Spring rolls are a starter dish on the Chinese New Year’s Eve menu. As every festival dish has a auspicious name, Spring Rolls means the spring will arrive soon. When I was little, one of the many exciting things during the festival was to watch grandma making spring rolls. Grandma will make spring rolls with 2 types of fillings, vegetables (salty flavour) and red bean paste (sweet flavour). She would also make the red bean paste herself: put water and red beans in a big pot, bring to a boil, add sugar, then keep boiling for hours. My cousin and I would find any excuse to stay in the kitchen, so we could ‘help her to taste’ the spring rolls. At the end, grandma had to “SHOE!” us out otherwise there wouldn’t be any spring roll left.
These days people can get pre-made spring rolls every where, but I still like to make them the traditional way myself.
Vegetable Spring Rolls
(make about 20 spring rolls)
spring roll pastry
1/2 sweet heart cabbage
1 white onion
five spice powder
ground Sichuan pepper
- Cut the sweet heart cabbage, carrot and white onion into thin shreds.
- Heat up a wok with 2 tbs of cooking oil over strong heat, when the oil is hot, put the onion shreds in to stir-fry. When the onion releases it’s aroma, put the carrot shreds in, stir. When the carrot shreds are softened, add sweet heart cabbage. Keeping string until the cabbage shreds are soften, add a pinch of five spice powder, ground Sichuan pepper and salt, mix well. Take out and keep on a plate to cool.
- Take one spring roll pastry, place on a flat and dry surface. Put about a tsb of cooled filling on the middle of the bottom half of the sheet. Tightly roll the sheet and filling half-way. Fold the right edge towards left, and the fold the left edge towards right. It should look a bit like an open envelop at this point.
- Finish by continuing to roll until the end of the pastry. Repeat to use up all the pastry and filling.
- Heap up a pot filled with one quarter of cooking oil over strong heat. Heat up to 180°C, put the spring rolls in one by one to deep fry. Turning constantly until both sides have turned golden brown.
- Take out and drain the oil on kitchen paper. It’s ready to serve.
- I used 12cm x 12cm pastry, of course you can use bigger sizes, with a bigger portion of filling.
- In case the spring roll will open while deep frying, I normally lightly brush a drip of water at the top edge of the pastry, so the spring roll will seal better.