Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vegetable spring rolls

"Never work with children or animals" is an old showbiz adage, but I think it applies to cooking, too. I've never had a dog helping me cook, but sometimes when my kids get in on the act my stress levels go through the roof. I still don't know why child labour needs to be outlawed - I would have thought that any sweatshop owner with an ounce of sense would keep kids out of the workplace anyway.

The other day Gemma showed up with a packet of Thai rice paper spring roll wrappers. After a bit of searching on the internet a lot of trial and error, and a few frayed tempers, we came up with these. The quantities here make enough to produce plenty of spring rolls, and also to have leftover noodles and vegetables to serve with the rolls.

1 red pepper
1 large courgette
2 large carrots
3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic
instant rice noodles, soaked in water

  1. Julienne the pepper and courgette, and grate the carrots.
  2. In a frying pan, heat a little vegetable oil, fry the ginger and garlic for a few seconds, add the vegetables and fry until they begin to soften a little. Add the oyster and soy sauce, stir to mix and remove from the heat.
  3. Remove the rice noodles from their soaking water, cut with scissors into 2-inch lengths, and mix in with the vegetables.
  4. If you are using riceflour wrappers, then soak them in a bowl of warm water for about 10 seconds to soften them up. IMPORTANT: soak them one by one, and don't allow them to go to soft. They should have the texture of thin paper. If they are too stiff, they will break, but if they are too soft they will go mushy and not hold together when frying.
  5. Place one wrapper on a board or plate, put some filling in the middle, and shape to form a log. Fold the wrapper over the filling, Tuck the edges of the wrapper in towards the middle, and roll tightly. If you are using wheatflour wrappers, you will need to brush the edges with a little beaten egg before rolling, in order to seal the roll. If you are using rice paper wrappers, then they will stick themselves, but you should use two wrappers for each roll. (Use one wrapper to enclose the filling, then wrap the roll in a second wrapper.)
  6. Deep fry in plenty of vegetable oil.

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