It’s Chinese New year this weekend, the year of the Rooster and what better way to celebrate the coming of a new Spring with these lovely Spring rolls. They also are meant to represent wealth by looking like “Gold bars”.
I started to create these recipes by using one wrapper per spring roll which they do work like that, however will either break or go a little soggy after a short period of time. So because I have done smaller sized ones, I simply doubled up on the wrappers and they work wonders!
If you are celebrating the Chinese new year or want to be involved these are incredibly so simple to make.
If you wanted to do a vegetarian version, simply leave out the prawns and pork (obviously) and then add in maybe some beansprouts and chestnut mushrooms.
I don’t normally deep fry a lot of food so this recipe is a true treat. It makes a great starter to a meal or just simply a great snack for other times of the year.
Here is a link where you can hear me on BBC Radio Leicester with Ben Jackson and simply going through how to make them for you! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04qz7r3
( Serves approximately 24 spring rolls )
- 250g Pork Mince chopped/bashed down again with a meat cleaver or strong knife.
- Half a bag of 225g Frozen king prawns ( defrosted ) and then chopped as fine as you can get them. – These are still great flavour to fresh but cheaper in price.
- 1/2 227g tin of water chestnuts chopped
- 1-2 carrots depending on size, into strips using a veg peeler.
- 2-3 leaves of Chinese cabbage/lettuce or you could use pak choi shredded.
- 2-3 spring onions finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 thumbnail size amounts of fresh ginger grated
- 1 tsp of Chinese five spice ( I used Spice Kitchen’s blend )
- a handful of fresh coriander chopped
- a good pinch of caster sugar
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce.
– 1 packet of spring roll wrappers/pastry, defrosted. ( I used 250g weight ones but any other size, you can cut them down.
– 1ltr bottle of vegetable oil or groundnut oil.
– 2 tbsp of cornflour mixed with a little water for your “Glue”
– A wok to deep fry in!
- Place a damp towel over your spring roll pastry to keep them moist.
- Put all ingredients for the filling into a mixing bowl and mix through.
- Heat your oil in the wok. Pop in a piece of bread to see when it is ready for deep frying.
- Onto a plate take two of your wrappers and place the square into a diamond shape, so as a corner is facing you.
- Take a tablespoon of your mixture and place it in the centre of your parcel, making a rectangular shape.
- Fold the corner into the middle which is nearest to you, then fold in the outer corners to the centre of the spring roll. A bit like an envelope.Tuck in and roll to the centre. Place some of your cornflour mixture around the top corner to form a ” glue” and roll into your spring roll.
- Pop into hot oil and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
- Take out with a slotted spoon and drain onto kitchen paper.
- Simply serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.
Meatballs don’t always have to come in tomato sauce, around pasta or in a Sub Roll. Being a little more creative with your dishes by a slight change can create a dish so different and fantastic, you’ll never want to turn back.
You may not always associate a meatball with Chinese food, but it’s allowing your food to go a little further, using a cheaper meat alternative and to get your taste buds tingling to new flavours.
This weekend, why not get the Children involved in making the meatballs to create a meal together.
I have teamed this dish by using ribbons of seasonal Courgettes and carrots, again, so easy for the children to make as you just use a potato peeler.
This is my take on that takeaway classic thats normally swimming in a heavy sweet and sour sauce. It’s healthier, cheaper and if you make too many Meatballs at the raw stage, just freeze down for another meal.
Chinese spiced meatballs with seasonal veg and wild rice:
(Serves 4 approximately)
– 1-2 Tbsp Rapeseed oil
- 5oog Pork Mince
- Salt and cracked Black pepper to season
- 1 heaped Teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice I used Spice Kitchen’s own blend
- 1/2 a large Green chilli ( mild) diced finely or 1 small one
- 1 clove of Garlic finely chopped d or 2 if small
- 2x Thumbnail size amount of fresh ginger finely grated
- 3-4 spring onions chopped as finely as you can get them
- Small handful of chopped coriander
– 1-2 tbsp of Rapeseed oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 1-2 carrots ( depending on size )ribboned with a potato peeler
- 1 Courgette Ribboned with a potato peeler * Don’t peel the skin away, thats the best bit!
- 1 yellow pepper sliced lengthways
- 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- Thumbnail size amount of grated fresh ginger ( Wang Fung Hong )
- 1 -2 tbsp superior light soy sauce ( Mine was from the Chinese supermarket Wang Fung Hong in Leicester )
- 1 tbsp Oyster sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
- 1-2 tsp of Chilli Bean sauce ( Wang Fung Hong )
- 1-2 tsp of honey ( I used the non clear )
- A good spritz of lime juice
- a handful of chopped coriander to finish
Wild basmati rice to serve.
* Cook rice to packet instructions.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl for your meatballs together and form meatballs, place aside.
- In a frying pan fry off your meatballs turning after a few minutes. They should take about 10 minutes in total approximately or when cooked through.Pop aside when done.
- In a separate wok , start to stir fry your onions and peppers, then after a minute or two add your courgettes, tossing the vegetables around the Wok continuously.
- After about a minute, add the carrots, garlic and Ginger, be careful the ginger doesn’t burn.
- After a minute or two add your soy sauce, Chilli bean sauce, oyster, 1 tsp of honey and a small spritz of lime. Stir and taste to see what sauces you need to add more of.
- Add in your meatballs and coat them with the sauce. They need to be fully warmed through.
- When you are happy with the taste of your sauce, add in chopped coriander and serve on a bed of hot Wild rice.
NB: If you didn’t want to add in too much chilli bean sauce then reduce the amount, if you want more spice add in extra fresh chilli to your sauce.
I thought I’d share with you another recipe from my column that I did a couple of months back. This dish has been in my life for a long time and I always make these for many different occasions. I even make them for just a snack, they are that moorish!
So, I think the earliest memory of me having a version of this dish, must have been when I was only about 4 years old. But back then, they would wrap it all up in a large lettuce leaf. It is quite a retro dish for these days but I have come up with a version that I feel never dates or fails.
The sauce is something I have been having for years with these, noodle soups and Chinese dumplings so I thought I’d share that with you too. When you drizzle that sauce on top, it will give it a real kick.
I love serving these little cups when entertaining, they always look great served up on trays for people and they always seem to get an “ooh” when they come round. You can also use this recipe for a starter one night, a light Lunch or even on a Chinese banquet as my “Chinese nights” always seem to end up as!
They are very quick to prepare and they don’t break the bank to buy the ingredients either.
Lately I’ve being seeing a lot of Pork mince reduced so if you aren’t sure what to do with it, buy it and fear no longer.
Chinese pork lettuce cups:
– 1 tbsp of Rapeseed oil or you can use, sunflower or groundnut oil
- Pork mince 35og will make about 12 cups
- Half a green chilli chopped finely
- 4 Spring onions, half of pork mix, half for garnishing
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice blend ( I use Spice Kitchen )
- 1 tbsp of Light soy sauce ( Mine is from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester )
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- small grating of fresh Ginger (about a small thumbnail amount)
- 2 Little Gem lettuces
- For the garnish: Thinly sliced cucumber
Thinly sliced Spring onion
Thinly sliced carrot (julienned)
Handful of fresh chopped coriander
Red chilli chopped finely
- 2 tbsp of Sriracha sauce ( Mine is from Wang Fung Hong)
- 1 tbsp of malt vinegar
- 1 tbsp Tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- sprinkle of chilli flakes ( put more if you want it hotter )
- sprinkle of caster sugar
N.B If you find the sauce is too tangy, sometimes I add 1/2 tbsp Oyster sauce to this also.
- In a wok or a frying pan start to fry off the spring onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for only a minute.
- Add your pork mince and stir for a couple of minutes breaking up all clumps of the meat.
- As your pork mince is starting to turn brown, add in your Chinese five spice and again, stir for a couple of minutes
- Add in your soy sauce, stir and when your Pork is cooked, turn your heat down just to keep warm.
* Assemble your Pork mince into the lettuce cups, garnish and serve with your sauce.