Finished crispy shrimp spring rolls. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Finished crispy shrimp spring rolls. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Cooking for Pleasure: Crispy shrimp spring rolls w/ spicy sweet chili sauce

It took me many years to feel brave enough to make my own crispy spring rolls. I always thought it was a lot more difficult than it really is. I also found myself dissatisfied with the ones I ordered in restaurants. Too boring. So I created this recipe and discovered how easy it is and how much happier I was with the result. I hope it also encourages you to try making them yourself. Although I use a shrimp stir fry in this recipe you could use another one made with chicken or minced pork. I was also tired of the dipping sauces provided in restaurants so I made up this one. Although these rolls are great without this sauce, I urge you to try it. It’s awesome!

Spring roll ingredients ready for assembly. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Spring roll ingredients ready for assembly. (Photo by Patty Schied)

First make the spicy chili dipping sauce. This can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator:

Mix:

½ cup sweet Thai chili sauce such as Aroy-D

5 tsp soy sauce

2 Tablespoons of dry sherry

1 ½ tablespoons of sesame oil

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger

Mix well and set aside or store in the refrigerator overnight.

Filling a spring roll in preparation for frying. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Filling a spring roll in preparation for frying. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Filling a spring roll in preparation for frying. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Filling a spring roll in preparation for frying. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Shrimp spring rolls:

½ pound shrimp (spot prawns are wonderful), peeled, deveined and cut in half

3 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes then sliced thin, stems discarded

1 bunch (about 5) green onions sliced thin

2 thin slices of fresh ginger, minced

½ pound (one package) of fresh bean sprouts, rinsed in hot water and drained

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

½ teaspoon of salt

2 Tablespoons of oil

One package of Lumpia wrappers, thawed. (Don’t use the ones that are individually separated by plastic. They are too fragile.)

A prepared spring roll ready for frying. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Preparation

Step One: Soak three dried shitake mushrooms in hot water for 15 minutes. Slice thin and discard the stems.

Step Two: Heat oil in large fry pan or wok until very hot. Add onions, ginger and mushrooms to the pan and stir fry about one minute until softened. Add bean sprouts and continue to cook another minute or two. Add cut up shrimp and cook until they are pink. Do not overcook or they will become tough. Add soy sauce and salt to mix. Taste for seasoning.

Pour contents of pan into a large sieve over a bowl and let drain and cool to room temperature. The filling must not be warm or wet because the spring rolls could burst in the pan when fried.

Step Three: Peel off a lumpia wrapper one at a time, fill with approximately ¼ cup of the stir fry mix and roll according to package directions. Use up all the filling to make the spring rolls.

Step Four: Heat two cups of oil in a wok or a deep frying pan to about 350 to 375 degrees. There should be about 2 inches of oil in the pan. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the heat by putting a piece of bread into the oil. If it sizzles but doesn’t burn, it is about right.

Step Five: Cook about two rolls at a time in your pan, turning them to get golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towels and let cool for a couple of minutes. WARNING: Do not eat immediately because the inside of the rolls are very hot and could badly burn your mouth.

In addition to the chili dip, I also serve the rolls with plum sauce. This recipe makes about a dozen spring rolls. If you want to double it for a crowd, I suggest you ask your guests to fill the rolls while you fry them.

• Patty Schied is a longtime Juneau resident who studied at the Cordon Bleu in London, has cooked meals for both AWARE and the Glory Hall, and has written a cookbook. Cooking For Pleasure appears every other week in Capital City Weekly.

Crispy shrimp spring rolls frying. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Crispy shrimp spring rolls frying. (Photo by Patty Schied)

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