One of the most popular appetizers on any menu, the spring rolls are refreshingly crunchy, crisp and full of flavour. I love them, and so does my husband. And the best part is, you can make a large batch, freeze them, and fry them up at a moment’s notice. Perfect for ‘surprise’ guest, who just show up on your door-step with nay a warning! And making these Vegan Spring Rolls w/ Vegan Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce is easier than you think!
And the dipping sauce also keeps well when refrigerated, and goes with a lot of appetizers. It also works well in a lot of stir fries, adding that sweet ‘heat’ to rice, noodles and vegetables. And it is so mind-numbingly easy to make! Just remember to thaw it in the microwave to melt back the frozen sugar.
The only catch is you need the frozen spring roll pastry sheets. If you are in Chennai, you should be able to find them in Amma Naana and other specialty stores. If you are in the US, you should find them in any supermarket in the frozen aisle. Sure you can make the sheets yourself, but it will no longer be an easy-to-make appetizer.
- Choose a variety of coloured bell peppers (capsicum), if you can manage it. As you take a bite, you’ll see the colorful medley they provide to the dish.
- I always keep a bottle of Ching’s All-in-one sauce in hand for all stir-fry emergencies, and if you find a bottle of it in your supermarket/Indian grocery, grab one – it is so versatile, and I use it for so many dishes. It’s cheaper in Indian Groceries, so check there first! If you can’t find it – substitute with 2 tsp Soy sauce, 2 tbsp tomato ketchup, 1 tsp red chilli sauce.
So let’s roll!
You start with chopped vegetables. I’ve only given a basic list of vegetables, but add whatever is in season, and you fancy the most.
Thaw the frozen spring roll sheets according to package instructions. Usually, you leave the packet outside for 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature. Then you remove the pastry sheets from the packet and cover with a clean damp cloth. Keep covered till you are ready to fill the spring rolls. Re-freeze unused sheets in a clean, airtight ziploc bag.
While the pastry thaws, prepare the filling. Heat oil in a pan, and fry the ginger and garlic till they are crispy and golden brown. This is important to flavour the oil, so with every bite, you get that beautiful ginger-garlic flavour.
Add the sliced onions and green chills and saute till the onions are translucent. If adding green chillis, now’s the time.
Once the onions are translucent, add the rest of the vegetables. Season with sauce and spices.
You will notice that there are a lot of juices oozing out from the vegetables. Keep stirring continuously over a high heat till they all evaporate. Also ensure that the vegetables don’t overcook, and retain their crunch a bit.
When the water evaporates, you should see something like this.
Take off the heat, transfer to a large plate, spread it out, and tilt the plate at an angle, so any leftover juices will drain out. A wet filling will result in a soggy spring roll, that drinks up all the oil. You don’t want that!
Here’s the fun part! Shaping the spring rolls!
Lay them spaced apart on a baking sheet, covered in either cling film or baking paper to prevent sticking. If freezing for storage, freeze them for 2 hours like this, before transferring them to a ziploc bag.
All that remains is to fry ’em up!
In a large pan, deep fry the spring rolls over a medium-high heat until they are golden brown. Remember, the filling is already cooked, you only need the wrapper to fry. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot!
And your crispy spring rolls are never complete without an appropriately awesome dipping sauce. How about this kick-ass Sweet Chilli Dipping sauce? It may seem like a lot, but it’s just enough for this batch, and refrigerated, it keeps for a long time, thanks to the sugar.