Spring Rolls

We feel that we need to start this posting with a disclaimer:

We aren’t experienced at frying things…everything we fry seems to have issues! Since we only deep fry around 2 times a year I guess this makes sense. We had issues with the rolls sticking to the bottom of the frying pot and even had one spring roll explode…we’re not really sure why. How can anything stick when it’s submerged in oil?!?

All of our frying foibles (points for alliteration!) aside, these had great flavor whether fried or not. The dipping sauce was zesty and a good sweet/sour balance and the interior mixture was a nice balance of veggies, noodles and shrimp.  These are a great appetizer or even a meal if you make enough.  We put two to three tablespoons of filling into the rolls which made larger size rolls but you can make bite size ones by using less filling.

Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Vineyards Selected Emerald Riesling & Chenin Blanc, Carmel Winery
Rating 5.5 out of 10.0

At first glance this seemed like the perfect wine to accompany the rolls…we thought the Riesling/Chenin Blanc blend would provide a little sweetness to contrast with the savory rolls and that it would have enough acidity to cut through the fried flavors. Fail on both counts! It had no citrus character and no bite…it just had the flavor of slightly fermented grape juice. Not a wine to repeat…c’est la vie!

Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Chang Beer, Cosmos Brewery Co.
Rating: 5.0 out of 10.0

This was not an auspicious evening for our pairings.  I have reviewed several other Asian/Thai beers in the past and was expecting a similar taste and quality to the previous ones.  That is to say, moderate quality, light hop flavor, and pronounced maltiness to quench spicy flavor and wash down the fried food.  Unfortunately, this beer was just not very good.  There was little to no flavor except for a slight malt flavor that could easily be mistaken for a skunked beer.  To be fair, the beer tasted much better after just eating something spicy but that’s only because the spice masked the bad flavors!

Spring Rolls:

Ingredients:

2 heaping tablespoons portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 ounces cellophane noodles
1/2 pound steamed and coarsely chopped fresh shrimp
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons water
1 package rice paper in 8-inch rounds (1 pound)
Beer
Peanut oil for deep-frying
Large leaves of lettuce, for garnish

Directions:

Cover the noodles with hot water, and allow to stand 15 minutes.
Put the shrimp in a mixing bowl with the mushrooms, carrots, fish sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, and chopped chives. Drain the noodles and chop roughly; add them to the shrimp mixture. Add the water and mix all these ingredients well with your hands or a spoon, stirring in one direction.
Taking a sheet at a time, brush each side of the rice paper liberally with beer, and set aside. After a sheet softens, which takes a minute or two, lay it in front of you. Put a heaping tablespoon of filling across the bottom third of the rice paper, stopping an inch from either edge. Fold the bottom flap over the filling, and then fold the sheet with the filling over once more, making sure that the rice paper is taut around the filling. Fold the sides in over the filling and continue to roll. Press the edges to seal. As each spring roll is finished, set it aside on a lightly oiled platter. If you want to have some of the rolls unfried, set those aside at this time. Those spring rolls are done!
When all are rolled, heat a large quantity of oil in a wok for deep-frying.
When the oil is hot, about 375 degrees, add as many spring rolls as will comfortably cover the surface of the oil. (Too many will lower the temperature of the oil.) Fry for about 5 minutes, turning from time to time, and remove to drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the spring rolls are cooked.
When all the spring rolls are done, turn up the heat slightly under the oil, and fry the spring rolls again for another minute. Remove to drain, pat lightly with paper towels, and then place on a cutting board. When they have cooled slightly, cut each in half. Arrange on a serving platter, and set out with the other ingredients.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce:

Ingredients:

¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lime juice
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 Tbs. sugar
1 small chili pepper, sliced
¼ cup water

Directions:

Combine garlic, sugar, lime juice, water, vinegar, and fish sauce. Stir to blend. Add chili rounds (to taste). Keep at room temperature for ½ hour before serving.

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