Delighted to help, Dimebog.Dimebog wrote:How about some tips/recipes for spring rolls?
Spring roll wraps (you can get these from Asian supermarkets, the thinner the better)
Ground meat (I usually use beef)
Eggs, one carton
Bean sprouts (aka mung beans)
If desired: Cabbage, lettuce etc. for bulking out the filling
1. Separate out the yolks from the egg whites. You'll use the yolks for folding and sealing the rolls, but you'll use the egg whites as part of the delicious filling.
2. Prepare the filling (馅, or xian). Separate out the ground beef and fry it until it's fairly dry. You need it to be very finely granular, in order to wrap it well. Fry up the bean sprouts, breaking them wherever necessary to make them finer. Fry up the egg whites and then cut or break it up into shreds. Same goes for any other materials you wish to include: spring onions, cabbage, lettuce, etc.
3. Combine the filling - put all the ingredients together and fry. If a soupy sauce evolves (as is highly likely if you have lots of vegetables), drain it and continue frying until it's dry. The sauce itself is worth setting aside for use with fried rice or noodles or other dishes, but it will destroy the wrapping skins if you leave it in the mixture.
4. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl until they form a dark paste. This will be used as the glue for sealing the spring roll wrappings.
5. Start wrapping! Put the filling in the middle of each wrapping skin in a horizontal mass. You'll have to adjust this to suit the size of the wrapping skins, but generally speaking if it's as wide as two fingers and a little bit longer, you're on the right track. Fold the skin over the filling, first from the top, the from the bottom, then from the left and the right sides. You're making a "packet".
6. The egg yolk is used to seal the wrapping, and it only functions properly when you bind one wrapping skin surface to another wrapping skin surface. Thus, the first fold you make will not use any egg yolk to bind (because you're folding the skin over the filling). Every fold after that will involve wrapping-on-wrapping contact, so use a dab of egg yolk to seal it each fold.
7. Set aside each spring roll as you finish wrapping it. Once you're all done, you have a pile of spring rolls ready to be cooked. There are a few ways of cooking spring rolls, depending on how much oil you want to use, how much clean up you want to avoid, and how healthy you want to be about it.
Deep fry: Fill a saucepan with two or three inches of vegetable oil and heat. Dip spring rolls into the oil with a metal sieve or one-by-one using wooden or metal chopsticks. This causes a fair bit of grease smoke and is the least healthy, but the spring rolls themselves are most flavorful. Warning: the amount of grease involved may also give you stomach aches if you indulge in too many spring rolls.
Shallow fry: Coat a frying pan with vegetable oil and heat. Place spring rolls into the pan and brown on both sides, then remove. This is less greasy.
Steamed spring rolls: Fill a large saucepan with 3-5 cm depth of water, put a metal steaming tripod (available at most Asian markets) in the middle, and put a shallow broad bowl on the tripod. Swap batches of the spring rolls into the bowl and cover, steaming for a few minutes each time. This is by far the healthiest and won't result in oil stomachaches, but it's much less tasty than frying.
I'm assuming you want spring rolls that have fairly crisp, dry fillings, rather than a mushy paste. I've had several spring rolls (usually from westernized recipes) that followed the "mushy paste filling" route, and they've all been universally awful. The wrapping is also much thicker, because the paste would cause a thinner wrapping to fall apart.
The recipe I've given above results in thin, crispy, delicate spring rolls, suitable for consuming with a glass of plum liquor or rice wine while setting off fireworks in the courtyard and dallying with eunuchs and concubines.
Edit: made the frying language more specific.