I LOVE me some spring rolls. These bad boys do take a bit of patience to assemble, but I promise that the time spent will be totally worth it. Before you've even finished polishing them off you'll be thinking about when you can make them next.
As you can see, spring rolls can be fried (above left) or baked (above right). Fried anything typically tastes better than not, but if you want to make this a bit healthier then the baked option is still really delicious. Or, do what I did and make both. Pair them with the perfect combination of sweet and spicy and you've got yourself an empty dish.
The first time I tried to make my own spring rolls was with my fiance about a year ago. We had sprigs of carrot poking out of wraps, some that weren't tight enough, and rolls of all shapes and sizes. Seriously, how does one come out 4 inches long, fat and doughy and another come out 2 inches long, tight and crisp?
Well, for starters… we were only rolling some of them correctly. This led to misshapen objects that tasted pretty good for a first shot, but had plenty of room for improvement.
To roll a spring roll correctly, you MUST use water and the contents MUST be placed in the bottom corner rather than along one of the edges. Don't wrap it like a present; wrap it like a diaper. If your veggies are in the bottom corner, you will be able to fold the two outer corners in, and then roll the bottom corner up over the contents; kind of like a pocket. This helps keep it nice and tight.
Another important element is to not over-stuff it. An over-stuffed spring roll is an unhappy spring roll. Too much mix will bust your wrap open before you finish rolling, and you'll be left with one less roll. Why have one less roll? Save yourself the misery of losing a roll by being frugal with your stuffing.
These spring rolls would do well as an appetizer or a side, and the dipping sauce pairs well with almost any Asian-inspired dish!
I made them for my parents last night and they somehow turned into an appetizer AND a side. But hey, nobody was complaining. Pretty sure I can quote my mom as saying, “these are the best spring rolls I've ever had,” so there's that. We got halfway through the fried batch before I realized that I didn't even remember to take any photos for this post! Hence the lack of fried guys on the left.
We had ours with homemade fried rice and vegetable stir fry for dinner:
Spring Rolls With Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce
For the spring rolls
2 cups shredded carrot
3 cups shredded coleslaw OR 1 head of cabbage chopped into thin pieces
1/2 cup bean sprouts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ginger, grated
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
2-3 tsp. hoisin
Salt & pepper to taste
1 pack egg roll wraps
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
Rice vermicelli noodles, optional
1 egg (wash), if baking
Vegetable oil (if frying)
Small bowl of water
For the dipping sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. honey
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. Sriracha hot chili sauce
1 tbsp. red chili garlic sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. ketchup
1-2 tbsp. brown sugar
For the spring rolls
- If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Mix shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, minced garlic, grated singer, cilantro and scallions in a large bowl.
- Add rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin, salt & pepper. Toss until evenly coated.
- Cut shiitake mushrooms into thin slices and set aside.
- Boil water and cook rice vermicelli noodles (if using), about 3 minutes & drain. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Place egg roll wrap on a cutting board with a corner facing you.
- At the bottom corner, lay a few strands of vermicelli, 1-3 sliced shiitake mushrooms & about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of your spring roll mixture.
- Using your fingers, take a few drops of water from your bowl and lightly rub the top corner and perimeter of the wrap. This is to help the edges stick together when you roll.
- Fold the two outer corners into the center to create the beginnings of a small pocket. This should leave your wrap at the width of your contents.
- Take the bottom corner of the wrap and fold it over the mixture. Gently roll until you reach the top, doing your best to keep the contents in place as you make your way up. Repeat with all of your wraps.
- If frying, fill a pan with about 1/2 inch vegetable oil and heat at medium-high. Once hot, test the temperature by carefully dropping 1 spring roll into the pan and cooking on all sides until golden brown. If you are satisfied with the temperature, repeat with the remaining rolls, 4-5 at a time. Drain on paper towel to remove excess oil.
- If baking, brush each roll with an egg wash and place on a PREPARED baking sheet, so that when you flip them they do not stick and tear the wrap. Bake for 15 minutes on each side, for a total of at least 30 minutes.
For the dipping sauce
- Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, honey, Sriracha, red chili sauce, sesame oil, ketchup and sugar in a small bowl until sugar has dissolved.