The Quest for The Perfect Spring Roll Wrapper

I know I’m an Asian through and through when making french crepes is pesky to-dos, while making spring roll wrapper is a giddy giddy joy joy. When in fact those two aren’t very different. It takes a lot of failures to get one correct crepe. It took me 5 awful crepes until I get the right heat, 7 crepes before I could finally make one that doesn’t break. And 11 until H said well done and 13 until I can air-flip. But for spring roll wrapper, I managed to get perfect round circle without breaking on my second wrapper.

Anyway, if you browse the net, you’ll find a number of variations on spring roll wrapper recipe. Very similar to each other. So since I’m a big fan of spring roll and I’ve eaten my weight in spring rolls, I wanna see if I can find the one recipe that I really really like and suits for Angola life.

Before I start, let’s get this clear: my benchmark is spring roll wrappers that I usually find in Chinese Groceries. I love them. They stay crispy longer than feuilletes de bricks. They absorb less oil than feuilletes de brick or Vietnamese Rice Papers. They are sturdier when come in contact with the filling (they don’t break as easily). Unlike Vietnamese rice paper they don’t need to be soaked in water and hence unlikely to bite me in oil splatter. They are, in my opion, my perfect spring roll wrappers. Except that they aren’t available in Luanda and whatever quantity I flew in with me, I seem to always run out of wrappers and I never have enough for parties. Hence this project.

Here’s take 1: Recipe from Feast Asia. Looks easy and straight forward.

I was skeptical on the water quantity in the recipe. So, as usual, I made the executive decision to reduce the water quantity. I further thinned the mixture as I went along. I made 5 as a pilot with what I thought to be the perfect thickness. Anything thinner, I thought this would end up being feuillete de bricks (bricks pastry) or warqa (the North African version). Then I cook them the way one would prepare the french crepe. One hand on the soup ladle and another on the non stick pan, pouring from the top and swirl.

On the texture alone, obvious differences can be spot from the typical store-bought spring roll wrapper. The homemade ones are softer but also in my opinion, a little bit more fragile. The texture and the smell reminds me of unfried risoles. It lacks the stretch that I can find in the store-bought wrapper. I also need to use egg yolk to close the seam. It won’t close off with a dab of water, unlike the store-bought wrappers. When fried, the skin isn’t as smooth and bubbles-free.

All in all, I think the problem lies with me and my executive decisions. Isn’t it always? 🙂
I want to give it another shot by further diluting the mixture. I also want to try brushing the mixture onto the pan (instead of pour and swirl). I want to try straining the filling for few hours to see if I can reduce the bubbles. Hmm, so many ways to improve. But that’s for tomorrow.

Today, I had my fill of these rolls.

 

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