Nowadays, it’s rather hard to get great tasting spring rolls (choon pheah/春卷) as how your grandma would make them. Somehow, most cooks detested the tedious amount of time in cutting those ingredients into smaller cubes, marinating them well and stir fry all the cut ingredients individually before mixing them together as the filling. Since I had my nieces back from Australia for a short visit, I had decided to make them some delicious HAINANESE STYLE CRAB MEAT SPRING ROLLS. Of course, those rolls were stuffed with juicy crab meat. Here are some of the tips and recipe in coming up with these delicious spring rolls which would be ideal for family reunions or as party snacks.
500g minced meat (chicken, beef, pork as your preference)
300g peeled prawns (cut in dices with kitchen scissors)
2 fat Australian carrots (finely diced)
10 water chestnuts (finely diced)
1 jicama/sengkuang (6” diameter – finely diced – can be replaceable with more water chestnuts)
1 cabbage (6-7” diameter – finely diced)
8 Chinese mushrooms (soaked in luke warm water and finely diced – retain the juice)
3 big onions (finely diced)
6 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
1.5” young ginger (grated finely)
3 Tbsp 5-spice powder (add more if you want it stronger in taste)
600g-800g peeled steamed crab meat
1 pkt pre-packed spring roll skin (8.5” x 8.5”/215mm x 215mm)
Some coarsely crushed deep fried sole fish (phee hoo) bits
MARINATES: 30 minutes
MEAT – 2 Tbsp sesame oil, 2 Tbsp oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp 5-spice powder, pinch of salt and some pepper. Mix well.
PRAWNS – 1 Tbsp Sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar and some pepper. Mix well.
MUSHROOM – 1 Tbsp Sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, ginger juice and some pepper. Mix well.
You would need a large steel basin to put in all the cooked items as we will be cooking individually prior to mixing all together.
1. Saute some chopped garlic in some oil. When brown, put in the diced mushrooms and stir fry until dry. Scoop up and place in basin.
2. Saute some chopped garlic in some oil. When brown, put in the diced prawns and stir fry until they turned orange. Scoop up and place in basin.
3. Saute some chopped garlic in some oil. When brown, put in the minced meat. Flatten it evenly and allow one side to be slightly brown. Flip part by part over and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes on medium fire. Scramble the meat in the wok into little chunks. Add in the diced onions and 2 Tbsp 5-spice powder. Stir fry until the onions look translucent. Scoop up and place in basin.
4. Heat up some oil in the wok and put in the diced carrots. Stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add in the diced jicama and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Finally add in the diced water chestnuts and stir fry for another 2 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK the vegetables as we would want to maintain a bit of crunch in the bite. Scoop up and place in basin.
5. Next saute some chopped garlic in some oil. When brown, put in the diced cabbages, 2 Tbsp oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, some sprinkles of pepper, a pinch of salt and stir fry until ALMOST cook. Again, we would want to maintain that bit of crunch. (You can sprinkle in some mushroom juice if it’s too dry)
6. Put in the rest of the cooked items in the basin and stir evenly.
7. Place a deep plate at the base of the basin and scoop the evenly stirred filling onto it. Note: This is to ensure that whatever oil and moist within the filling will be captured under the plate to enable a dryer filing for wrapping.
8. Leave to cool down prior to wrapping.
As for wrapping the spring rolls, there are a few steps to be taken care of to avoid any leakage. Just follow the steps in the diagram below and you won’t go wrong. You can mix some flour with water as the glue (or to patch up any broken holes) but I just used water since I had the experiences in wrapping the rolls well.
Scoop 2 porcelain spoons of the filling and place slightly below the centre of the spring roll skin. Place some crab meat and start wrapping. Laced an empty tray with a layer of kitchen towel and place the wrapped spring roll on it. DO NOT PLACE wrapped spring rolls on top of each other as they will get stuck to each other.
Heat up some cooking oil on HIGH. When you see some bubbles in the oil, lower to MEDIUM. Fry INDIVIDUALLY, starting from the thicker base while showering the top part with the hot oil. Turn over after about 15s and fry for another 10-15s or until golden brown. Make sure you have lots of kitchen towels laced in any deep container to drain off the excess oil. The trick is to let the spring roll stand vertically upwards. Serve while hot with the sauce of your choice.
Option 1: Worchester Sauce (Lea & Perrins) with cut red chilies (RECOMMENDED)
Option 2: Worchester Sauce (Lea & Perrins) plus a bit of chili sauce with cut red chilies
Option 3: Simply pour some Thai chili sauce
Option 4: Put in 6 red chilies (removed seeds), 2 green chilies (removed seeds), 4 cloves of garlic, 2-3 Tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, and juices from 8-10 Kasturi lime into a blender. Top the amount with some boiled water. Blend until fine. Taste the blended sauce and adjust the sweetness and sourness to your liking.
Any excess filling or skin can be kept in the freezer until further use for up to 2 weeks.
(Serves: 12-15 pax with approximately 40-50pcs)
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