google-site-verification=-dZePfgWB2ZtA3dxPB_nPrOD55Shnmh0iXAEngMSTwE dZePfgWB2ZtA3dxPB_nPrOD55Shnmh0iXAEngMSTwE
7-10-2014 7-28-35 PM

The Dish: The Art of Spring Rolls

When talking about food, one debate never fails to arise: Is cooking an art or a science?’ The truth is that it is very much both. I’ve had friends assert that either you ‘get it’ or you don’t,’ insisting that understanding flavor is innate.

There are just some people who understand food intuitively. They can conceive of unique flavor combinations simply because they have the ability to imagine taste, much in the same way that a painter can envision the juxtaposition of certain colors. This is the art.

The science of it is a whole other animal, and one that can be easily learned. I’ve always struggled with the science part of cooking, due mostly to my reluctance to follow recipes. A great way to have fun with different ingredients, and to earn props at a dinner party, is mastering the art of the spring roll.

Though spring rolls are a staple in many Asian cuisines they are absent from the Korean repertoire, hence my obsession with making them at home. I am equally enthralled with the fresh (rice paper) and deep fried (pastry) spring rolls. They each have their merits, and they each require equal amounts of trial and error before being perfected. I find that getting a nice, compact wrap is easier with pastry spring roll wrappers, but there’s the added process of frying them – which can be messy. Not to mention much more fattening.

Vietnamese rice paper wrappers are available at almost every large mart, but pastry wrappers are hard to come by. The small imported foods store in the basement of Shinsaegae carries brand name, Spring House TYJ Spring Roll Pastries in the refrigerated section. As for the rest of the ingredients, I usually go for whatever veggies are about to go bad in my fridge.

Spring Rolls – Two Ways

Makes 15 spring rolls

15 round rice paper wrappers OR 30 pastry wrappers (double wrapping avoids them falling apart while frying)
2 bunches enoki mushrooms, roots cut off
1 large carrot, grated lengthwise
1 small zucchini, julienne (shoestring) cut
¼ head of purple cabbage, finely chopped
½ cup olive or grape seed oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Fresh cilantro and/or basil if you can find it
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2-3 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce (gochu-jang, or red pepper paste, is an appropriate substitute)
Salt and pepper to taste

For frying:
One egg
½ cup water
3 cups soybean or vegetable oil

Large cutting board or other surface for rolling, wok/sauté pan, grater
For fresh spring rolls: A large bowl of hot water
For fried spring rolls: A small pot, tongs and A LOT of paper towels
Like I’ve said, once you get the science of it down, it’s time to get creative. I’m thinking that the next time I do fried spring rolls, I might try eggplant and mozzarella with a marinara dipping sauce (my Italian grandma’s marinara recipe to come in a future issue).

Place all the ingredients in a wok and sauté for 10-12 minutes. Drain ALL the excess oil/juices out of the wok. Transfer to a bowl beside a large, clean, flat surface.

Fresh Spring Rolls:
Immerse a rice paper wrapper into a bowl of hot water for two seconds. Lay the paper flat and place a heaping tablespoon of the sautéed mixture in the center of the wrapper, arranging it in a horizontal line that leaves an inch on either side and two inches on the top and bottom. Fold all the sides while poking it to secure the wrap. This part takes some practice. Patience, grasshopper!

Fried Spring Rolls:
Make an egg wash (mix an egg and a cup of water). Peel two wrappers from the stack and lay as a diamond. Use a brush (or your fingers) to lightly coat the entire wrapper with the egg wash. Place a heaping spoonful of your sautéed mixture in the center, and follow the same instructions as above for rolling. Heat the canola or vegetable oil in a small pot until it is sizzling. Place 3-4 spring rolls into the oil. Fry for one minute on each side, using tongs to turn them. Place spring rolls on several layers of paper towel to remove excess grease.
For a no-brainer, yet killer, dipping sauce, mix:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Wasabi
1 Tbsp. grated ginger (powdered if you’re NOT using a food processor)

You can check out Jen’s recipe for the perfect tuna burger here.

The Latest Haps


Parents Opposing Teacher Evaluations Grows

Parents’ Group in Busan began a movement to refuse teacher evaluations, saying that the Teacher Ability Development Evaluations for evaluating the abilities and guidance work of teachers is compulsively and formally being carried out.

Image: News1

French Veteran to be Buried at UN Cemetery

A French veteran who served in the Korean War (1950-53) will be buried beside his comrades in Busan.

police station

Suspect Arrested in Philippines Murder Case

Police said that they have arrested a suspect in the killing of three South Koreans in the Philippines earlier this month, adding they will continue efforts to track down accomplices.

busan cinema center

Swedish Film Festival Returns in November

The Swedish Film Festival will be held in Seoul, Busan and Gwangju early next month to introduce Swedish contemporary films and trends to Korean audiences.


Video: Pyeongchang Olympics Dance Contest Disastrous PR Attempt

Netizen anger has been pouring through Korean social media over a recent Pyeongchang Olympics promotional video on YouTube.


“Train to Busan” Wins Awards in Spain

The Korean action film “Train to Busan” has received the best director and special effects awards at the 49th Sitges Film Festival in Spain.


Education Office to Designate Friday’s as Family Day

An official from the City Office of Education says that it will designate every Friday as “Family Day” starting next month.


Busan International Footwear, Textile and Fashion Fair 2016 Begins November 3

The Busan International Footwear, Textile and Fashion Fair 2016 will be held on November 3rd in BEXCO.

Image: CNet

Apple’s iPhone 7 Hits the Korean Market

U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. released the latest editions of its iPhone lineup in South Korea yesterday amid the vacuum of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7.

korean school cafeteria food

PNU Offers 1,000 Won Meals During Exams

Pusan National University which is providing students with a 1,000 won breakfast decided to also provide students with a dinner for 1,000 won during the exam period.


Busan International Seafood Expo Hits BEXCO this Week

The Busan International Seafood Expo, one of three major maritime fairs in Asia, will be held at BEXCO from the 27th, for a 3-day run.

Korean Ramen

Giving Your Next Ramen a Little Bit of Flair

There is seldom a sense of refinement in the area of ubiquity. But Stacy Austin takes a shot at it with the anytime-anywhere meal that is Korean ramen.

Unsusa Temple Korea

Great Local Getaway: Unsusa Temple in the Mountains of Busan

Although marked on Busan’s standard tourist map, this small and quiet Buddhist temple is a perfect half-day trip within city limits.


Thailand Still “Open for Business” Authorities Say

For those wondering about if Thailand is okay to visit at the moment after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, authorities insist it is open for tourism.


Travel Korea: Best Places to See the Autumn Leaves

With fall just around the corner and the temperatures beginning to fluctuate daily, it will be just a few short weeks before the changing of the leaves colors transition into their beautiful autumn hue.


Korea’s First PGA Event Next Year Starting to Shape Up

The dates and the purse for the first PGA Tour event in South Korea have been set.

korea olympic football

Korea Jumps Up to #44 in Latest FIFA Rankings

South Korea jumped up three spots to Number 44 in the latest FIFA rankings despite their loss to Iran earlier this month.


Korea to Host PGA Tourney Event Next Year

South Korean conglomerate CJ Group said today it will host a PGA Tour event in October next year.





About Jen Sotham

Check Also

Alcoho for the holidays

Holiday Spirits: Alcohol-Infused Treats for Your New Year’s Party

Looking for a way to add a kick to your holiday party? Jen Sotham has three fun ideas to help you infuse your gatherings with a little extra spirit.

Leave a Reply