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Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls
As Suu Lee Martin, from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, ME, July 2010
Makes about 48 appetizers

Small handful rice sticks (thread size noodles made out of rice)
1.5 lb ground pork
1 onion, minced
6 carrots, peeled and shredded (or 1 lb bag of pre-shredded)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp sugar
3 eggs
1-2 packages Spring Roll Pastry* papers
1. Put small pot of water on to boil. Cut rice sticks into three-inch segments. Put in boiling water for less than one minute, and strain. Put into large stainless steel mixing bowl: par-cooked rice sticks, ground pork, onion, carrots, salt, pepper, sugar. Get a small side dish ready. Crack two eggs into the mix. The third egg put the whites into the mixture, and the yolk in your separate small side dish. This is your glue that will hold the springroll wrappers together.
2. Get a dinner plate out and peel the first few papers from the pack, spreading them out onto the plate so they’re easy to grab. Get a large plate or platter ready – something that will hold 48 springrolls! Your first few will be slow, but try to get faster as the rolling gets more familiar, otherwise you’ll be doing this all day! Better yet, find a sister to make half of them next to you. Here's the method: on the countertop in front of you, place one square spring roll pastry sheet with a corner pointing at you. Place about 1 ½ Tbsp of the filling just above that bottom corner. Use your fingers to mold the filling into a log shape, staying within the boundary of the edge of the sheet. Fold the bottom corner up covering the log tightly. Then continue to roll the log over the rest of the sheet, pressing down gently to keep the paper tight. After the widest part of the square, fold the sides in so the remaining paper edges are perpendicular to the log. Glue the final corner of the paper onto the roll with a dab of egg yolk on your finger.
3. Fill the largest deep saute pan you have one inch deep with vegetable, canola, or peanut oil. Bring oil up to high heat. Line a platter for the finished spring rolls with paper towels and put next to the saute pan. Put your first spring roll in. If the heat is right, it should make a loud sizzing sound, wow! and you should see vigorous bubbling (frying). If you don’t see that, take your spring roll out and wait for the oil to heat up some more. When the oil is hot, you can fry many as you can fit loosely in the pan. She used chopsticks to maneuver the rolls in and out of the oil. I’m using tongs. Spring rolls are done when they're light brown on the outside and the meat inside is cooked. Cut your first one open to make sure you got the temp right. If the outside is burning and the center is raw, the oil is too hot. If they're soggy with oil and not browning, your oil is not hot enough.
*Spring Roll Pastry. This is in the frozen section of most Asian markets, not yet in major grocery stores. She used Spring Home brand, made in Singapore. The ingredients on the package were wheat flour, water, coconut oil, salt. In Portland, try Haknuman, on Forest Ave. near Baxter Woods, Mittaheap World Market on Washington Ave. across from Tu Casa. I haven't been to Hong Kong market yet (on Congress below the Maine Med hill), but I bet they'd have them. When I get my act together, I'll put online ordering links.

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2010