Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls

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The final starter for my Year of the Dragon Chinese Banquet was Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls. It’s Ching-He Huang’s recipe that I found on the Good Food Channel website.

You may think spring rolls are tricky to make, and believe me, I thought the same having never made them before…but they really were easy and tasted wonderful! I think they got the best compliments out of all the food I prepared :)

First things first – the chicken was cut into small cubes about 0.5cm in size. Then I heated up my wok, poured in some oil and when it was smoking I added the chicken. The meat is stir fried for a few minutes until cooked and then seasoned with Chinese five-spice powder, light soy sauce and oyster sauce (optional). I then put the chicken onto a plate to cool down.

The vegetables used in the spring rolls were beansprouts, Chinese mushrooms and carrots.

The beansprouts were ready to go and needed no preparation. The carrots needed to be finely sliced into strips. The Chinese mushrooms were soaked for 20 minutes (as the recipe directs; or as the packet directs – mine said 1 hour) in warm water, then drained and finely sliced.


[Beansprouts]


[Carrots]


[Dried Chinese Mushrooms]


[Rehydrated Chinese Mushrooms]

I also had to finely chop some garlic, grate some ginger and finely slice some spring onions.


[garlic]


[ginger]


[spring onions]

So into a large bowl went the beansprouts, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, ginger and spring onions.

Then the cooled chicken got added and everything was mixed together.

Now for the spring roll wrappers, which you can buy in Chinese grocers. They came frozen and I was told that you could defrost and re-freeze them as long as you didn’t defrost them by heating them up (e.g., in a microwave). So I took them out in the morning for a few hours to defrost, peeled away the 16 that I needed (2 per roll) and put the rest back in the freezer for another time.

This recipe officially says that it makes 6 large spring rolls, but I managed to get 8 from the mixture.

Taking two sheets of spring roll pastry I lay them down with one of the points facing towards me, as you can see in the first photo below (I covered the rest with a damp towel to stop them from drying out). Then I put a spoonful of the mixture about a third of the way up, trying to get all the vegetable strips lined in the same direction. I then mixed up a ‘glue’ with cornflour and water and used a pastry brushed along the mixture along the edges. This will hold the wrappers together and stop them from bursting open when deep frying.

I then brought the bottom corner up and over the filling and then brought the two side corners into the middle. I was brushing the cornflour/water mixture as I went along to make sure it all stuck together well!

I then rolled over to seal up the spring roll with a little more ‘glue’ to get the last tiny bit to stick.

With the first one done and looking good, I made all the others and put them in the fridge until I needed to fry them.

When it came to cooking the spring rolls, I took them out of the fridge for half an hour to bring to room temperature. I put 750ml of oil into a deep saucepan and started to heat it up on a medium heat. I have a sugar thermometer that helped me to keep an eye on the temperature which needs to be at 180C for deep frying. If you don’t have one, the way to tell if oil is hot enough to deep fry is to pop a cube of bread in and if it browns off and floats within 15 seconds, the oil is hot enough. If you have a deep fat fryer then it will have a temperature gauge on it.

I fried the spring rolls in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, and bring the temperature of the oil down too much. It takes 3 – 5 minutes for them to turn golden and heat through. I took the spring rolls out with a slotted spoon and drained on some paper towels before serving with sweet chilli dipping sauce – shop bought!


Serve, eat and enjoy!

Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls

Makes 6 – 8 large spring rolls
Ingredients

  • 2 small chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 Chinese dried mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 cm piece of ginger
  • 75g beansprouts
  • 2 large spring onions
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 12 – 16 spring roll wrappers (2 per spring roll)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 750ml groundnut (peanut) oil or vegetable oil for deep frying

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into 0.5cm pieces.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a hot wok until smoking and then add the chicken stir frying all the time for 2 – 3 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Add the Chinese five-spice powder, light soy sauce and oyster sauce if you are using it and stir through.
  4. Leave the chicken to cool down by transferring to a plate.
  5. Soak the Chinese mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes, drain and thinly slice.
  6. Chop the carrot into thin strips a couple inches long.
  7. Finely chop the garlic.
  8. Grate the ginger.
  9. Finely chop the spring onions.
  10. In a large bowl, put the mushrooms, carrots, beansprouts, garlic, ginger and spring onions.
  11. Add the cooled cooked chicken and mix well.
  12. Mix the cornflour and water together to use around the wrapper edges to hold them together and to stop them from bursting whilst deep frying.
  13. Place two spring roll wrappers on top of each other, add a spoonful of the vegetable and chicken mixture to one corner. Fold over the filling, then bring the sides over and continue rolling and sticking together with the cornflour/water mix to form a cigar shape.
  14. Heat the oil in a deep pan until 180C and place the spring rolls in, in batches into the oil. Deep fry for 3 – 5 minutes until golden and heated through.
  15. Drain on some paper towels.
  16. Serve with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

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