Popiah (Fresh Spring Rolls)
I love all kinds of Spring Rolls. Fresh Thai spring rolls with shrimp or tofu dipped in sweet chili or peanut sauce, fried Chinese spring rolls with cabbage and carrots dipped in sweet and sour sauce, Philipino lumpia with their crispy edges and delicious porkiness. We often make spring rolls at home with rice paper wrappers and fresh ingredients like rice noodles, lettuce, mint, basil, shredded carrots, and mung bean sprouts. So easy and so tasty.
This style of spring roll was new to me and can definitely be added to my list of "yes, please!"
The wrappers are more papery and less sticky than what I think of as the traditional fresh spring roll wrappers (such as these -- also from The Spruce). And the filling, though cooled and served room temperature or cold, is a mix of cooked veggies and pork or shrimp rather than raw. The best addition are all the crispy crunchies! To give these rolls awesome texture the recipe calls for crushed peanuts and fried crispy onions, both of which you can make or buy at an Asian grocer.
I have a couple tips from my shopping/ making experience:
1. If you can find Lumpia wrappers they are perfect for this (and can be used to make crispy-fried lumpia later on if you don't use them all for this recipe.)
2. You can make the cooked veggie mix the day before or the morning of, so that you don't have to wait for it to cool before eating... because waiting is just plain hard.
3. I discovered ABC chili sauce (for another recipe) and it is delicious in these, not too spicy and complements the hoisin sauce really well.
4. If you have picky eaters in your family you can always make the rolls with just the lettuce and the veggie mix and let people top or dip in sauces and crunchy bits!
From The Spruce
12 large spring roll wrappers (thawed, if frozen)
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup chili sauce
12 lettuce leaves
12 tablespoons crushed peanuts
12 tablespoons fried onions
2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 cup julienned jicama
1 cup julienned carrot
2 cups julienned cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced green beans
1 cup (or more) of chopped cooked pork or chopped raw shelled shrimp (or a combination)
fish sauce, to taste
1/4 cup chicken or shrimp broth
To make filling
1. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Saute the garlic and shallots until fragrant.
2. Add the vegetables and meat. Stir fry until the vegetables soften.
3. Add the remaining ingredients (fish sauce and broth) and cook over high heat until steaming. Cover, lower the heat and cook over medium-low heat for about twenty minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
4. Transfer the popiah filling to a strainer set over a bowl. Allow to cool and drain completely. (Do not take short cuts with this step. Still warm and too wet filling will make the popiah soggy.)
5. (Optional) If using mung bean sprouts, rinse first then blanch in boiling water for ten seconds. Scoop out then plunge in ice water. Drain completely.
To make Popiah:
Lay a wrapper flat.
Smear half a teaspoonful of hoisin sauce down the middle.
Add a drizzle of chili sauce.
Lay a lettuce leaf on top of the sauce.
Spoon the drained filling on top of the lettuce leaf.
Add all your garnishes of choice.
Wrap the popiah.
Keep on wrapping!
In case you've stuck around, here is my first adventure into jackfruit (non-dried, non-jellied) at home!
I had to Google "how to open jackfruit" just to figure out what to do with the thing. They are massive fruit, this pictured here is about a quarter to an eighth of one. They ooze this sticky white goop that you barely notice until your hands and knife no longer move freely and you are stuck to the counter (one of the tips that I ignored was to oil your working surface, knife, hands, and anything that comes in contact with the fruit.) Once you get into the thing you basically cull through the flower parts and dig out the seed pods which you can see on the right. As you eat them you pull the seeds out from the centers (which apparently you can boil and they taste like potatoes??) However much hassle and stickiness it brings with it, it is worth it because jackfruit is DELICIOUS. A little pungent and definitely different, but delicious.