Saturday, October 6, 2012

Taiwanese Spring Rolls (Lumpia Gao)

My mom used to make these 'fresh' Taiwanese spring rolls (albeit only once in a blue moon) when we were kids and they really are da bomb. They're not the typical fried spring rolls that most folks are familiar with, but rather an almost burrito-like rendition that uses fresh and delicately thin dough wrappers filled with a mixture of pork, pickled radish, assorted veggies (bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, etc.), sliced hard tofu bean cakes, cilantro, peanut powder, and a hoisin-chili garlic sauce. Of late, I've read and heard that they were usually only made during tomb sweeping day, but I certainly wasn't aware of this fact on those rare childhood occasions when I got to chow down on one of these delectable packets. Anyhoo, this recipe is my version of mom's recipe, with some tweaks that may not be exactly traditional, but which I think add great flavor to the end product.

1 1/3 lbs. boneless pork loin, cut into thin shreds
2 medium carrots, shredded or julienned
3 cups (12 oz.) fresh bean sprouts
8 fresh or dried shiitakes (reconstituted in warm water), destemmed & sliced
1/2 cup chopped dried/preserved radish, briefly rinsed
3 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp. dried bonito flakes (optional)
4 squares (7 oz.) of hard tofu bean cakes, cut into slices
1 1/2 cups bamboo shoots, shredded
3 eggs, beaten & scrambled in a thin layer, then sliced into shreds
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tbsp. rice wine
1 tbsp. bonito flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Peanut powder (1 cup of roasted peanuts + 1 tbsp. sugar)
6 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
1 tsp. Sriracha or chili garlic sauce
Fresh spring roll wrappers (Long Long brand is my fav)

1. Heat 2 tbsp. of oil to a wok or saute pan over high heat. Add pork and scallions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. 

2. Remove the fresh spring roll wrappers from their packaging and cover with a damp towel. You can also steam the wrappers, one at a time in a large steamer for about 10 seconds on both sides before serving.

3. Add hard tofu bean cake slices, julienned carrots, shredded bamboo, and preserved radish to the pork. Cook until the pork is no longer pink.

4. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt, white pepper, rice wine, and bonito flakes to the pork mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the bean sprouts. Stir well and turn off heat. 

5. In the meantime, heat a skillet with 1 tsp. of oil. Pour the beaten eggs into the pan and cook the eggs in a thin layer, flipping once until cooked through. Remove to a chopping board and cut the egg into thin strips. Set aside.

6. For the peanut powder: Place 1 cup of roasted peanuts and 1 tbsp. of sugar into a small food processor or blender. Pulse or blend for a few seconds until peanuts have been ground to a fine consistency. 

7. For the dipping sauce: mix together the hoisin and Sriracha or chili-garlic sauce. Set aside.

6. For each spring roll: stack 2 spring roll wrappers on top of each other on a chopping board or other flat surface. Place about 3 tbsp. of the pork filling along the center, then top with some chopped cilantro and a sprinkling of the peanut-sugar powder. Roll the whole thing up like you would a burrito, cut in half (for easier eating), and serve with hoisin-chili dipping sauce on the side.

Hard tofu bean cake.

Bamboo shoots. I like using the vacuum-packed stuff versus the canned stuff. Tastes much fresher. Available in the refrigerated section of most Chinese markets.

Dried/preserved radish.

Rinse the preserved radish briefly in cool water to remove some of the salt.

Boneless pork loin chops.

Shred the pork.

Scallions, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, hard tofu cakes, preserved radish. Some recipes also call for cabbage, but I've omitted this ingredient in my version. 

Scramble the eggs in a thin layer.

Cut the scrambled eggs into thin shreds.

Saute the pork with the scallions.

Add the carrots, bamboo, hard tofu, shiitakes, preserved radish & bonito flakes. Stir in seasonings. Add bean sprouts & turn off heat.

Long Long brand of fresh spring roll wrappers.

Hoisin-chili sauce (Hoisin & Sriracha), peanut-sugar powder.

You can steam the wrappers briefly before assembling, or just keep them covered with a damp towel (otherwise, they will dry up and break when you try to wrap them).

Place two wrappers on top of each other on a plate (a single wrapper may be too thin & prone to breaking when you roll it up), spoon the pork mixture in the middle, top with sliced egg shreds, cilantro & peanut powder, then fold the whole thing up like a burrito. 

Cut the spring roll in half and serve with the hoisin-chili sauce on the side.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh, so it's like a wrap. Can't wait to wrap my gums around one of those! 。¸。