Spring rolls are narrower and lighter than
egg rolls, and the wrapper is made without
egg. Photo courtesy SpringKitchen.com.
||Celebrate spring with spring rolls, traditionally served at the beginning of the Chinese spring season. Spring rolls are lighter and typically narrower than egg rolls.
Chinese spring rolls and egg rolls are filled wrappers made from unraised dough, which is wrapped around mixtures of meat, seafood and vegetables and then deep fried.
Spring rolls are narrower with thinner dough, since the dough is made without the egg that gives egg rolls their name.
How did spring rolls get their name?
Originally, they were special snacks served to visitors with tea at the Chinese New Year, which is the beginning of lunar spring.
Both rolls date back to ancient China, and both are traditionally served with hot Chinese mustard or a dipping sauce.
Vietnamese spring rolls, or cha gio, have a different wrapper and are not fried (although some Vietnames restaurants are now serving Chinese-style spring rolls as well, since Americans have a penchant for fried food).
|Rolled in soft rice flour wrappers—rice paper that becomes soft after dipping in water—Vietnamese spring rolls generally contain seafood such as cooked shrimp, accompanied by any combination of Chinese rice sticks, carrot, cucumber, daikon, shiitake mushrooms and fresh, leafy herbs: basil, cilantro and mint. Iceberg lettuce or green cabbage can be added for crunch. We also like adding toasted chopped peanuts (salty or honey-roasted) to half the batch, to vary the flavor of our rolls.
This is an easy and delicious recipe to make at home. Start by picking up some rice paper wrappers at an Asian market.
Vietnamese spring rolls are like eating a fresh salad roll, more complex in flavor (thanks to the fresh herbs) than fried Chinese rolls. They are served with a spicy dipping sauce known as nuoc cham.
Spring Roll Dipping Sauce Recipe
– 1/2 cup rice vinegar*
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/3 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
– 1 garlic clove minced
– 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice*
– 1 teaspoon dried crushed chilies
*Depending on your personal palate, you can reverse the quantities of rive vinegar and lime juice. One good-size lime will yield 1/2 cup of juice.
1. Heat the vinegar, water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Add fish sauce, garlic, lime juice and chilies.
3. Cool and serve or refrigerate.
Read more about fish sauce.