spring roll. Spring rolls are typically served with Dim Sum, a traditional Chinese brunch.
Secondly, the sun has come out after 4 days of overcast skies. I feel that this recipe is playful and light, which is accordingly appropriate.
Spring rolls can be likened to the American casserole in that they can easily serve as a vehicle to combine left-overs to create a dish. This is the premise of the following recipe. This is also the reason why the measurements are not precise. They are not intended to be.
All you need is a featured ingredient and some “backup singers” for texture and body. In this case, the featured ingredient is left-over barbecued pork. The backup singers include mung bean sprouts and various aromatics.
This recipe is also not fixed. You can add, subtract, or substitute ingredients to change the overall flavors and textures of the spring rolls. Come to think of it, this recipe could easily be made vegetarian, by substituting firm tofu for the meat.
Stuff you will need:
- Roughly 1 lb of cooked meat, preferably shred-able. Cooked and crumbled ground meat will do in a pinch.
- 1/2 lb of mung bean sprouts
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 lb of cooked shrimp (optional)
- 6 stalks of green onions (aka: scallions)
- 1/4 cup of finely shopped garlic chives (available in Asian supermarket)
- 6-7 large shitake mushroom caps sliced (any meaty mushroom will do)
- one package of spring roll wrappers, approx. 25-30 wrappers/package (actually, I’m finding these wrapper in almost any supermarket)
- salt and pepper (flavoring)
- sesame oil (flavoring)
- Shred the meat into thin and short strips.
- Set the slivered meat aside in a metal bowl.
- Finely mince the garlic
- Take a skillet, add a tbsp of vegetable oil, and heat on medium
- When the oil shimmers, add the mung bean sprouts and minced garlic to it and gently fry until the sprouts are translucent.
- Add the sprouts and garlic to the meat.
- If you are using shrimp, butterfly and halve each shrimp it so that large pieces don’t overpower each bite of spring roll.
- Set the shrimp aside in a separate bowl.
- Split the green onions where the green turns white.
- Slice the green part of the green onions into long strips and add to the meat mixture
- Slice the whites thinly cross wise and add to the meat mixture
- Finely chop your garlic chives and add to the meat mixture
- Slice your mushrooms into 5 mm (1/8 inch) thick strips
- Heat a fry pan that is large enough to accommodate your mushroom slices with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium.
- When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms in one layer, sprinkle with salt, and gently sauté to remove some of the mushroom’s liquid. Otherwise, as the spring rolls bake, the mushrooms could give off their excess moisture and make the filling and skins soggy.
- After you cook off the moisture from the mushrooms and they appear almost dry, remove them from the pan and add to the meat mixture. The mushroom slices will shrink by half.
- Pre-heat an oven to 375Â°F
- Mix the meat mixture well.
- Add salt, pepper, and sesame oil to taste.
- Separate your spring roll wrappers and cover with a damp cloth to keep them pliable
- On a separate plate, take an individual spring roll wrapper and lay it flat. Place two tbsp of meat mixture onto it. If you are using shrimp, add two butterflied shrimp halves (i.e. one whole shrimp per spring roll), and seal with water or egg wash (one egg with 3 tbsp water).
- Repeat until all wrappers are used.
- Arrange onto oiled metal racks on a sheet pan and place into the oven.
- Bake until golden brown and crispy on one side, turn over and bake again until the other side is equally golden brown and crispy