My wife Eppie, really loves Asian food, specifically stir fried.
Whenever I have no recipe inspiration, and I ask her for guidance, as
often as not the suggestion will be something stir-fried. True to form
the other evening, she suggested spring rolls, which although they are
(usually) deep-fried, the filling is usually stir-fried.
We puddled about thinking up a filling, and settled on chicken and prawn with sprouts and fresh coriander leaves. Rather than marinade the chicken before stir-frying it, Eppie came up with the idea (which I think she read somewhere), of marinating it after stir-frying. Great idea, because the cooked, and of course, now warm chicken, absorbs the flavours really well.
In case you're wondering about the deep frying thing being unhealthy, you may want to bake the spring rolls in the oven. The downside is that it is very difficult to get the crispy outside that deep-frying gives and it also takes much longer, about 20 minutes or so.
If you deep-fry, you must be sure that the oil is piping hot before putting in the spring rolls. That way, the cooking time is literally a minute or two, just enough to crisp the pastry, and it prevents oil from settling inside the spring roll, which makes it soggy and most unpleasant.
But do be careful when deep frying with very hot oil, as it can inflict the most devastating burns.
Ingredients, Selection and Preparation
2 large chicken breasts: cut into long strips about 2cm thick
200g prawns: frozen prawn meat is fine, because you're going to cut them into pieces the same size as the chicken
4 spring onions: finely sliced
30g coriander leaves: Washed and roughly chopped, including stalks
40g sprouts: preferably mung bean sprouts, otherwise alfalfa sprouts will do
8-10 sheets of spring roll pastry: usually available in a much bigger pack, you can peel off what you need and freeze what remains
2tbsp canola oil: for stir frying the chicken
2 cups canola oil: for deep frying
1tsp sesame oil
1tsp soya sauce
Preparation Time: 60 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10
Combine the marinade ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Heat a small wok until it begins to smoke. Add a tbsp of canola oil, and stir-fry the chicken strips two or three at a time until just done through, adding more oil as needed. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool enough so you can cut them. Slice crosswise about 1cm thick, and place in the marinade. Mix well with the marinade and set aside covered to steep for 20 minutes.
Return the chicken to the wok and add the chopped prawns. Stir-fry for a minute or two until opaque and pink. Add the sprouts and the coriander and mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
If you're going to oven bake the spring rolls, pre-heat the oven to 200°C now.
Remove the spring roll pastry from its packaging and cover with a damp cloth.
Place a bowl of cold water nearby.
Peel off a single sheet carefully, and lay down on a work surface with a corner pointing towards you.
Place about two tbsp of the mixture in the centre of the pastry sheet arranged in a sausage shape.
Fold the corner facing you forward and over the filling. Fold the left and then the right corners over the mixture.
Roll the firmly but gently from the bottom forward, leaving the top corner exposed.
Moisten the pastry with some water, and roll up fully. Place on a grid on an oven tray if you're baking the spring rolls, or on a plate if deep-frying. Repeat the process with the balance of the filling.
If baking, place the tray in mid oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
If deep-frying, heat two cups of canola oil in a medium wok, or a small saucepan until it starts to "roll", the surface disturbance caused by the oil rising from the bottom of the saucepan or wok to the top.
Place no more than two spring rolls carefully in the oil, and fry until the pastry is golden brown, turning the spring rolls carefully after about a minute.
Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper towel to drain.
Serve with a crisp green salad and a dab of mild sweet chilli sauce. Enjoy!
I find that a fruit forward Chenin Blanc works really well with this recipe, something that has loads of tropical fruit like guava, lime zest, ripe pear, honeysuckle and orange blossoms on the nose which follows onto the plate with balancing acidity to give freshness, and a long, lingering finish. Sugar wise, if its heading for off-dry, that would be an added benefit.