Happy Chinese New Year!
To celebrate the Year of the Rat, I am serving up lots of delicious Chinese dishes for this big day, including one of my most favourite Chinese recipes: Vegetable Spring Rolls!
One of the Best Crowd-Pleasing Recipes
These Vegetable Spring Rolls are a crowd-pleaser for many reasons. They are warm, crispy and full of delightful vegetables and noodles. Plus, they can be enjoyed by everyone—vegetarians included!
For the filling, I combine shredded carrots, cabbage, woodear mushrooms, scallions, rice noodles, and a few key Chinese sauces and oils. Then, I wrap the filling in store-bought spring roll wraps (yay for convenience!) before they are plunged into a pot of oil and are deep fried until crispy. I have another recipe for Baked Spring Rolls that works great too, but I like to deep-fry these when celebrating special events such as Chinese New Year.
Once they come out of the fryer, I drain the excess oil and serve them warm with a side of Plum Sauce for dipping. As I was crunched for time this year, I opted to just use my favourite jarred plum sauce. However, if you have lots of time on your hands, there are some great Plum Sauce recipes that you can make from scratch!
Symbology Behind the Spring Roll
While Spring Rolls are served year-round, they are specifically eaten on Chinese New Year to symbolize wealth and prosperity. Once the spring rolls are wrapped and fried, they become a nice golden colour, and look like small gold bars or bouillon. Whether this is true or not, you can count on me eating a TON of these on Chinese New Year!
Also, make sure to check out some of my other recipes that are perfect for Chinese New Year:
- Soy Sauce Chicken
- Pork and Chive Potstickers
- Baked Spring Rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce
- Beef Chow Mein
- Vegetable Lo Mein
- Sesame Chicken
Have a very Happy New Year, everyone! Let me know in the comments below how you are celebrating for Chinese New Year this year!
For the complete recipe for these Vegetable Spring Rolls, click here!
Recipe: Vegetable Spring Rolls
Apart from dumplings, Spring Rolls are one of my favourite dim sum dishes. These crispy golden cylinders are filled with delicious (and vegetarian) filling made of cabbage, carrots, scallions, woodear mushrooms, thin rice noodles and some key Chinese sauces and oils. You can bake these in the oven, or deep fry them for a real treat!
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes
- 2 litres canola oil, plus 2 tablespoons, for frying
- 1 1/2 cups Napa cabbage, green leaves only, finely chopped
- 1 cup carrots, finely grated
- 1/2 cup woodear mushrooms, soaked and finely chopped
- 4 cups thin rice noodles (vermicelli), cooked and cooled
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, preferably low-sodium
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 450 g package spring roll wrappers
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- Plum sauce, for dipping
Begin by making the filling. In a large frying pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cabbage and carrots and cook for 2 minutes until just softened. Add the woodear mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Next, add the rice noodles, followed by the scallions, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil and mirin. Mix everything together until combined then set aside to cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water together then set aside until you are ready to wrap…and roll! 😛
To wrap the spring rolls, lay one spring roll wrapper onto a cutting board. Brush the edges with some of the cornstarch mixture. Add about 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of the wrapper, moulding it into a long rectangle. Fold in the left and right sides of the wrapper to contain the filling then roll the wrapper up to seal it. Try and wrap the spring rolls tightly so that there are no air pockets and that the wrappers aren’t loose. This will ensure the wraps stay together when they are fried.
Add the rest of the oil to a large pot or dutch oven and pre-heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Add a bit more oil if necessary (the oil should be about 3-4 inches deep). Add 4-5 spring rolls to the pot at a time and gently fry them for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Once cooked, remove them from the pot using a pair of kitchen tongs or a wire strainer, and drain them over some paper towels. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving with some Plum Sauce!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking tray. Lightly brush 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over the parchment paper. This will help make the spring rolls crispy when they bake. Place the wrapped Spring Rolls on the baking sheet, ensuring that they are at least 1 inch apart. Use the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to brush over the spring rolls. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, flipping the spring rolls halfway through cooking.