The great spring roll debacle

April 21, 2015

Spring rolls. Sigh.

You may recall I made up spring rolls, some 2 1/2 dozen of them, on Friday. I finally got around to attempting to fry them yesterday.

Don’t do this at home. Betake yourself, instead, to a reasonably good Thai or Vietnamese or Asian fusion restaurant and satisfy your spring roll craving. You will save some money, some perfectly good ingredients, some time, a hellacious kitchen cleanup, and a good deal of frustration.

And those leftover rice paper wrappers? Take them out and use them like little frisbees, happily flinging them off into space. They’re biodegradable.

They degrade in hot oil, too.

There are no photographs with this post, since there was absolutely nothing I wished to preserve about the debacle that was the attempted frying of the spring rolls.

I carefully put my inch and a half of oil, as recommended, into my biggest, deepest skillet. I heated it to the requisite 385 degrees. I thought. I may not have gotten it that hot, as it’s damned hard to take the temp of hot oil at that depth without getting your thermometer on the bottom of the pan, which will throw off the reading.

The first two spring rolls sank and stuck. I cursed.

Not to be outdone, I switched to a smaller, but non-stick, skillet. Strained the hot oil over into it (THAT was a challenge). Added more oil.

Those rolls didn’t stick. But they still shredded when I tried to fry them.

Not to be outdone, I got out my leftover rice paper wrappers and gave each one of the remaining rolls an extra wrap.  In that fashion, I managed to get two out of the first seven rolls fried to what appeared to be an edible consistency and in a semi-whole state.

By this time, my blood pressure was through the roof, my head was pounding, and I was dizzy. So I poured myself a glass of wine and sat down, ignoring dinner.

Child A said the beef and broccoli was good, but she didn’t like the spring rolls. I didn’t like the spring rolls, either. Didn’t have to taste them to know that.

So the two dozen spring rolls in my freezer are going in the garbage today. No point in sticking that sharp stick in my eye again. And I’ll chalk this one up to experience.

You might could, perhaps, manage this if you had a deep fryer that would get your oil hot enough and hold it at a steady temperature. You might not. I do not have a deep fryer and don’t plan to acquire one. This is yet another confirmation that my aversion to deep-frying anything at home is well-founded.

Lesson learned. No homemade spring rolls for me, not at Chez Brockwell, not today, and not tomorrow, either.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em head to the Thai restaurant, you let me know and I’ll meet you there.



2 Responses to “The great spring roll debacle”

  1. Melissa Says:

    Oh man, I feel your pain. It took many many tries and recipes for me to get it right. Mine still aren’t as pretty as the following recipe, but they are decent enough. If you ever feel up to trying again, I use this technique from Steamy Kitchen :

    I do a different filling recipe using ground pork but it’s basically the same except for that. I get the wrappers from the Asian market in the big city. I took a picture of them (the wrappers). If you want me to send it to you on EG I would be happy to…I can’t see that I can post pics here.

    I fry them just like you did……couple inches of oil in my cast iron skillet. I’ve never had ’em stick or anything. I freeze them vacuum packed and uncooked. When I’m ready for some, I just take ’em out of the freezer and fry ’em up. Works like charm and you don’t even have to thaw them first.

  2. kayatthekeyboard Says:

    Nope, thanks. Never again. Egg roll wrappers aren’t so finicky, and I can deal with them (won-ton wrappers, the same stuff, makes a decent sub for pasta if you want to do ravioli or tortellini, too), but no more rice paper wrapping for me. Unless I do the Vietnamese summer rolls that you just wrap and serve cold, without cooking.

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