If you are not quite familiar with the Chinese cuisine you may be wondering what a spring roll is. A spring roll is a traditional Chinese snack. These delicate spring rolls are filled with shredded pork, shrimp, black mushrooms and garlic chives.
Spring rolls are most commonly eaten in China though over time, these delicious appetizers began to be enjoyed all around the world. Spring rolls are a refreshing change from the regular fried egg rolls; they are also great for those who are on a strict diet but still desire something tasty and enjoyable.
Spring rolls have a long history in China. It is said that the pastry appeared way back in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, when people would make thin cakes with flour and eat them with vegetables on the day of Beginning of Spring. The cakes were called “spring dish” at that time. Later, Spring Dishes evolved into spring cakes. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there was a custom of “biting spring”, which means welcoming spring by eating spring cakes. The practice was believed to ward off disaster and evil. Along with ever improving cooking skills, spring cakes evolved into spring rolls, which were smaller in size. Spring rolls were included in imperial court snacks.
Today, there are numerous types of fillings, including shredded pork with chives, shepherd's purses and sweetened bean paste etc. Spring rolls are ready when they are golden in color and come on top of the oil after being fried. When served, the rolls taste better if dipped in sauces. The snacks are crisp outside and fresh inside, really delicious. Spring rolls vary slightly from place to place, with well-known types being Shanghai Spring Rolls and Fuzhou Spring Rolls.
Here's a quick guide to home-made traditional Chinese spring rolls:
Soften the mushrooms by soaking in hot water. Cut the pork into matchsticks. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch. Marinate for 15 minutes. Rinse the shrimp under warm running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Chop finely. Toss with the rice wine and cornstarch. Marinate for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Set aside. Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add the pork. Stir-fry until it turns white and is about 80 percent cooked through. Remove from the wok and drain on paper towels.
Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables, one at a time, beginning with the mushrooms, then the red bell pepper, cabbage, garlic chives, shredded carrot and mung bean sprouts.
Add the sauce to the wok. Add the pork and shrimp back into the pan. Heat through. Remove and cool. Clean out the wok. Pre-heat the oil for deep-frying to 360 degrees Fahrenheit while preparing the spring rolls.
Lay a spring roll wrapper in front of you so that it forms a diamond shape. Use your index finger to wet all the edges with water or a cornstarch/water paste. Place approximately 2 tablespoons of filling near the bottom. Roll over once, tuck in the sides, and then continue rolling. Seal the top.
Deep-fry the spring rolls in 3 to 4 batches, cooking until they are golden brown and crispy (about 3 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve the spring rolls with the plum sauce and hot mustard for dipping.