These traditional Chinese Spring Rolls feature a mixture of vegetables and pork encased in spring roll wrappers and deep-fried until golden brown and crisp.
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What are Chinese spring rolls?
There are two types of spring rolls, fried and non-fried (fresh).
Typically, Chinese spring rolls are small, savory appetizers consisting of cabbage and other vegetables wrapped in thin wheat flour wrappers and deep-fried until crisp.
The filling can also include protein such as pork or shrimp, however vegetarian versions are common.
They are typically eaten in the Spring during Chinese New Year, to signify the fresh produce of the season.
Non-fried spring rolls (popiah) are larger and filled with already-cooked ingredients, which can include vegetables and meat.
Popiah is traditionally eaten during the Qingming festival, a celebration of Spring where Chinese families visit the graves of their ancestors to sweep and tidy up gravesites and make ritual offerings of food and incense.
What's the difference between Chinese spring rolls and Vietnamese spring rolls?
Chinese spring rolls are typically larger than Vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio), which are smaller and filled with similar but different ingredients, such as taro or cassava, wood ear mushroom, and mung bean vermicelli.
Vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio) are also deep-fried.
Goi cuon is a variation of Vietnamese spring rolls, which is also known as fresh salad rolls or summer rolls.
Vietnamese salad rolls are filled with a variety of fresh vegetables, pork, shrimp and rice vermicelli noodles and rolled up in rice paper wrappers and are not fried.
What's the difference between Chinese spring rolls and Chinese egg rolls?
Chinese egg rolls are a Chinese-American dish featuring much larger rolls wrapped in egg roll wrappers which are fried.
Egg roll wrappers are also made of wheat and are much thicker than spring roll wrappers.
The thicker egg roll wrappers fry up with a coarse, bubbly texture.
It is said that the original egg rolls were made with a thin egg crepe, lending the name "egg roll," which are different than crispy Chinese egg roll biscuits, which are sweet cookies.
Why you'll love this recipe
These Chinese spring rolls are:
Easy to make: mix the pork and cabbage mixture with seasonings, wrap, roll and fry!
Delicious: you won't be able to stop at one -- they're that yummy!
Crispy: frying the spring rolls at a high temperature prevents the spring rolls from being soggy and ensures they fry up golden, crisp and crunchy.
Easily scalable: this small-batch makes approximately 15 spring rolls, but you can definitely scale up the recipe to make more to serve at parties or celebrations.
Adaptable: you can tweak the ingredients to add what you like -- just choose ingredients that aren't too wet or moist or they won't fry up as crisp.
Ingredients you'll need
- Napa cabbage: shredded
- carrot: shredded
- coarse sea salt: for drawing out the moisture in the cabbage and carrot
- Chinese mushrooms: soaked in warm water, drained and finely sliced
- ground pork: you can use lean ground pork, or an 80/20 mixture
- soy sauce: for savory flavor
- sea salt
- black pepper
- granulated sugar: balances out the saltiness
- cornstarch: to bind the mixture and give a smoother texture
- sesame oil: for flavor and aroma
- spring roll wrappers: I used (medium) wrappers about 8" x 8" in size
- egg: beaten
- peanut oil: or high smoke-point frying oil
How to make the spring rolls
Make the filling:
Add the shredded cabbage and carrot into a colander.
Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the vegetables and give it a massage.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Squeeze the vegetables to rid of any excess moisture.
Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl.
Add in the Chinese mushrooms, ground pork, soy sauce, sea salt, black pepper, sugar, cornstarch and sesame oil.
Stir the mixture until thoroughly combined.
Take a wrapper and place it onto a plate, with the corner facing down, in the shape of a diamond.
Add about 1 heaped tablespoon of filling to the lower 3rd of the wrapper.
Fold up the bottom corner over the filling and tuck in the sides.
Roll and dab the "triangle" edges with egg before sealing.
Place seam-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat with the remainder.
Heat a pot of oil over medium-high heat.
When the temperature reaches 400F, working in batches, carefully drop in 3-4 spring rolls and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 5-6 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towel.
How to serve
Keep the fried spring rolls warm on a baking tray in a 250F oven until ready to serve.
Serve the spring rolls freshly fried, with sweet chili sauce, plum sauce, or hoisin sauce.
How to store & reheat
You can freeze uncooked spring rolls in a single layer, until partially frozen and transfer to an airtight freezer bag to store for up to 3 months.
Fry the spring rolls from frozen, adding 1-2 extra minutes of frying time.
Store leftover fried spring rolls in an airtight container lined with paper towel in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Reheat friend spring rolls in a 350F for 15-20 minutes, until heated through and crisp.
Expert tips & notes
You can make the filling ahead of time.
Cover it and place into the fridge for up to 2 days.
Easily double or triple the recipe to make more to feed a crowd.
If you have an air fryer, you can use that reheat and crisp up the spring rolls.
The overall yield of spring rolls will depend on what size wrappers you use and how much filling you add to them.
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Chinese Spring Rolls
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 3 large leaves Napa cabbage shredded
- 1 carrot shredded
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 2 Chinese mushrooms soaked, drained and finely sliced
- 300 g ground pork
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 15 spring roll wrappers about 8" by 8" in size
- 1 egg beaten
- peanut oil or high smoke-point oil
Make the filling:
- Add the shredded cabbage and carrot into a colander.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the vegetables and give it a massage.
- Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- Squeeze the vegetables to rid of any excess moisture.
- Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl.
- Add in the Chinese mushrooms, ground pork, soy sauce, sea salt, black pepper, sugar, cornstarch and sesame oil.
- Stir the mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Take a wrapper and place it onto a plate, with the corner facing down, in the shape of a diamond.
- Add about 1 heaped tablespoon of filling to the lower 3rd of the wrapper.
- Fold up the bottom corner over the filling and tuck in the sides.
- Roll and dab the "triangle" edges with egg before sealing.
- Place seam-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Repeat with the remainder.
- Heat a pot of oil over medium-high heat.
- When the temperature reaches 400F, working in batches, carefully drop in 3-4 spring rolls and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 5-6 minutes.
- Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towel.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.