Friday, October 16, 2009

Deep-Fried Spring Rolls

In an earlier blog, I demonstrated how to make a delicious and refreshing Vietnamese spring roll. Now I would like to show you how to make a version that is deep fried and just as yummy! With the previous spring roll, I utilized a translucent rice paper wrapper made from what else, rice flour. For this fried version, I am using a spring roll pastry wrapper made from wheat flour instead. It can be found in the frozen section of most oriental grocery stores.

One of the most important ingredient found in this spring roll is the root vegetable, jicama (pronounced hee-kha-ma), also known as Mexican turnip. Here's a picture of a jicama (on left). As you can see, the exterior is papery brown while the inside is white and has the texture almost like a cross between a daikon and an apple. Like daikon, it tastes refreshing but just not as bitter. While the jicama can be eaten raw (like in salads), it can also be cooked them and it is an integral part of this deep-fried spring roll's filling.

For the filling, I julienned jicama, carrots, Chinese chives, garlic and onions. If you are making a vegetarian version, you can also add tofu and broccoli. I made this one with the addition of chicken and broccoli because I had some leftover chicken stir fry from the day before. The best thing about these types of spring roll fillings is you can add most anything you like. You can make a seafood version with shrimp and scallops or a vegetarian version that I just mentioned earlier. Cook the filling like you would a stir fry with a little bit of soy sauce and oyster sauce. Just make sure that the final product does not contain too much gravy. Too soupy and the filling has a bad habit of leaking out from the wrapper and you'll have a hard time when deep-frying. In the following sequence of photos, I'll show you how to wrap the spring roll.

Pretty easy, huh? When you are wrapping these puppies, make sure that the rest of the wrappers are not fully exposed to the air as they would dry out pretty quickly. Make sure you keep them inside the bag that they came in and covered on the outside with a damp cloth. Also, after wrapping a bunch of these spring rolls, make sure that you do not stack them together or make contact with one another as the wrappers will stick together and tear when you try to pry them apart. When you deep-fry, make sure that the oil is really hot (at least 350F) before dropping them in. My favorite dipping sauce for this deep-fried spring roll is Worcestershire sauce, spiced up with some Thai bird chillies. Totally yummy!

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