Tuesday 16 June 2015

Healthy Chicken Spring Rolls

Everyone loves a spring roll right? The lovely fried crispy outside with a nuclear hot inside bursting with flavour. Teamed with a lovely spicy dipping sauce, they make a great starter or side dish.

I had bought some rice pancakes for spring rolls from a local farm shop that has diversified it's range and now sells all manner of exotic produce. I was hugely tempted by the frozen Gyoza and Dim Sum on offer, but these times see me on a diet, so while still wanting something interesting thought that a spring roll might be slightly better for me......what with them being deep fried?!! I was about to put the packet back when I read the back and it said you could shallow fry, deep fry or steam them. Steamed spring rolls? Now there's a thought.

[Scroll to the bottom for the recipe]

I often buy things that I expect to sit in the cupboard for months before I either pluck up the courage to use them, or an opportunity arises that is perfect for their use. Having recently invested in a Big Green Egg, that opportunity came quite quickly. When the egg is fired up, it seems a shame (even wasteful!) to skimp on portion sizes and as a result had smoked way too many chicken wings (from Joseph Morris the butchers) over the weekend. I was tempted to just reheat them and serve them for a family meal, as chicken wings are a guaranteed way of getting quality protein in to the kids. Then I remembered my spring roll pancakes.

Expecting soft and pliable pancakes to come out of the packet I was surprised to find stiff white sheets of what looked like gelatin. They had the same crisscross pattern, and very similar pliability.

You soak them in warm water for 15 seconds, after which the tricky bit begins. You have to be very careful as they become very delicate, and stick to themselves in the same way that really clingy clingfilm does.If you look carefully at the picture below, you can just about make out the now almost completely see through pancake.

Quite frustrating, but with a bit of perseverance (and a couple of wrappers that stuck to themselves so passionately that I had to bin them) I assembled 12 little bundles of joy.
I used the leftover chicken wing meat, seasoned with some sweet and sour sauce I had made at the weekend, then chopped spring onion, black sesame seeds and some blanched carrot matchsticks.

Then all that remains is to steam them all for 10 minutes, I had to do them in batches of 4 so as not to crowd the steamer. Next time I will either oil the steamer, or sit each roll on it's own piece of greaseproof paper, as getting them out neatly was a challenge.

They were delicious, and disappeared off the kids plates in a matter of seconds. Certainly something I'll be doing again, and in the not too distant future when the diet is done, I will be deep frying some as well. The thought of crispy outside, soft inside and a spicy hit from something like a sriracha sauce is exciting me greatly. Watch this space! 

N.B. Weights or amounts will vary depending on the amount of leftover chicken you have

- Rice Pancakes for Spring Rolls ( I used Blue Dragon brand)
- Smoked Chicken Wing Meat ( or whatever chicken you have leftover)
- Spring onions, sliced
- Black Sesame Seeds
- Sweet and sour sauce (For speed, use a Blue Dragon sachet if you don't want to make your own)
- Carrot matchsticks

1. Chop up the chicken meat in to fairly small pieces.
2. Mix the spring onion, sesame seeds and sweet and sour sauce in to the chicken. Taste, and season if necessary however the sweet and sour sauce and spring onion should provide ample flavour.
3. Meanwhile blanch the carrot matchsticks in salted water for no more than 1 minute then refresh in cold water
4. Soak the pancake sheets in warm water until they are soft and pliable. Then blot dry on a damp tea towel.
5. Place a few teaspoons of the chicken mixture in the centre of the pancake, top with carrots then roll them up. Bring the bottom of the pancake up over the filling, then do the same with both sides. Finally roll from the bottom up until you have a neat little package.
6. Steam for 10 minutes in an oiled bamboo steamer spaced well apart.Alternatively, you could deep fry at this point in oil at 180c for about 3 minutes I would guess, until the wrapper is brown and crispy, and the insides are piping hot.
7. Serve either as a starter with a dipping sauce, a light lunch or tea with an Oriental salad, or as part of a Chinese style banquet.....which we are always having in our house!?

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