Fresh mint makes Spring Rolls pop with flavor... use extra sprigs on the plate to dress it up.
I was able to harvest fresh mint from an area that my mother planted years ago. If you don't have mint planted in your garden, I highly recommend planting some. It's easy to grow and the insects and animals seem to stay away.
Asian markets usually have the least expensive freshest mint. And you know it's fresh because so many purchase it in Asian markets.
Since mint does not last long once picked, use it within 2 days of purchase for the best taste.
Fresh Ginger Root
Don't confuse fresh ginger with the powdered ginger type. Fresh ginger has a sweet woody aroma and should be a light golden tan color with a smooth skin. The ginger root is knobby, but the skin should be tight and smooth. Don't buy ginger root that has mold or shriveled skin.
Selection & Storage
Ginger root has white to creamy yellow flesh. The texture is stringy and can be coarse and hard to cut. It was one of the first spices to be traded to the west. Ginger root is available year-round and the best prices are usually found in Asian markets.
Keep unpeeled ginger, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Or you can peel the ginger root and place it in a jar of sherry and kept refrigerated for 3 months... if you keep a jar of ginger root in your refrigerator, you'll never be without when that ginger taste is needed in that favorite recipe.
Cut off as much as you will need. Gently peel the thin beige skin from the root with a teaspoon. The flesh just beneath the skin is the most flavorful. You can slice, grate or mince ginger root. The ceramic grate gives the finest grate and the most pungent flavor.
This small ceramic grater is super sharp, efficient and easy to use. Made by Kyocera, leading manufacturers of professional knives, it features a ceramic bowl design with the grating surface built right into the center. The trough around it holds the grated contents.
I love this for grating ginger used in my spring rolls and dipping sauces. It works well for citrus peel too. It also has a handy lid to keep contents fresh and protect the surface when not in use.
A silicon lip on the bottom keeps the grater steady when grating. It won't discolor or rust.
Fresh Mint, Thai Sticky Rice, Green Papaya Salad, Spring Rolls, and Sesame Tamari Dipping Sauce.
I just love these any time of the day! And they take only a few minutes to prepare if you get others to help with the chopping and rolling. This is a great party idea where everyone can get involved...even if their culinary expertise is none!
Spring Roll Pastry Wrappers
I decided to add this information about the Spring Roll Wrappers because my daughter-in-law used the thick type and tried to dry pan fry them and it did NOT work. The thicker version of egg roll wrappers must be fried in oil, but the thin-style Spring Home TYJ Spring Roll Pastry Sheets can be sprayed with non-stick oil and then pan-fried or baked with crispy results.
The Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing Pte Ltd company manufactures under the name "Spring Home" and the product is called TYJ Spring Roll Pastry. Their 8-inch square size package contains 25 sheets. Packages with 50 sheets are also available.
HINT: The pastry sheets are THIN and can be easily pulled apart as you work. It is best to cover the unused sheets with a film of plastic wrap to keep them from drying out as you work.
Ingredients: Wheat Flour (48%), Water, Coconut Oil and Salt.
Calories in 1 sheet: 40
1 package 8-inch square frozen Spring Home Spring Roll Pastry Sheets, thawed
2 bunches fresh mint, fine julienne
1 can water chestnuts chopped coarsely
2 - 2 inch pieces of fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped or grated
non-stick cooking spray
1 large carrot grated
2 cups or more of cabbage-regular or Chinese variety finely chopped
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans or black-eyed peas or black beans
1 package fresh extra-firm tofu cut into tiny squares
1/2 cup organic celery, finely sliced
1 English Cucumber, sliced in rounds, save for garnish
1 small head red-leaf lettuce, leaves separated
mandolin, fine slicer
large fry pan
Preparation Spring Roll Ingredient Preferences
All of the ingredients can be more or less... whatever your preference! I love fresh ginger, so I use lots of ginger in my rolls. If you want mushrooms, add a cup! Just use whatever vegetables you like.
Fresh Ginger Root Finely Diced
Spring Roll Size
The size of each roll is up to you too... small and dainty or fat and large. I make four spring rolls each for me and my husband for lunch served with Sesame Tamari Dipping Sauce, Thai Sticky Rice, and Green Papaya Salad! But for appetizers or as part of a dinner, you may want to make the rolls smaller. Again this is your preference in the creation.
Spring Roll Creation
The rice papers will dry out, so work with only three or four papers out at a time. Put a damp towel or a piece of plastic wrap over the unused rice papers between assembly. After assembling each roll, place them in a plastic container with a lid or in a casserole dish covered with plastic wrap.
1- Spring Roll... Fill with veggies, fold over, tuck, fold in sides.
2- Spring Roll... Continue rolling till totally closed.
3- Spring Rolls... Complete.
4- Spring Rolls... in plastic container.
5- Arrange the spring rolls so they don't touch.
With two large non-stick fry pans, turn the burners to medium high and spray with non-stick spray. Spray each individual roll before placing into the pans.
6- Every few minutes turn the spring rolls until all sides are crisp and golden.
Turn the rolls frequently with tongs until all sides are golden brown. Don't cook too many at a time otherwise the steam will make the rice paper soft instead of crispy.
Serve Spring Rolls for Spring with fresh lettuce slices and cucumber slices. I think the lettuce is a "pot holder" so you don't burn your fingers and the cucumber cools your tongue from the spicy hot dipping sauce. And if you add the Thai Sticky Rice and Green Papaya Salad, you'll want to prepare this meal often!
Have a Vegan SPRING ROLL PARTY
This is a great party meal....IF you invite people to come and help with the preparation, creation and cooking the whole meal becomes FUN and EASY. When I lived in Honolulu, my kitchen and home was TOO SMALL to have more than four people over. My friend, Brenda, wanted me to teach her how to make the spring rolls, and she had a HUGE kitchen in the beach house they were staying in for the summer... We had six of us in the kitchen, chopping, rolling and cooking together. Not only was it a great dinner party , but now she makes her own spring rolls for her family!
Store Bought Frozen Vegan Spring Rolls... just not the same!
Quick N' Easy Spring Rolls Recently I've seen several companies that make vegan frozen spring rolls that you just pop into a preheated oven for 20 minutes and serve with Thai Sticky Rice, Green Papaya Salad and the Sesame Tamari Dipping Sauce. The problem I have with most of them is that they are too oily and not as flavorful... but in a pinch for those of you who don't like shopping and assembling, this could be an alternative. Costco, Whole Foods, and Wild Oats all had versions that are vegan.