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Spring Rolls: Everything you Need to Know + An Easy Recipe

There are so many delicious spring rolls from so many different cultures! What is the origin? How do I differentiate between a few types of spring rolls? What do I eat with spring rolls? How do I make them at home? Where can I find the ingredients? Read on to find out!

Spring Rolls: Everything you Need to Know + An Easy Recipe


Origin of Spring Rolls

 

The origin of spring rolls can be traced back to China. First produced for Lunar New Year meals, spring rolls were rolled into a cylindrical shape and stacked to look like bars of gold. The name “spring rolls” came from the holiday celebration of the New Year marking the start of spring, according to the lunar calendar. In modern days, it is found in Chinese and various Southeast Asian cuisines. There are different types of wrappers, vegetable and meat fillings, cooking techniques, and even names for these spring rolls across the diverse cuisines. 

 

 

Spring Rolls vs Egg Rolls

 

Crucial Difference Between Egg Roll and Spring Roll You Must Know -  Fitibility

You may have heard of spring rolls referred to as egg rolls. However, spring rolls and egg rolls differ in preparation, ingredients, and appearance. The original Chinese creation of spring rolls consists of wrappers that require flour and water, and it can be filled with various combinations of vegetables and meat. Spring rolls can be served fried or non-fried.


Egg rolls are a variation of the original spring roll that was created in American Chinese cuisine. Most believed that Chinese immigrant chef Lum Fung invented the egg roll in the 1930s in New York City. Aside from just flour and water, the wrapper for egg rolls also includes egg. The exterior look of egg rolls tend to have a thicker, bumpier outer texture than spring rolls. 


In terms of cooking technique, spring rolls can be prepared in many different styles including fried, steamed, or baked. Spring roll wrappers, whether fried or non-fried, are always thinner than egg roll wrappers. Since they are made from a lighter dough, they’re semi-translucent, and they have a flaky, crispy texture when fried. 


On the other hand, egg rolls are always deep-fried. It's the egg that gives an egg roll its thick, crunchy texture. When you bite into an egg roll, you’ll notice the wrapping has a crunchy outer layer and a chewy inner layer.

 

 

Inside a Spring Roll

 

Spring Rolls Vs Egg Rolls - Discovering Their Differences 2022

Every region and/or culture may have their own variation of spring rolls. The spring rolls with traditional roots are filled with combinations of meat and vegetable ingredients. These could contain cabbage, carrots, shrimp, pork, chicken, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and more.

In the US, American Chinese egg rolls and Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are largely consumed. Typical restaurant egg rolls include shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and chopped roast pork as fillings. Vietnamese spring rolls, also known as “summer rolls”, are freshly rolled with rice paper. The ingredients used for the fillings are usually vermicelli noodles, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, bean sprouts, shrimp, pork, and herbs (such as Thai basil, mint, or cilantro). It may include cooked proteins such as shrimp and pork inside the rolls, but the wrapped rolls don’t undergo an additional cooking process. 

 

 

 

 

Making Spring Rolls

 

The Difference Between Egg Rolls And Spring Rolls - Foods Guy

Making your own spring rolls at home is not all that complicated; preparing the ingredients for the filling of the spring rolls may be the most difficult part. Here’s one Cantonese spring roll recipe we’re sharing with you:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

For the pork and marinade:

For the filling:

For the wraps:


Directions

  • Marinate the pork: combine the pork and marinade ingredients and set aside for at least half an hour.
  • Prepare the rest of the ingredients while waiting. Cut all of the vegetables to approximately the same size so they blend in well together in the batter.
  • Cook the pork: Brown the pork over high heat in 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the garlic, mushrooms and carrots. 
  • Stir fry for about 30 seconds, and add in the bamboo shoots, cabbage, and Shaoxing wine. Continue stir-frying for another minute. Adjust the heat to simmer the mixture, as the cabbage may release a lot of moisture. Stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, white pepper, and sugar. Simmer the filling longer (as necessary) to reduce the excess liquid.
  • Continue simmering the filling for another 3 minutes (until cabbage is completely wilted) and stir in the cornstarch slurry to thicken. How much slurry you add depends upon the wetness of the filling. You want there to be no standing liquid left.
  • Transfer the filling to a large bowl, and cool. Place into the refrigerator to cool further (at least an hour). It’s best to start with a cold filling so the wrapping process is easier. 
  • Assemble the spring rolls:
    • The spring roll wrappers dry out easily so you only want to take out a short stack of wrappers (about 5 or 6) out of the package at a time. Then, cover the wrappers with a thick dry cloth to prevent them from drying.
    • Prepare a small bowl for the cornstarch water used to seal the rolls.
    • Place a wrapper on a flat surface so that a corner is facing towards you. Use about two spoonfuls of the filling batter for each spring roll, and spoon it about 2 inches from the corner that is closest to you. 
    • Roll it over once, like a burrito, and fold over both sides. Continue rolling it into a cigar shape. With your fingers, brush a bit of the cornstarch water (that was dissolved in hot water) on the corner of the wrapper that is farthest from you to seal it.
    • Place each roll on a tray. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. 
  • You can freeze these rolls on a tray overnight, and transfer them to a zip-lock bag when they are completely frozen to use them at a future time.
  • Cook the spring rolls (fried method):
    • Fill a small pot with oil until it’s 2-3 inches deep. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat until it reaches 325 degrees. 
    • Gently add the spring rolls one at a time, frying in small batches. Carefully roll them in the oil so they cook evenly until golden brown. Transfer them onto a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.
  • Serve while warm with dipping sauce, and enjoy!

 

 

Dipping Sauces

 

3 Classic Spring Roll Dipping Sauces - Drive Me Hungry

Dipping sauces can add extra flavor to egg rolls and spring rolls. Popular condiments used as dipping sauces for these rolls include: savory sauces (such as soy, Worcestershire, and Vietnamese fish sauce), sweet sauces (like duck, hoisin, peanut, sweet and sour, and plum sauce), and spicy sauces (i.e. sriracha). Scroll to the end of this article for the spring roll sauces available at Umamicart.


The three top most common sauces for Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are hoisin sauce, Vietnamese nuoc cham (fish sauce), and peanut dipping sauce. The peanut dipping sauce provides the perfect richness and addition to the crunchy, fresh vegetable rolls with its creamy, sweet, and nutty flavor. Nuoc cham is sweet and tangy with a hint of citrusiness. Lastly, Hoisin is similar to soy sauce but an incredible upgrade with lots of umami from the soybeans. It’s sweet, savory, and adds depth to the flavor. You can’t go wrong with these three classic sauces!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Eat with Spring Rolls

 

Fried Rice with Spring Roll, Squid Ball & Prawn Crackers | Flickr

While spring rolls are easy to eat and deliciously enjoyed on their own, it’s common for it to be served as just an appetizer since it goes well with almost anything! Fried rice is a perfect fit to consume alongside the flavorful stuffing and the crunchy outer layer of the spring rolls. Hot and sour or egg drop soups are always a hit when it comes to traditional meals. You can enjoy it with your spring rolls for a balance between the crunchy and flavorful spring rolls and the moist and faint flavors of the soups. Coleslaw is a fantastic side dish for those who want to add some extra veggies to their meal. It is also common in Vietnamese cuisine to serve spring rolls atop vermicelli noodles. 

These are just a few of the dishes that may be served with spring rolls!

 

 

 

Available on Umamicart

 

Check out what spring roll ingredients we carry here at Umamicart. From special sauces to wrappers and filling ingredients, we have it all!


Sauces



Filling Ingredients



Wrappers



Ready to Eat