Tuesday, May 11, 2010

April 12-13, 2010: Spring rolls

By happy coincidence we had a vege box delivery due on the day we returned to Melbourne. This was only made happier by our kind house-sitter, who stuck around long enough to receive the delivery and stock our fridge and fruit bowl. The Challenge Ingredient of this box was a rather large cabbage. I made my first dent in it by shredding some for a vinegar-dressed 'slaw and stuffing it into lentil tacos.

Next my thoughts turned to spring rolls.  I bought some frozen wrappers from 'round the corner and defrosted a chunk of seitan.  Everything else I needed was already in the pantry!  I sautéed up the filling, got busy with the wrappers and then took a tip that Dirty Flamingo left in a comment on this blog more than two years ago - I used spray-oil and the oven to bake, not fry, my spring rolls.

This worked rather well! The rolls had a nice crunchiness to them, without being greasy.  The seitan and cabbage combo tasted terrific.  The only issue was that a few of the rolls split and burst.  When I made them again the following night (substituting red capsicum for the seitan) I reduced the amount of soggifying sauce and used two wrappers per roll.  Now they were perfect.  

All future deliveries of large cabbages are officially welcome.

Spring rolls

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 cup seitan, sliced into strips
3 cups cabbage, shredded
1 teaspoon five spice powder
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce (just 1 tablespoons will suffice)
1 packet spring roll wrappers
spray oil

Heat the oil in a frypan and saute the onion.  After a minute or two, stir through the garlic and ginger.  Add the seitan and cook the mixture a little more. Stir in the cabbage and cook it, stirring regularly, until the cabbage begins to soften.  Add the five spice powder, vinegar and 'oyster' sauce and stir them evenly through the filling.

Allow the filling to cool a little and preheat the oven to 200°C.  Line a baking tray with oven-proof paper.

Carefully pull apart the spring roll wrappers and spray them lightly with oil.  Place a tablespoon (not much more!) of filling onto the centre of a wrapper and wrap it up, then wrap again with a second wrapper. The spray oil should be enough adhesive to hold it all together.  Put the roll on the baking tray and continue wrapping rolls with the remaining filling.

When you have a tray full of rolls, give them an extra little spray with the oil and bake them until crisp, turning them half-way through (I think we baked them for ~10 minutes on each side).

Scoff them down with your favourite dipping sauce!


  1. Oh great idea! We're still going on our massive cabbage from last week, we also did tacos last night (tofu), so I might try the baked spring rolls! Last time I fried them they absorbed so much oil and I got a rather bad tummy-ache :)

  2. Vegetarian spring rolls are really good, aren't they? One question, where do you buy seitan? Is it the gluten thing they sell in Asian groceries?

  3. that's a really great idea! i'm sick of my spring rolls exploding in the oil and causing kitchen mess as well as being oily as all hell! Yay for new spring roll finds.

  4. Oh yum, that looks great! And a good thing to use my five spice tofu in from Minh Phat.

  5. Hi Penny - we didn't get any cabbage in our following box and I was kind of disappointed... a big change from my previous attitude to this vegetable. :-D

    Anh, I have always had a weakness for spring rolls! Yes, seitan is a gluten-based faux-meat. I'm sure it is sold at some Asian groceries and I've also bought it from health food shops (though this batch was home made!).

    Welcome, Vegiebug! I try to avoid deep-frying at home for those very reasons, so I'm really pleased that this works. :-)

    Niki, I bet that 5-spice tofu would taste awesome in just about anything! I must check out Minh Phat.

  6. hmmm I don't have all your ingredients but these look great - I have tried baking them and it really does save me from too much grease and my fear of deep frying - thanks for the reminder to try these again

  7. Johanna, I think the filling is very flexible - I'm sure there's any number of vegetables and flavourings that would be equally delicious!

  8. One thing I love about reading food blogs is coming across recipes for things you like eating, but have never considered making yourself! Spring rolls are one of those things. I think I will make some tonight... :)

  9. Anna, that happens to me too! Hope you like this one.

  10. Reporting back - I made these last night and they were delicious. I modified the recipe slightly as I didn't have cabbage or seitan(used carrot and shiitake mushrooms instead, and some chopped up cooked sweet potato noodles) and also I used dumpling wrappers stuck together to form larger sheets instead of spring roll wrappers! But even with all the changes, the flavours worked great (oyster sauce, five spice, vinegar) and they were DEVOURED.

  11. Hey, thanks Anna! I bet the mushrooms were brilliant. I'm also glad to know that dumpling wrappers do the job as I have them in the house more often. :-)

  12. Good god.

    Brilliant. Bookmarked immediately. XX

  13. Hey, Where did you find your spring roll wrappers? I've made similar to this with dumpling wrappers, and didn't think they worked very well!

  14. Hi Nina! We buy spring roll wrappers from the freezer section at supermarkets. Coles and Safeway often have them as well as dedicated Asian supermarkets. :-)

  15. I think I'm about ready to try these again... you said that the next night you made them with two wrappers. How did you do that? Wrap it with one and then again with a second, or wrap with both at once? Please explain!

  16. Hi Nina! I did it the first way, wrapping up the filling in one wrapper, a little spray with oil, then re-wrapping the whole parcel. Good luck. :-)

  17. do you think these would freeze well? We have a lot of food to use up before it goes bad! (I'm looking at you, cabbage)

    1. Welcome, Charlotte! I've never tried to freeze them - if I were to do so, I reckon I'd wrap them but not bake them... that might ensure that they're crispy and not overcooked when you do eventually eat them. Good luck!