These Cantonese Spring Rolls are a wonderful starter to make for a Chinese New Year dinner party. They are filled with pork, shrimp, and a variety of vegetables and deep-fried to golden perfection. A classic Chinese dish that is sure to be a hit with your guests!
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Cantonese Spring Rolls
Spring rolls are a large variety of filled, rolled appetizers or dim sum found in East Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian cuisine. The name is a literal translation of the Chinese chūn juǎn (春卷 ‘spring roll’). The kind of wrapper, fillings, and cooking technique used, as well as the name, vary considerably within this large area, depending on the region’s culture. – Wikipedia
Now, depending on where you live in the world you may call these egg rolls or pancake rolls, or even something else.
In British Chinese restaurants, you’ll find spring rolls which are usually quite small, around 2″/5cm long. You’ll also find pancake rolls that are a lot longer and fatter in size. Both contain meat and/or vegetable fillings, and both are delicious!
These Cantonese spring rolls have cabbage, mushroom, carrots, shrimp, pork and more inside a spring roll wrapper and fried to golden perfection.
In Chinese culture, the shrimp symbolizes happiness and good fortune. Spring rolls are usually eaten during the Spring Festival in mainland China, hence the name.
Throwing a Chinese New Year Dinner Party? Check out my Free Chinese New Year Printables!
Ingredients used in this recipe
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but here is a brief outline so you know what to expect from the recipe.
I highly recommend always reading a recipe all the way through before starting.
You should be able to find most of these ingredients in your local grocery store. However, if you live near a Chinatown or have an Asian supermarket in your area, you can buy some of the more specialised ingredients there
- Dried Chinese or Shiitake Mushrooms
- Ground Pork
- Small (Cooked) Shrimp/Prawns
- Soy Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Sake or Rice Wine or Dry Sherry
- Cornstarch (Cornflour)
- Fresh Ginger
- Bell Pepper – use any color you like
- Napa Cabbage/Chinese Cabbage
- Green Onions (Spring Onions)
- Spring Roll Wrappers – these are often sold frozen.
- Vegetable Oil – for stir-frying the vegetables, and for deep-frying the spring rolls
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Tips for Making Cantonese Spring Rolls
You may think spring rolls are tricky to make, and believe me, I thought the same thing when I made them for the first time. But they are surprisingly simple and your guests will be impressed with your skills!
- The ingredients that are wrapped up in the spring rolls are cooked first.
- Dried mushrooms have to be soaked for 20-30 minutes or until they are soft and pliable. Squeeze out the excess water and cut off and discard any woody stems.
- The mushroom water can be saved and used in soups and other dishes, but filter it first to get rid of any sand or grit.
- The cooked pork and shrimp need to be marinated for about 15 minutes, so allow time for that when preparing the spring rolls for a dinner party.
- Do not overfill the spring roll wrappers.
- Keep the folds and roll tight, using cornstarch (cornflour) and water to seal the roll.
- You can make the spring rolls in advance and keep covered in the fridge until ready to cook. Take them out about half an hour before cooking to bring them to room temperature.
- Spring rolls are deep-fried. If you have a deep-fryer at home you will be able to use that to cook them. If you don’t you will need to use oil in a large saucepan.
- Fry the spring rolls in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan – this lowers the temperature of the oil and the food won’t cook properly.
- Remove from oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Serve spring rolls with store-bought dipping sauces like sweet chili or plum sauce.
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How to Deep-Fry Safely
If you have not deep-fried food before it can be quite daunting. However, follow my tips below so that you can deep-fry food at home safely and confidently.
If you find you want to do a lot of deep-frying, then it is worth investing in a dedicated deep-fryer, which is safer and more convenient to use.
- Use an oil with a high smoking point. Vegetable or groundnut/peanut oil is generally the best for deep-frying as they have a neutral taste, are economical to buy, and have a high smoke point. You do not want to be using an extra-virgin olive oil which is best for dressing food.
- Use a large, deep, wide, sturdy pan. I tend to use my old-fashioned pressure cooker saucepan as it fulfills all of those requirements. A Dutch oven is another good option.
- Do not overfill the pan. Never fill the pan more than two-thirds with oil as it may bubble up when you add food and spill over.
- NEVER throw water on an oil/grease fire. Keep a damp (not wet) tea towel nearby to help smother the flames. Alternatively, invest in a fire blanket.
- Keep a well-fitting lid close to hand. If you don’t have a lid for the pot you are using, you can use a baking sheet. Use this to cover the pan should it catch fire.
- Invest in a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen already, this is the perfect time to purchase one. You never know when you will need it.
- Use a thermometer. Oil for deep-frying should be somewhere between 180C and 200C/375F and 400F. A food thermometer will help you to keep an eye on the temperature.
- NEVER leave a pan of hot oil unattended. It can take just a minute or two for the oil to overheat and catch fire. It is not worth the risk.
- Never put wet food in the fryer. Excess liquid causes the oil to splutter which can cause injuries. Particularly wet foods should be patted dry with a paper towel before frying.
- Turn off the heat. If the oil starts smoking it has become too hot and may catch fire. Turn off the heat, move the pan to another ring on your stovetop/hob and allow to cool completely.
- Turn pan handles away from the front of the cooker. This is a good kitchen practice for any type of cooking. It will help you to avoid knocking the pan from the stovetop/hob.
- Child-free and pet-free zone. I feel like this doesn’t need explaining, but hot oil is dangerous stuff. Keep the kids and the animals shut out of the kitchen when deep-frying.
- How to dispose of the oil safely. Never pour the oil down the sink, unless you want blocked pipes! Leave to cool completely before pouring into a jug/pitcher and funneling it into its original (empty) bottle or another sealable container for disposal in the trash.
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What to do when deep-frying goes wrong
Now, if you’ve read through all of that and are panicking. Please don’t. Just be sensible and follow the tips I have provided for you.
However, if something does happen:
- Keep calm.
- Turn off the heat and smother the flames with a lid, large baking sheet, damp (not wet) tea towel, or a fire blanket.
- Use a fire extinguisher if you have one.
- DO NOT spray water on an oil/grease fire. This will cause the flames to spread.
- Call the emergency fire services on the number in your country of residence when it is safe to do so.
Serve a Chinese New Year Banquet!
You’ve made the appetizer, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full banquet for Chinese New Year!
- Soup: Longevity Noodle Soup with Chicken Meatballs
- Beef Dish: Beef & Broccoli in Black Bean Sauce
- Chicken Dish: Kung Po Chicken
- Pork Dish: Sweet & Sour Pork
- Lamb Dish: Beijing Braised Lamb
- Vegetable Dish: Stir-Fried Snow Peas & Water Chestnuts
- Beverage: Jasmine Iced Tea
- Dessert: Toffee Banana & Toffee Apple
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
More Recipes Using Ground Pork
Since one of the main ingredients in this recipe is ground pork/pork mince, here are some more recipes using the same:
- Anglo-Indian Pork Burgers with Roasted Carrots & Raita
- Greek Cypriot Stuffed Vegetables
- Hearty Stuffed Pepper Soup
More Chinese New Year Appetizers
Need some more appetizers for Chinese New Year? Take a look at these next:
Know someone who would love this recipe? Why not forward it onto them by email or WhatsApp?
- 3 dried Chinese or shiitake mushrooms
- 2 oz pork (brown first)
- 6 small cooked shrimp (prawns), shells and tails removed
- ½ Tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- ½ Tbsp sake, rice wine, or dry sherry
- ½ Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cornstarch (cornflour)
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp minced ginger
- ½ carrot, shredded
- ¼ bell pepper, finely chopped
- ¼ cup shredded Chinese/napa cabbage
- 2 green (spring) onions, finely chopped
- ¼ cup chopped bean sprouts
- 12 spring roll wrappers
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour), mixed with ¼ cup water
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
- Soak the dried mushrooms in water for 30 minutes. Remove and squeeze out excess water. Remove stems and finely chop. Set aside.
- Brown the pork in a skillet. Set aside. When cool enough, chop into finer pieces.
- Chop shrimp finely.
- Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sake, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a bowl. Add the pork and shrimp. Let marinate for 15 or so minutes, while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Heat a wok over medium heat and add ½ tablespoon vegetable oil. Stir-fry the mushrooms for 1 minute.
- Then add the garlic, ginger, carrots, cabbage, and pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Finally, add the green onions and beansprouts and stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Remove vegetables from wok and transfer to the bowl with the meat and shrimp.
- To assemble each spring roll, lay the wrapper in front of you at an angle to form a diamond.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture near the bottom of the wrapper.
- Dip your finger into the cornstarch and water mixture and run it along all the edges of the wrapper.
- Fold the bottom up partway. Fold the sides in and roll up until closed.
- Dip your finger in the cornstarch and water mixture again and use your finger to seal the roll.
- Preheat vegetable oil in deep-fryer or large saucepan* to 180C/350F.
- Gently place the spring rolls into the hot oil. Cook in batches so that they rolls do not overlap.
- Fry for about 3-5 minutes or until crispy and golden. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and let cool on paper towels.
- Serve immediately with sweet chili or plum dipping sauce on the side.
*Please see tips on deep-frying in blog post.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 59 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 8mg Sodium: 61mg Carbohydrates: 5g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g