Say goodbye to the Year of the Sheep and welcome in the Year of the Monkey! When it comes to Chinese New Year, to some, it’s all about the food. Certain foods are eaten on this holiday with the purpose of bringing in good luck and prosperity. While many of these foods are often eaten throughout the year, they hold special significance during Chinese New Year and symbolize success for the year ahead. Fried spring rolls, also known as egg rolls, are an especially popular item during the New Year because of their resemblance to gold bars. They represent money and wealth and are the perfect excuse to eat plenty of these delightful fried goodies. This recipe is our take on a classic fried spring roll recipe with a pork, Napa cabbage, carrot and mushroom filling. Before Chinese New Year festivities kick off, make a big batch of these ahead of time or as a fun party idea, allow your guests to roll their own and eat them fresh.
Although traditional Chinese egg rolls call for cabbage in its filling, we prefer the mildly sweet flavor of Napa cabbage. The crisp, fibrous leaves of this Asian vegetable work beautifully in the recipe as they become tender once cooked. Napa cabbage also symbolizes prosperity in China, making it a most festive vegetable to use. Besides the Chinese holiday, the many ways to enjoy Napa cabbage throughout the year is extensive. It’s often cooked into stir fries, hot pots and braises. For other delicious ideas to prepare for Chinese New Year, check out these other popular Asian Vegetables and essentials.
Chinese Spring Rolls
Yields: 20 spring rolls
- 15 spring roll wrappers (egg roll wrappers) or 1 package
- 1 pound of ground pork
- 8 Shiitake Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups of Napa Cabbage
- 1 cup of carrot
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
- Cooking oil
For sealing the spring rolls
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch
1. In a large bowl, mix together the soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, corn starch and sugar. Place the ground pork into the bowl and make sure it has been coated with the marinade. Allow the pork to marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes.
2. While the pork is marinating, use a food processor to shred the Napa cabbage and carrots. De-stem the shiitake mushrooms and slice thinly.
3. In a large wok or pan, heat up your cooking oil. Stir-fry the ground pork until all of the pinkness has disappeared, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook the pork, as it will be cooked later inside the spring rolls. Remove from the heat and set aside.
4. Add more cooking oil on medium heat. Cook the Napa cabbage, garlic, carrots and shiitake mushrooms and stir fry until the vegetables have become soft, about 1 minute. Add a pinch of the salt and stir fry for another minute. Remove from the heat.
5. Place paper towels onto a baking sheet or plate. Spread the vegetables onto the paper towels and pat off the excess oil. Allow the vegetables to cool for about 20 minutes.
Once your vegetables have cooled, start assembling the egg rolls. Place the wrapper onto your surface and spoon in about 1 tablespoon of your filling. Make sure the filling is about 1 inch from the corner closest to you. Wet the opposite end of the wrapper with your corn starch and water mixture so the spring roll can stick together. Roll the wrapper away from you, making sure the filling is packed tightly. Fold over the sides.
6. Place the spring rolls onto a baking sheet in a single layer and cover with plastic wrap. This will prevent them from becoming too dry. At this point, you can refrigerate them for up to 3 hours or freeze them until you’re ready to serve.
7. Fill up your wok or pan with 2 inches of peanut or canola oil and allow for it to heat up to about 350 degrees. Place 4-6 spring rolls at a time sealed side down to avoid any breakage during the frying. Turn over occasionally and remove from the heat once they’ve turned golden brown or after about 1 and 1/2 minutes.
8. Place the spring rolls into a paper towel. Blot off any excess oil. When ready to eat, serve the spring rolls alongside sweet and sour sauce or soy sauce.
What do you like to eat on Chinese New Year? What are some other lucky foods you’d recommend for the Chinese holiday?