Lately I’ve been looking for a good recipe that uses rice paper in kind of a fun way, but mostly I’ve found the standard spring roll ingredients, so I decided to make one of my own! I needed some help with the part about frying the spring rolls (also hard to find) so I used this recipe for guidance (and it actually would work as a “fun” recipe itself, but there are just too many ingredients we would have to omit).
After what I experienced last night making these, I didn’t think I was even going to be able to share this recipe. From what I’d read, people seemed to agree that it takes a bit of practice to dip the rice paper in water and then roll it. So I was pleased to see that I got the hang of it about mid-way through the process. But I was quickly knocked down off my high horse once I tried to fry them. The first one split open into a big mess, which thankfully all kind of fried back together so I could just pick the whole thing out and throw it in the trash.
The next attempt worked pretty well, but the on the third one the hot grease was flying all over the place and I called it quits when some hit me in the face.
After sticking my head under cold running water for a bit, I declared we would eat them without frying them.
They were still pretty good, but my husband and I each had one of the rolls I had managed to fry, and there was really no contest. Which was upsetting because I didn’t want to have to add “ski mask” and “protective eye wear” to my equipment list (below).
Then this morning, I was playing tennis with my dad and I told him about my failed recipe. He’s the kind of guy who loves to give out advice and provide people with information. One of his classic moves is saying “speaking of _____” even though no one mentioned ______ but he will proceed to tell you about it.
But anyway, he took the “cooking oil” topic and ran with it, and told me that when cooking oil catches on fire, a lot of people try to put it out with water and then the oil just goes crazy. (I DID know that you can’t put out grease fires with water, I just didn’t think of “oil” as “grease.” Whatever…)
Bah ha!!! Now it all made sense! The frying often created holes in the outer layer of the spring roll which allowed the water trapped inside the rolled rice paper to escape and try to blind me! So if I just allowed the water to evaporate or absorb or whatever first: problem solved! I should be a friggin’ scientist.
There was one spring roll left over that was in the fridge, and since I’m so lazy even the oil from the night before was still in the pot! And it worked like a charm.
- 1 pound of beef
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Dash of pepper
- 4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
- 10 rice paper rolls (about 8 inches in diameter)
- Cooking spray
- About 3 cups of vegetable oil (I used olive oil, it’s my favorite)
- Frying pan
- Cutting board
- Dutch oven
- Candy/oil thermometer
- 2 shallow baking trays
- Plastic wrap
- 1 cooling rack
Add the beef to a large frying pan and season with the salt and pepper. Make sure to chop it up into little chunks and cook until all the grease is gone.
Fill a shallow baking tray (you can use anything that works, but with this you can reuse it later) with hot tap water. Working with one sheet of rice paper at a time, dip it in the water and wait about 10-15 seconds until it softens. (I was taking them out before they got too soft because they keep softening as you work with them.)
Place it on the cutting board and add about 3 spoonfuls of the beef about 1 inch from the edge and then sprinkle with cheese.
Now is the part that takes some practice. Roll the edge of the rice paper over the beef once so that the beef is completely covered. Then try to adjust the beef so that it’s even and kind of fat in the middle and fold the sides over. Continue to roll (tightly) until you reach the end.
Place the roll on a baking sheet under some plastic wrap sprayed lightly with cooking spray one the side that touches the rolls, and continue this process with the rest of the rolls.
Put all the rolls in a storage container so that they aren’t touching each other and put them in the fridge overnight. (Unless you don’t mind having hot oil blasted at your face, then go ahead and move on to the next step…)
When you’re ready to eat, heat the oil in a dutch oven and when it reaches 350 degrees, lay one roll in the oil (the other recipe says you can do 3 at a time, but I think at first attempting one at a time is wise).
Move it around a little and make sure to flip it over at one point and wait about 3-4 minutes. The edges will probably start to bubble but you can go ahead and pop them: fun!
Remove the roll from oil using tongs and place on a cooling rack that has a baking tray underneath (I used the one that was used to soak the rice paper).
Continue to fry each roll 1-3 at a time.
When they have all been fried and are cool, cut in half. Serve as a meal or appetizers!
Elimination Diet safe: Yes! (Make sure you are using a well-tolerated oil!)