No one is impervious to the joys of a simple spring roll, but it’s copped a bad ‘wrap’ (haha) over the years, spotted in too many dodgy food court Bain Maries, sad and wilted then doused in claggy fluorescent sweet and sour sauce. It’s all about taking some time in the construction, and now all the stresses of them popping while getting deep fried have been alleviated by using an air fryer! A great recipe for freezing and pleasing crowds whether it’s for a weekly starter with the fam or a weekend BBQ with friends.
1 heaped tsp plain four
1 packet large, 20cm square, spring roll wrappers, thawed (easily found in supermarkets and Asian grocers)
1L rice bran or sunflower oil if deep frying
100g dried glass vermicelli noodles (easily found in supermarkets and Asian grocers)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
600g white cabbage, thick central stalks removed and discarded, leaved halved and sliced thinly
350g carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
2 Tbs oyster sauce
3 tsp light soy OR to taste
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs fish sauce (vegans and vegos can substitute with light soy)
2 Tbs caster sugar
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
Soak the vermicelli in cool water for 15 minutes, then drain. Using scissors snip into roughly 5cm lengths.
To make the filling, combine the oil and garlic in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat and sauce garlic until golden. Add the cabbage and carrot and stir fry until it just starts to wilt a little. Add the oyster sauce, light soy, white pepper and vermicelli, then stir fry for about 10 seconds or until the vermicelli is soft. Transfer the mixture into a colander, pushing the mixture to the edges and leaving a hole in the middle so any excess liquid can drain away easily. Chill uncovered until required.
To start wrapping, first make the sticking paste. Mix the flour in a small bowl with enough cool water to form a sticky paste. Carefully peel off a sheet of the spring roll wrapper with the top and bottom corners pointing north/south. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cooled filling across the centre of the wrapper. Tuck the bottom corner over it very firmly, bring in the sides, then roll upwards very snuggly. Smear a little of the sticking paste on the top corner and roll into it for a secure finish. Repeat until all the filling is used up.
At this point you can freeze the spring rolls after they’ve been rolled, and fry from a frozen state. However, the filling does not freeze well on its own.
To make the dipping sauce, combine all the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix until the sugar dissolves.
To fry the spring rolls in the air fryer fresh, preheat to 200ºC and cook for about 4 minutes and about 7 minutes if you are air frying them from a frozen state.
If you are frying using oil, fry over medium heat in a wok or medium saucepan. To test if the oil is ready, touch the base of the wok with a wooden chopstick. If a constant stream of bubbles emerge the oil is ready. Make sure you only fry a single layer of spring rolls in the wok – they should take about 6-7 minutes per batch and be a deep golden brown colour. If they are browning quicker than this, your oil is too hot, and they will lose their crispiness and go soggy very quickly. When ready, drain them on their sides in a paper towel lined colander so they don’t squash one another and stay super crispy.
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