Growing up, my mom always had these in the freezer so we could snack on if we got hungry, or serve to guests who randomly stopped by. The first time I had spring rolls in the US, I was so disgusted, because they didn’t taste anything like the ones I had back home. Initially, I wrongly assumed that they were Chinese, but I found out while researching for this post that they are actually Vietnamese!!! And that may explain why I totally and completely abhor the rolls served at the Chinese joints here. One of my friends at work is Vietnamese, so I will like totally be getting an authentic recipe from her on monday. Until then, herewith my mommy’s version.
Unfortunately, I forgot to capture a picture of all my ingredients before I started cooking. Note to self: it is kinda hard to cook 4 dishes and take pictures all at once, so next time cook one dish at a time. So yeah, no pictures of the starting ingredients, but I will list them as I go, and I am truly sorry about that. I started off with half of a medium cabbage, some ground turkey, onions, carrots, white pepper, habaneros, and two stacks of rice noodles. The key to a good nem, to me anyways, is finely chopped veggies. Normally, I would use a mandolin cutter, but my cheap ass doesn’t own one, so I used my brand new knife instead. In my defense, I did try to get one, but the folks at the asian store I went to were not feeling me. No hard feelings, I will just take my business elsewhere next time. Like for the mixed veggie medley, I chopped up all the veggies really fine and set aside.
Prep your noodles by breaking into halves, seeing that they are extremely long. The noodles are cooked by placing in boiling water for about 5-8 minutes, given how fine they are, it is important to not cook them for too long because they get really mushy, really fast. Once they are cooked, pour into a strainer, and run some cold water over them so they cool off. Set aside.
Proceed to stir-fry your meat and veggies. Again, you want to make sure that you fry and not boil, so do not overcrowd your pot. Start off by pouring some olive oil into your hot pan, next add in the onions, followed by the ground turkey. At this point, you want to season with maggi, salt, white pepper, some garlic and a dash of ginger. Let the seasoning simmer for a few minutes, then add, the cabbage and carrots. The noodles are the last to join the party, and at this point you want to make sure that the filling is completely mixed together.
The wraps are made of rice flour, and I get them ready-for-use at my local asian market.
The roll pastry is really thin, and you kinda have to separate each one gently from the other. I separated a couple at a time, as I went along.
And made little heaps like these
At this point, making the rolls is pretty straightforward. You will need to whisk an egg and set aside, to use as a sealant for the wraps. You will also need to get some really good music, well that’s if you despise silence as much as I do. Wizkid, Banky-W et al sure did me company as I worked
So I started off by placing some filling on the pastry and rolling over, and then when there was like 2inches left, I dipped my finger in the egg, sealed off the edges, and folded in. I didnt quite like the shape, so I had to try a different method. Took a couple tries, but I finally got it together.
I will admit, this one had a little too much filling. I recommend using about three-fourths the amount seen here.
Fold the edge facing you inwards, such that it covers all of the filling.
Next, you fold the other two edges inside, almost like you would making an old-school envelope. You should have just one edge still open. Roll over until you are about 2 inches away from the tip, then dip your finger in the egg. With the egg in your finger, rub over the tip, and fold-over making sure the wrap is completely sealed. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of an individual wrap, but I got these
And I wrapped again, and again, and again, and again, and again,
Fifty (50) rolls later, I was done!!! Sweet success. I highly recommend GREAT music, and a comfortable position because you will need it! The beauty of these spring rolls is the fact that once you’re done you can freeze these babies, and only fry them when you are ready to serve. Be sure to make sure they are all cooled off completely, because you dont want any moisture in your bags when freezing
When you are ready to serve though, it is as easy as A-B-C. Pour some vegetable oil into a pot, like you would for deep-frying anything. When the oil is hot, place as many rolls as can be placed without cramping the pot, and fry until they are golden brown
Once your rolls are a beautiful shade of golden brown, you want to remove them from the pot, and drain any excess oil by placing on a stack of paper towels. Serve hot, as they are a lot more delicious then. I am pretty sure these could be served with some sauce, but growing up we had them without any sauce so I have them as is. If you do have any sauces you’ve tried, please do leave a comment or send me an email, because I would love to try it too!
As always, I appreciate all your comments and feedback, and send me an email for with further questions. Thanks for stopping by