Nai Nai's Spring Rolls
'My mom is a great cook. I grew up cooking with her at the family-owned restaurant in Dayton, Ohio. One of our most popular items was her delicious Spring Rolls. I remember helping to roll over 1,000 of them for an upcoming event. She made it look so effortless. They're now called Nai Nai's Spring Rolls (meaning 'grandmother' in Chinese) as we pass along the recipe/tradition with my boys.' - Ming Tsai, James Beard Award-Winning Chef, author, and host of PBS-TV's Simply Ming
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 2 large white onions, sliced thin
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 3 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
- 1/4 cup garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup ginger, minced
- 7 ounces mung bean thread noodles (or rice vermicelli)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup naturally brewed soy sauce
- 1 pound package lumpia/menlo wrappers or egg roll or Spring roll wrappers
- 1 egg beaten with 1/4 cup water, for egg wash
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Canola oil
For the hoisin-lime dipping sauce:
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- Put the noodles in a large bowl and fill with hot water to cover. When noodles have softened, after about 10 minutes for bean threads (15 minutes for rice vermicelli), drain and set aside.
- Heat a large wok or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of pan. Add the chicken and cook, breaking it apart into small chunks.
- Add the garlic and ginger, continuing to cook the chicken all the way through. Add the onions, carrots and cabbage, continuing to toss to incorporate all ingredients.
- Add 1 tablespoon salt and soy sauce. Stir fry all ingredients for 1-2 minutes to soften vegetables. Then add the noodles and combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary with soy sauce.
- Remove meat mixture from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Dampen a lint-free kitchen towel. Place 5 wrappers on a work surface with 1 point near you and cover the remainder with the cloth to prevent drying. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling on the wrappers just above the near corners. Bring the corner nearest you up over the filling and roll halfway; brush the edges with egg wash, then fold in the side corners and continue rolling to enclose the filling completely. Roll as tightly as possible. Cover with the damp cloth and allow the rolls to rest, seam side down; this permits the egg to set. Fill and roll the remaining wrappers, cover and allow the rolls to rest at least 2 minutes.
- Preheat deep fryer to 350 degrees. Add rolls, being sure not to overcrowd the fryer to ensure even cooking. Cook for 2-3 minutes until shell is golden, brown and delicious.
- To serve, slice spring rolls on diagonal and serve with Hoisin-Lime Dipping Sauce
For the hoisin-lime dipping sauce
- In a small sauce pot, add the oil, ginger and garlic. Cook until aroma is apparent, about 30 seconds. Add the hoisin and cook out the rawness, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Squeeze the lime juice into the sauce, stir to combine. Cool to room temperature. Serve.
- Recipe courtesy of Ming Tsai