Lifestyle

Step-by-step guide to making and wrapping vegetable Thai spring rolls

Step-by-step guide to making and wrapping vegetable Thai spring rolls

Everyone’s favourite Asian finger food – the spring roll – holds pride of place on appetizer platters and are often the entrée we instinctively plump for at every Asian restaurant. And who can blame us? The delight of biting into crunchy, golden pastry dough parcels that break open to release vegetables and/or meat stir-fried in soy sauce and other sweet-and-sour condiments is an eating ritual that is be savoured and repeated as often as possible.

Originally from China, where it is eaten during the Spring Festival (hence the name), the use of fresh vegetables and their compact cylindrical shape secured spring rolls their widespread popularity throughout the Southeast Asian region. Resulting in every country, from Indonesia to Philippines, to Vietnam and Thailand, having their own iteration. Some use wheat flour wrappers and others use rice, the fillings vary, as do the sauces they’re paired with but every version involves deftly wrapping the filling in a sheet of pastry. It’s the step that trips up novice cooks and pushes them to reach for the takeout menu.

Chef Wichit Panyo, Chef de Cuisine at Benjarong, Dusit Thani Dubai’s signature Thai restaurant, has a simple 7-step method that makes folding the pastry sheet a breeze.

His Vegetable Thai Spring Roll recipe also includes a crunchy filling made with crisp, stir-fried vegetables and glass noodles for an extra bite.

Another element that sets apart these Thai spring rolls from their Chinese counterparts is that they aren’t cooked in sesame oil.

Ingredients

100gm glass noodles soaked and cut into 2 cm

30gm carrot, grated

50gm sliced black fungus (cloud ear fungus)

100gm sliced white cabbage

¼ cup spring onion

1 tbsp garlic chopped

2 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp vegetable oil for the filling

4 cups oil, for deep frying

5-6 spring roll pastry or rice paper wrapper

Water for sealing the rolls

Method

Making the vegetable and glass noodle filling 

1. Chop the ingredients as finely as possible. This helps ensure the vegetables cook evenly and quickly when stir-frying.

2. Thinly slice the carrots. Then julienne them into thin, even strips 

Step 1
Slice the carrots lengthwise Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 3
Cut them into thin, even strips Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 2
Julienne the carrots Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

3. Slice the cabbage into thin julienned strips.

Step 4
Slice cabbages Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

4. Cut up the spring onion scallions diagonally, this increases surface area and releases more flavour while cooking.

Step 5
Chop scallions diagonally Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 6
This enhances surface area and releases more juices Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

5. Sauté the chopped garlic in oil and as it starts browning, add the sliced cabbage.

Step 7
Saute garlic and add cabbage Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 8
Add cabbage in batches and not all at once so it cooks well Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

6. Then add the julienned carrots and once it has softened slightly, add the sliced black fungus.

Step 9
Add julienned carrots and sliced black fungus Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

7. Stir well, keeping the pan on high heat.

Step 10
Stir all the ingredients well on high heat Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

8. Once the vegetables start turning translucent and softening ever so slightly, add the glass noodles to the pan and stir well.

Step 11
Add the glass noodles Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

9. Then add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar and toss well.

Step 12
Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

10. Then sprinkle it with the chopped scallions. Only do this right at the end as spring onions cook quickly on high heat and you can run the risk of overcooking them. Once the onions have been stirred in, remove the filling from the heat and keep aside to cool.

Step 14
Add the chopped scallions right at the end Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

Wrapping the spring roll

1. Spread out your spring roll wrapper on a flat surface

Step 1
Step 1 Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

2. Spoon 2 tbsp of filling on one end of the wrapper in a log shape but leaving enough space between the filling and the edges of the wrapper so the filling won’t spill out.

Step 2
Step 2 Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

3. Start rolling the wrapper from the end with filling. Tuck it around the filling tightly and keep rolling away from you until you reach midway through.

Step 3
Step 3 Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 3a
Step 3a Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 3b
Step 3b Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

4. Then, stop and fold the sides over so that they touch each other.

Step 4
Step 4 Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 4a
Step 4a Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 4b
Step 4b Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

5. Continue rolling to the end of the wrapper.

Step 5a
Step 5a Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 5
Step 5 Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

6. The folded sides will now have created a second layer of the wrap, effectively double-wrapping and preventing the wrapper from getting soggy and breaking open while frying.

Step 6
Step 6 Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

7. Once you’re reaching the end of the wrapper, brush the edge with rice flour paste and then seal it. The rice flour paste glues the ends to the roll and prevents the roll from unravelling while frying.

Step 7
Step 7 Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal
Step 9
Wrapped and sealed spring roll

Frying the spring rolls

Heat oil in a wok or deep-bottomed saucepan and deep-fry the spring rolls until they turn golden brown.

Frying the spring rolls
Deep fry the spring rolls in hot oil Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

Remove them from the pan and place on a paper towel or napkin to drain off excess oil

Fried spring rolls
Place the spring rolls on a napkin or paper towel to soak up and drain excess oil Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal

Serve with Thai plum sauce.

Thai Vegetable Spring Rolls
Thai Vegetable Spring Rolls, after frying Image Credit: GN/ Anas Thacharpadikkal