This classic Thai spring rolls recipe results in hot and crunchy rolls with a flavorful filling. A great tasting filling really is the key to spring roll success. Part of what makes that happen is the fact that the filling ingredients are stir-fried before they're rolled.
This recipe is the perfect introduction for anyone who has not made spring rolls before. They're quite easy once you learn the steps and you can use pork or tofu instead of chicken. When they're cooked, simply dip the rolls in a little Thai sweet chili sauce, which you can make yourself or find in the Asian section of most supermarkets.
- For the Stir-Fry Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (or vegetarian stir-fry sauce)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry (or mirin)
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- For the Filling:
- 1 chicken breast (sliced into thin strips)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 piece galangal (or ginger; thumb-sized, grated)
- 3 green onions (sliced lengthwise into matchsticks)
- 1 red chili pepper (minced; or 1/2–1 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
- 1 carrot (grated or sliced into matchsticks)
- 4 to 6 shiitake mushrooms (sliced into small pieces)
- 1/2 to 1 cup cabbage (shredded or finely chopped)
- 2 to 3 cups bean sprouts
- Optional: 1 lime (juiced)
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola or corn; plus enough for deep-frying)
- 12 spring roll wrappers (typically 1 package, thaw if frozen)
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this spring roll recipe is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for cooking.
Make the Stir-Fry Sauce
In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, sherry or mirin, sugar, and white pepper.
Set aside to be used when making the filling.
Make the Filling
Toss the chicken strips in 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Set aside to marinate.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons oil, then add garlic, galangal or ginger, green onion, and chili pepper. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add the marinated chicken and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the carrot, mushrooms, and cabbage along with the stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry 2 more minutes, until the chicken is opaque when sliced through and the vegetables have softened but still retain most of their crispness.
Remove from heat and mix in the bean sprouts.
Test it for salt and flavor. Add 1 more tablespoon of fish or soy sauce if it's not salty or flavorful enough. If it's too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice.
Assemble the Rolls
Place a spring roll wrapper on a clean working surface. Using a slotted spoon, place one heaping tablespoon of well-drained filling lengthwise across the bottom of the wrapper, leaving 1 inch bare on either side.
Sprinkle some of the fresh coriander over the filling, and you're ready to roll.
Fold the left and right ends over the filling on either side.
Then lift up the bottom (nearest you) and roll to the other end.
Secure the roll by dipping your fingers in some water and wetting the end, "pasting" it shut.
Continue rolling until you're out of wrappers and filling.
Fry Your Spring Rolls
In a wok, or deep-sided frying pan, pour oil until it is 1 inch deep. Heat over medium-high heat.
When snake-like lines begin to form across the bottom of the pan, the oil should be nearly hot enough. To test it, dip one corner of a spring roll into the oil. If it begins to sizzle and cook, the oil is ready. If not, wait another 30 seconds to 1 minute and try again.
Gently place spring rolls in oil, allowing them to fry about 1 minute on each side. Spring rolls are done when they turn light to medium golden-brown. Use tongs to remove and set on paper towels or a clean tea towel to drain while you finish frying the rest.
Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce.
Substitutions and Variations
Rather than a chicken breast, substitute an equivalent amount of pork and slice it into thin strips. For a vegetarian spring roll, substitute 1 cup firm tofu sliced into matchsticks.
Omit the chili pepper and skip the cayenne if you prefer a mild spring roll.
For a vegetarian fish sauce substitute, try Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce.