Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pork & Shrimp Spring Rolls (Chun Juan)

If you like fried food (and, well, who doesn't?) then spring rolls are for you. Don't shy away from this dish if your experience with spring rolls has been those tiny, greasy, and almost filling-less abominations you often get as freebies with your meal at a Chinese fast food joint. The real deal is deliciously savory, not greasy (if cooked correctly) and highly addictive. Deep-fried shrimp & pork spring rolls are one of the most typical Chinese iterations, although, depending on where they originate (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, SE Asia, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, to name a few places) they can be fried or non-fried and can vary considerably in terms of the filling ingredients and what the wrapper is made of. The following recipe is of my fav fried version.


Just a note, since I'm not as practiced in the art of spring roll making, I have a tendency to make really hefty ones which, in their burritoesque glory, aren't as pretty on the plate as they could be, but then taste always trumps the haughty presentations of haute cuisine, no?


Filling:
2 cups chopped nappa cabbage
3 cups fresh bean sprouts
4 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 med. carrot, cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
5 oz. (about 1 1/2 cups) fresh shiitake mushrooms (ok to use other fresh mushrooms, or even dried, reconstituted shiitakes)


8 0z. (1/2 lb.) pork shoulder, cut into thin shreds
8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined & coarsely chopped
4 tsp. soy sauce
4 tsp. rice wine
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
pinch of white pepper


Cornstarch slurry: 1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp. water
Additional seasonings (as needed): 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt


12-16 spring roll wrappers (depending on how big you make each one)
Paste for sealing wrappers: 3 tbsp. water + 1 tsp. flour


6 cups vegetable oil


Hoisin-Mustard Dipping Sauce:
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
3-4 tbsp. water
1 tsp. Chinese mustard (for a less pungent sauce, you can serve the Chinese mustard separately)


1. Place shredded pork and chopped shrimp into separate bowls. Marinate each with 2 tsp. soy sauce, 2 tsp. rice wine, 1 tsp. sesame oil, 1/2 tsp. sugar, and a pinch of white pepper. Cover and refrigerate about 20-30 minutes.


2. Heat 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil over high heat and saute the pork for about 1 minute until almost done. Add shrimp and saute another minute. Remove to a bowl and set aside.


3. In the meantime, using the same pan, add another 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil over high heat and saute all the vegetables (nappa cabbage, bean sprouts, scallions, garlic, carrot and mushrooms) for 2-3 minutes or until they just start to soften but still have a bit of crunch. Add the pork and shrimp back to the pan, stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook for about a minute until the juices have thickened. Taste for seasonings and add up to 1 tbsp. of soy sauce and 1/4 tsp. of salt, as needed. Pour filling into a bowl and let cool.


4. To make the spring rolls: place a wrapper on a chopping board or work surface, as indicated in the below photos. Place 1-2 heaping tbsp. of filling lengthwise about an inch up from the bottom and fold the bottom corner of the filling over. Using your finger, wet the two sides of the wrapper with the water-flour paste, fold over and seal the edges with the bottom part of the wrapper. Wet the top part of the wrapper with more of the flour paste and then roll the wrapper upwards to make the final seal. Place on a foil or parchment lined baking tray. Continue making the spring rolls in the same way until all the filling is used up. Should make anywhere from 12-16 spring rolls, depending on how much filling you use in each one.


5. Pour about 6 cups of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or medium pot (oil should be 2" in depth) and heat over medium high until the temperature is about 350F. Keep in mind, if it's not hot enough or if the wrappers aren't well-sealed, you'll end up with soggy, oil-laden spring rolls. 


6. Depending on the size of your pan, you can cook about 3-4 spring rolls at a time (do not overcrowd). Turn the frequently and as soon as they are golden brown on all sides (2-5 minutes), remove to a paper-towel-lined tray or plate. Continue cooking remaining spring rolls until all done. 


7. Serve with the Hoisin-mustard dipping sauce, a sweet-chili sauce, or whatever other sauce floats your boat. 


The veggies: chopped nappa cabbage, bean sprouts, minced garlic, chopped scallion, carrots cut into matchsticks, and sliced fresh shiitakes.

Hoisin sauce & Chinese mustard, for the dipping sauce.

Cut the pork into shreds and coarsely chop the shrimp.

Place the pork and shrimp in separate bowls and marinate in soy, rice wine, sesame oil, sugar & white pepper. Cover and refrigerate 20-30 minutes before cooking.

Saute pork in 1 tbsp. of oil over high heat. 

Add the shrimp to the pork and cook for another minute.

Remove the shrimp-pork mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, add another 1 tbsp. of oil over high heat and add all the vegetables. Cook for a couple minutes or until just crisp-tender.

Add the shrimp-pork mixture back to the pan.

Add the cornstarch slurry.

Cook about 1 minute or until the juices have thickened. Pour the filling mixture into a bowl and let cool.

Spring roll wrappers.

Place 1-2 heaping tbsp. of filling along the lower third of the wrapper. 

Fold the lower part of the wrapper up over the filling.

Wet the left and right corners of the wrapper with the flour paste.

Fold the left and right corners of the wrapper over and seal well with the bottom piece (looks like an envelope). Lastly, wet the top part of the wrapper, then roll the whole thing over from the bottom up until totally sealed.

Voila! My corpulent, burrito-like spring rolls.

Deep fry 3-4 spring rolls at a time at 350F until golden brown, 2-5 minutes. Do not over-brown or they will have a slightly burnt after taste.


Served with the hoisin-mustard sauce. Can't stop eating these...

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