1-15: Chinese Spring Rolls

Simply Delicious has made numerous attempts at Chinese-American cuisine, and we can add 1-15: Chinese Spring Rolls to that list as well. There’s some interesting history behind the terms spring roll and egg roll–it goes much deeper than just what the wrapper is made of.

The terms are used interchangeably here, and seemingly in most other places as well. The biggest takeaway from the spring vs. egg roll debate is that spring rolls are originally from China, but have been Americanized along the way (while egg rolls were always American).

They tend to have a thinner wrapper than egg rolls, and are often also associated with the transparent rice paper rolls you tend to see in Vietnamese and Thai restaurants.

Spring rolls don’t always have egg in the wrapper, but they can (and in this case, do). Egg rolls pretty much always do.

Ingredients. Swapped out fake meat crumbles for the ground pork and vegan broth for the chicken version. It took me way too long to figure out that the stuff in the brown bag in the foreground was the brown sugar. Not pictured: the backup store-bought egg roll wrappers that I have just in case this goes south.

Spoiler alert: it does. Sort of.

Starting the wrapper/pancake batter.

Looks like pancake/crêpe batter to me.

Those lumps don’t look great–probably should have mixed it a bit more thoroughly.

Those are some wacky looking, thicc pancakes. Wrapping these things is not going to be easy. But, they are usable, so we don’t need those backup wrappers. Yet.

Browning up the fake meat. Hard to tell it’s not real, huh?

Slicing mushrooms.

I cheated and bought pre-cut bamboo shoots and coleslaw mix (instead of shredding a ton of cabbage).

Mixing the “meat” and veggies.

Here’s the cornstarch slurry they ask you to make with the broth. This helps thicken the “sauce” that holds the filling together.

Prepped up my egg wash.

Here’s the filling after some cooking–it looks much more…cohesive.

I chose the roundest wrapper for this picture, but some of them were a bit more abstract in shape.

The wacky shapes made these a bit difficult to wrap effectively. Without a tight wrapper, the filling is going to spill out as soon as they hit the oil in the fryer.

I picked my best two contenders and gave it my best shot.

After a few of the more creatively-wrapped ones busted open, I gave up and cracked open the backup wrappers. They were a much tighter wrap, but came out super bubbly (the store-bought wrapper is on the right). My guess? Oil was probably too hot at this point, or maybe was too hot overall.

Final picture. They were okay, but I think I’ll leave these up to the pros. Home deep-frying just never turns out as well as the restaurant version.

Grade: B