Tasty, crunchy, Thai spring rolls

Although I love my gingery spring roll recipe more than any other variation on the spring roll theme, sometimes a girl needs a change. Otherwise, we’d only ever have one pair of shoes, right? No, that doesn’t sound right at all!

Anyway, these are spicy, crunchy, Thai-spiced spring rolls, which are delicious as part of a Thai meal, or as a starter, or as part of a buffet. Make up your own excuses to eat these! Whatever reason (aliens, hurricane, big puddle outside your house) it’ll be worth it. Like a lot of Asian recipes, the ingredients list seems intimidating, but once you’ve chucked everything in, you’ll realise that long lists don’t mean lots of work! Also, if you can’t find minced turkey, you can substitute minced chicken or pork. Lamb and beef will be too powerful here, though.

To make these spring rolls for bento boxes, buy the largest size spring roll wrappers you can get, and then divide them into four quarters. Make sure that all the ingredients are finely chopped, and trim the noodles to a shorter length.

Recipe for Thai spring rolls

Thai Spring Rolls

INGREDIENTS

  • Packet of 15cm/6 inch square spring roll wrappers
  • 50g cellophane/harusame noodles
  • 250g minced turkey
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Ground pepper
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 70g beansprouts
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Sweet chilli dipping sauce

METHOD

  • Put the noodles in boiling water to soak for 10 minutes, then rinse under cold water, drain thoroughly and cut into 5cm lengths to make them easier to eat.
  • Heat the oil in a wok and fry the turkey mince on a medium heat, until the mince is separated and cooked through. Then add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and cook until the mince is slightly browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it will turn bitter.
  • Now add the noodles, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar and mix well, adding pepper to taste. Turn the heat low and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Put the carrots, beansprouts, coriander and mint into the pan, stir and take off the heat.
  • Now to wrap your spring rolls. Place your spring roll wrapper diagonally on the work surface and fill the corner nearest to you with a tablespoon of mixture. Pull the corner up over the top and then roll twice – you should now be roughly to the centre of the wrapper. Fold the two corners into the middle and then continue to roll it up, sealing the end with water – this is vital or your roll will pop open when you fry it.
  • The frying method is the same for Chinese spring rolls – you can use a deep fat fryer at 170 degrees centigrade to cook your spring rolls, or heat them in a pan of hot oil. To test the oil is hot enough, add a spring roll – if it sizzles and the oil bubbles around it vigorously, you have it right. Cook on each side for a couple of minutes, then drain. If your rolls go dark brown too quickly, turn your heat down.
  • To serve, arrange on a plate with a dish of sweet chilli dipping sauce.

What to do with leftover chicken and turkey: chicken egg fu young

Egg fu young is a very westernised dish; basically a Chinese take on an omelette. The name is said to derive from ‘fu young’, which is a kind of hibiscus with beautiful flowers. The dish consists of eggs cooked like an omelette, with a variety of fillings, served with a savoury brown sauce. You can adapt this recipe to use a huge variety of different fillings – I’ve used prawns, ham and chicken/turkey – but use any filling you like!
Egg Fu Young finished close

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 75g left over chicken or turkey
  • 75g raw prawns
  • 75g ham, cut into small pieces
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Sauce

  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

METHOD

  • Prepare the sauce by adding all of the ingredients except the cornstarch and the water to a saucepan.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in your frying pan, and put over a high heat. Add your garlic and spring onions, and allow to fry for a few seconds, until they begin to smell fragrant. Add the beansprouts and stir fry for a minute, then add the raw prawns, chicken and ham, and cook for another minute, or until the prawns are cooked through. Drain the excess liquid off and into your saucepan for the sauce – this ensures your omelette isn’t soggy when it’s cooked. Set the mixture aside, and when slightly cooler, add the beaten eggs and the soy sauce.
  • Clean the frying pan, then add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan over a medium heat, and ladle in half of your egg and filling mixture. Cook for a couple of minutes, then turn over and cook for a further minute the other side.
  • Drain the omelette on some kitchen towel and keep warm. Repeat the cooking process for the remaining oil and egg mixture.
  • Finish your sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, and meanwhile mix the cornstarch and the water together thoroughly. When your sauce is boiling, add the cornstarch mixture, and stir until the sauce thickens and boils.
  • Serve the omelette on a warm plate with the sauce spooned over the top. This will serve two adults for a main course or four for a lunch or snack. If you wish to serve more people, the best thing is to reduce the size of the frying pan you cook the omelette in, as thinner omelettes are harder to turn. Best served with plain rice.

Egg Fu Young finished

Variations

Egg fu young is easy to adapt and you can use plenty of different fillings to vary the taste. If you’re a vegetarian, you can replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and leave out the meat. You can try bamboo shoots, peas, carrots, onion, peppers, mushrooms, celery, cucumber or water chestnuts. Just make sure that anything canned in water is drained thoroughly, and tougher vegetables like carrots and peppers are cooked through before you make your omelette. Left over roast meat is brilliant here – or try char siu or leftover duck. You can even play around with the sauce – some recipes call for chilli sauce, garlic, spring onions, vinegar, Chinese rice wine and sugar as added ingredients.

Egg Fu Young no sauce