Fresh Spring Roll

Freshly made translucent wrappers brushed with specially made sauce and filled with lettuce, jicama and grounded peanuts, this is one of the street foods not to be missed!!! I especially enjoy it as part of my breakfast in a kopitiam (Malaysian’s open-style cafe) or fulfil my appetite while strolling in a night market. Just like many dishes in my home country, Malaysia, fresh spring roll is fairly accessible that I didn’t even think about making my own while still residing in Malaysia.

popiahskinSee how my fingers are still visible when I hold the wrapper and that’s how the wrapper should be. It doesn’t really have much of a taste but the texture is soft and easily dissolve in the mouth. Since it is so delicate, U use a higher ratio of bread flour to all-purpose flour and let it rest for 1/2 – 1 hour to allow the gluten to develop.

The tricky part of making the wrappers is cooking it. As no oil is used, use only non-stick pan to cook it. As long as it is a non-stick pan, a square pan or round pan doesn’t really matter. Cook at a temperature you are comfortable with, preferably low to medium heat. This determines how long the wrapper is cooked. At a higher heat, the wrapper cooks almost immediately once apply to the pan. Once the wrapper is evenly cooked and turns to opaque white color, remove it immediately from the pan. If it is overcooked, it turns crispy and not suitable to be used to roll the fillings. If that happens, just crunch it down (and it tastes good) 🙂 To make an almost see-through wrappers, use a brush to apply the batter several times, at least 3 times, onto the pan.

Though the translucent wrappers remain similar, the variation is in its fillings – stir fry green beans, blanched bean sprouts, Malaysian-style chilli sauce, stir fry minced meat, to name a few other than the usual ingredients. Depending on one’s preference of the fillings, fresh spring roll can be savoury, sweet or spicy.  

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As for me, I like the sweet version with a nutty flavor. So my fillings have 3 main components – leafy parts of red lettuce, homemade sweet peanut sauce and turnips simmered with dark brown sugar, water and salt. Traditionally, Jicama (also known as “Sengkuang”) is used which gives a crunchy texture. Due to the difficulty of getting Jicama in Japan previously, I substituted with Japanese turnip. Even though I can easily get Jicama easily in the grocery stores right now, I still prefer to use turnip as it has a softer texture and more mellow in taste.

When it comes to wrapping, don’t stuff too much fillings. This can make the wrappers easier to tear apart and difficult to roll. It is better to put a lot lesser fillings than putting too much.

Overall, it is fairly easy to make although there are several pointers to be aware of 😉 Besides, it is a healthy appetizer and suitable for vegans. Why not follow the step-by-step guide below to make fresh spring roll from scratch 🙂 

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For a printable version (in pdf) of this recipe, click here.




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