In Chinese cuisine, textures and flavors play a pivotal role in creating a well-rounded menu. And the art that marries the two in perfect harmony is known as tiaowei. This New Year’s, we’re borrowing from that ideology to create a delightful appetizer for our party. The outer shell, deep fried to a golden brown crunch that breaks into glassy shards between the teeth, epitomizes the cui texture (crisp and crackling) and the inner filling, suffused with elements of heat, spice and piquancy in moderation, swiftly seducing the tastebuds, evinces the xiang flavor (rich and fragrant). When dipped in a conflagrant sauce and relished to the last crumb, our version of the traditional spring roll beckons you for second and third helpings..and like a narrative of rhapsodic tones and expressions, it is wont to work its magic on the meishijia (gourmet) in you..
Veggie-delite Spring Rolls
For the filling –
- 1 Tablespoon light olive oil
- 1/4 Medium-sized cabbage, sliced thin and long
- 1 Small carrot, grated
- 1 Green chilli, finely minced
- 2-3 Pods of garlic, grated
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated horseradish*
- 1/4 Teaspoon pepper powder
- A dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt according to taste
- A dash of brown sugar
- 2-3 Stems of green onions, chopped
- A handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 Teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 Teaspoons vinegar
Warm the oil in a pan and throw in the cabbage, stir fry for about 3 minutes on a medium-high flame, then add the carrot, chilli, garlic, ginger, horseradish and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add the pepper powder, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar and mix well, reducing the flame to low-medium. Finally add the green onions and cilantro, soy sauce and vinegar and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the flame and set aside to cool.
For the rolls –
Set your preferred oil to heat up for deep frying in a pan/ kadhai.
Assemble the egg-roll wrappers on your counter, say 4 at a time, in ‘diamond’ shaped positions, and keep a small bowl of cold water to brush the edges. Follow the package directions (we used Nasoya egg roll wrappers) and accordingly, place a little bit of filling (about 2 tablespoons) in the center of each wrapper, fold either side then close the bottom, rolling upwards till you’re left with a small triangle shaped portion to secure the roll. At this point, brush the open-ended portion with cold water and envelop the roll, pressing lightly to ensure it is well glued.
Deep fry the rolls one or two at a time, flipping over until they turn brown and crisp, drain on a paper towel. Serve hot with ketchup or hot sauce.
- If you’d rather use horseradish paste, use 1 teaspoon of the paste in place of the grated 1 tablespoon.
- You can add thinly sliced colored bell peppers, peas and even minced meat to the filling for different flavors.
- If you want to make these rolls ahead of time, pop them in a preheated oven for 5-8 minutes just before serving. Or if you’d rather freeze them, make sure they’re well secured after filling them and freeze in a ziplock bag, deep fry just before serving do not thaw.
- For a fun take on these spring rolls, you could even cut each wrapper into 4 quarters, brush them lightly with olive oil, and stick them in a mini-muffin tray. Fill with prepared stuffing and bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for about 15 minutes or until brown and crisp.