Today was a day of “if only”-s. If only .. If only.. If only..
Today was also the day that I made an official decision that Asian cooking is that area which I sometimes struggle with. And that it takes a LONG time. Like 2 hours. Just to make 40 odd spring rolls that looked wonky, but tasted amazing! I knew there is a whole art attached to making spring rolls, but you know, rules are made to be broken, as my vis. comm. lecturer says! So you see……
…. Last week I decided to buy rice vermicelli so that I can explore asian cuisine on the weekend (namely today). I decided to make spring rolls with the filo pastry I bought to make baqlawa (also known as baklava – shudder). So I set off to make them! Quickly I realised, if only I knew a good recipe for the filling. And if only I didn’t have to spend so long looking through Google for a recipe. If only we had sweet chilli sauce in the pantry. I “stuffed all” and went into the kitchen to make up my own spring rolls! That’s when I realised if only there was cabbage in the fridge. Nevertheless, I put together my own stuffing and adapted the sauce from Island Vittles to be compatible with what I had.
Yields: ~ 40
10 large rectangular sheets filo pastry
1/4 cup peas
2 cloves garlic
2 tbs finely chopped mint
4 tbs finely chopped coriander
1 chicken breast fillet, finely diced
1 tiny red chilli (about 2-3cms in length)
salt and baharat or your favourite spices
sweet soy sauce to taste (I used about 1/4 cup)
130g rice vermicelli (I used 1/3 of a 400g pack); makes about 2 cups after it’s blanched
Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce:
4 tiny red chillies or 2 medium sized ones
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup tap water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs cornstarch + 2tbs water
First, prep the filling by grating the carrot with a mandolin grater.
Add the carrot, mint, coriander and peas into a large bowl, and toss.
In a non-stick pan, add the finely diced chicken breast, 2 cloves minced garlic, finely diced red chilli, and 1/8 cup sweet soy sauce.
Add a salt, pepper and baharat and cook over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes (until the chicken whitens).
Add the chicken to the bowl of filling.
In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil, and add the rice vermicelli.
Leave to cook for 3 – 5 minutes, or until it’s easy enough to pull apart.
Drain then cut the rice vermicelli with kitchen scissors (to about a 5cm length).
Add the vermicelli to the filling. Add in the remaining soy sauce + salt to taste and toss.
Prepare the filo pastry by covering it with a damp tea towel.
Depending on the shape of your pastry, cut into squares or rectangles for rolling. I believe the proper way to roll spring rolls is to place the filling diagonally on a square and roll it, tuck in the sides and seal the end. But I wasn’t going to do the maths, I’ve got long sheets of pastry, so I cut mine into strips and rolled them the way I roll grape leaves!
Place a tablespoon of the mixture on one end of the filo pastry, roll to about half way.
Tuck in the sides and continue rolling.
Seal the end with a dab or water, milk, or egg.
Repeat the process until the filling is used up. Keep the rolled filo under another damp tea towel in a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Leave the spring rolls in the fridge until it’s time to cook them.. Or head on over the deep fryer.
To fry the spring rolls, dip one in to test the oil temperature, if it immediately sizzles, turn the heat down to medium and cook the spring rolls until golden.
To stop the spring rolls from expanding/unrolling, use the back of your frying colander or spoon to keep the spring roll against the side of the deep fryer for the first few seconds. If you don’t enclose upon it, it will fall apart.
To bake the spring rolls, preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Brush the rolls with oil and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden.
In the meantime, make the sweet chilli sauce by removing the seeds from the chillis (I actually kept mine for an extra chilli punch!)
Place the cloves of minced garlic, the chilli, sugar and vinegar in a mini food processor.
Beat in until the mixture had incorporated.
Transfer to a non-stick saucepan, adding 3/4 cup water and the soy sauce.
Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and leave for 2 – 3 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with the water and leave aside.
Remove the chili sauce from the heat, stir in the cornstarch slurry and return to the heat.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens a bit, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool completely. Transfer to a steralised, air tight jar for later use, but keep aside what you want to serve with the spring rolls.
Keeps for up to 6 weeks apparently
Serve the spring rolls while they’re fresh and crispy.
Nom Nom Nom – abati loved the sauce