Welcome to Steamy Kitchen!

Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken

Spring Roll With Chicken Recipe

How authentic Chinese Spring Rolls* should be: smooth, light, crisp-crackly skin and small enough to enjoy in 4 bites. The filling is also light, full of tender-crisp vegetables and you should be able to taste and distinguish every single ingredient in the filling.

Unfortunately, the only time you can find really awesome Chinese spring rolls are when you make them at home, Chinatown restaurants or at my Mom’s house :-)

*Spring Rolls or Egg Rolls? Well, either one is fine. Some people call these crispy fried rolls “Spring Rolls” and others, like my Mom, refer to them as “Egg Rolls.” I use both terms. There is no official English term. What are summer rolls? I refer to the uncooked Vietnamese rolls wrapped in rice paper as Summer Rolls, but Diane and Todd call these Spring Rolls! So confusing, right?  

I’ve seen too many Chinese-American takeout joints feature massive spring rolls the size of a soda can, a thick, chewy, bubbly textured skin and wet, soggy filling. That’s not good eats.

Spring Roll Recipe Crispy

My Mom’s Chinese Spring/Egg rolls are absolutely on the list of top 5 favorite foods of all time. It’s not something I make often, the deep frying and the time it takes makes it an indulgence. But when I do make spring rolls, I try to make a TON of them because they freeze perfectly and go direct from freezer to fryer.

We’ve made many variations of egg/spring rolls, from pork, shrimp, crawfish, seafood, beef, vegetarian and even with tofu (yum!) I’m sharing my chicken version with you, which is my boys’ filling of choice.

Spring Roll Recipe Crispy Detail

I’ve got lots of technique tips and step by step photos to help you master the very best spring roll that my Mom would be proud of!

Spring Roll Recipe

How to make Chinese Spring Rolls

The vegetables I’ve chosen to use are cabbage and carrots.

TIP: Do not use a box grater to grate the vegetables, grating releases too much liquid/water. Use either a food processor with thin slicing attachment, a mandoline like I’ve used here (I LOVE this one by Oxo for $15) or shred by knife.

Spring Roll Recipe Shredding Cabbage

You can julienne cut carrots by hand or use mandoline like this to first get thin slices.

Spring Roll Recipe Slice Carrot

After slicing thin with a mandoline, use knife to thinly slice further into very thin matchsticks. Notice how many times I’ve purposely used the word, “thin.”

Spring Roll Recipe Jullienne Carrots

Whisk together marinade ingredients for the ground chicken.

Spring Roll Recipe Marinade

Mix with ground chicken.

Spring Roll Recipe Ground Chicken

Saute the ground chicken with just a bit of oil. Then, remove chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Spring Roll Recipe Saute Chicken

Next wipe the wok clean and stir fry the vegetables along with ginger, garlic and green onion.

TIP: Meat and vegetables are cooked separately. This ensures that the meat browns well – and prevents everything from being an overcooked, soggy clump. Meat will taste like meat, and the vegetables will have a crisp, clean flavor.

Spring Roll Recipe Stir Fry Veggies

Add the meat back into the wok.

Spring Roll Recipe Mixing the Mixture

Add in oyster sauce.

Spring Roll Recipe Oyster Sauce

Toss! Toss! Toss!

Spring Roll Recipe Toss Toss Toss

Let cool on a baking sheet.

TIP: Let the filling cool. Hot filling = steam = makes wrapper wet = not good

TIP: Tilt the baking pan on one side. This lets any extra liquid/juice dribble down, away from the filling, Discard the liquid. Liquid = makes wrapper wet = not good. The drier the filling, the better. You can also blot the filling with a wad of paper towels to get rid of any excess oil.

Spring Roll Recipe Cooling Filling

Spring Roll Recipe Wrappers Here’s my favorite brand of wrapper. It comes frozen, so you’ll have to defrost.

TIP: The best 2 ways to defrost spring roll wrappers: 1-overnight in the refrigerator 2-on the counter for 30 minutes. Once the wrapper are defrosted, open the package and immediately cover with a barely damp towel or paper towel to keep moist. The wrappers will dry out and crack quickly if left uncovered.

TIP: If the wrappers dry out and are stiff, you can put a few wrappers on a plate, cover with a damp towel and microwave on medium for 10 seconds. The wrappers will soften up.

TIP: Good spring roll wrappers are found in Asian markets. These are thin, fry up to a shatteringly thin crispy spring roll. Do not buy spring roll wrappers that you find in regular supermarkets near the produce section (usually refrigerated, next to the tofu). Those “pasta sheets” are way too thick and fry up to a chewy, thick, bubbly, hot mess.

TIP: Keep the spring roll (or egg roll) sheets under barely damp cloth or paper towel. They dry out very easily. If they dry out, they break apart.

See how thin this is? Almost paper thin.

Spring Roll Recipe Wrappers

TIP: For the truly fanatical, there are 2 sides to the spring roll wrapper – but you have to look very very carefully. One side is smoother than the other. The smoother side should be outward facing. It’s really not absolutely necessary to even pay attention to this tip unless you a) want to have the very best looking spring roll and b) have good eyesight because the difference is really minor. The smoother side fries up just a tiny bit nicer looking. It’s purely aesthetics. Something my Mom taught me, so I’m teaching you.

Place wrapper like diamond, as shown, on a clean, dry surface. Place 1 tablespoon of filling near corner. No more than that!

TIP: Less filling, the better. Overstuffed spring rolls break apart in the oil. 1 tablespoon is all you need!

Spring Roll Recipe Filling

Fold over the corner. Roll tight.

Spring Roll Recipe Roll Tight

Fold over left side.

TIP: Leave no space or air pockets. Air pockets = oil seepage = oily egg roll.

Spring Roll Recipe Airtight

Fold over the other side. No air pockets!

Spring Roll Recipe Tight Folds

Here are examples of the WRONG WAY TO WRAP.

Spring Roll Recipe Rolling

WRONG: See the right side of the wrapper, how it’s skewing out? See next picture to see how it rolls.

Spring Roll Recipe Popped Out Corner

WRONG: That right side that skewed out rolls up like this – giant air pocket will let oil seep in, filling fall out.

The right way: Imagine if you were Martha Stewart folding up her bedsheets. Or a clerk at the Gap folding t-shirts. Or the abs of male Olympic swimmer. Nice, tight and even.

Spring Roll Recipe Ready to Seal

Paint a little cornstarch slurry along the edge – just as if you were lickin’ an envelope. But don’t lick it. Finger paint.

Spring Roll Recipe Cornstarch Seals It

Close it up. See how nice and neat the egg roll is wrapped? No holes, no air pockets. Very Martha Stewart.

Spring Roll Recipe Neat and Tidy

Place them seam side down (helps secure the corner so that the corner doesn’t pop out)

Spring Roll Recipe Cover The Rolls

Keep them all covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. They dry out easily.

TIP: Single layer only. If you put them on top of each other (without layer of plastic wrap between them, they will stick together. You can put another layer of spring rolls on TOP of the plastic wrap (but don’t’ forget to cover them too).

TIP: If you want to freeze spring rolls – freeze them just like this. If you don’t have a freezer this big, then line up the spring rolls on a plate, with plastic wrap between each layer. Freeze. Once frozen, gather up all the spring rolls and put them in a freezer safe plastic bag. They have to freeze in a single layer, not touching. Otherwise, they’ll all stick together. Once they are frozen, you can store them however you want.

Spring Roll Recipe Ready for Freezing

When you’re ready to fry, heat up 1 1/2″ of cooking oil (canola, vegetable, rice bran, corn, peanut) to 350F.

TIP: For deep frying, the wider the pot, the more oil you’ll need. But too small of a pot, you’ll only be able to fry a couple of egg rolls at a time. Woks are perfect – the round shape, concave shape means less oil is needed to fill wok.

TIP: Ancient Chinese secret: Stick a wooden chopstick straight down in the oil just like this. If the oil bubbles around the wood, it’s hot enough. If no little bubbles around the chopstick = not hot enough. Mom taught me that. But make sure it’s wood or bamboo chopsticks – plastic ones melt. If you don’t have a wood chopstick, use end of a wooden spatula.

Spring Roll Recipe Check Oil Temperature

Carefully SLIDE the spring rolls in. Inspect each spring roll for corners that have popped open. Fix with more cornstarch slurry if needed.

Spring Roll Recipe Slide Gently

Fry a few at a time.

TIP: Wide deep woks or skillets are good. Because of the shape of the wok, you’ll end up using less oil. Buy a wok. (wink!)

TIP: Don’t over-crowd the sprng rolls in the pan. They won’t cook evenly.

Spring Roll Recipe Leave Room in Wok

Keep turning ‘em to brown evenly. Once they are golden brown, they are done.

Spring Roll Recipe Golden Brown

Place them on a rack to drain.

Spring Roll Recipe Draining Rack

Spring Roll Recipe Closeup

Print

Chinese Chicken Spring Rolls Recipe

Servings: Makes 50 egg rolls Prep Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 30 minutes
chinese-chicken-egg-rolls-recipe-8473.jpg

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine (or white wine)
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 stalk green onion, chopped
1/2 head of small cabbage (about 8 ounces), shredded
2 carrots, thin julienne cut
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
50 spring roll wrappers, defrosted
oil, for deep frying (about 1/2 liter to 1 liter)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, wine, pepper and cornstarch. Add in the chicken and mix well. Let marinate for 10 minutes (or up to overnight in the refrigerator).

2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in just 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil. Stir fry the ground chicken until browned. Remove browned ground chicken from wok to a bowl and set aside.

3. Wipe the wok clean and turn heat to medium. When just starting to get hot, swirl in the remaining cooking oil. Add in the green onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Take care not to burn these aromatics. Add in the carrots and cabbage. Stir well and turn the heat to medium-high. Stir fry the vegetables for 2 minutes, or until the carrots have softened. Add the cooked chicken back into the wok, stir well. Add in the oyster sauce and toss again. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet to let cool. Prop up the baking sheet on one end so that any liquid collects on the other side. When the mixture is cool, discard the liquid.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. This is your slurry. Open the egg roll wrapper package, cover with barely damp towel to prevent drying out.

5. Add 1 tablespoon of filling to egg roll (see photos for instructions) and roll up. Secure with cornstarch slurry. Keep rolled egg rolls covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

6. When ready to fry, heat 1 1/2" of oil in a wok or deep, heavy skillet to 350F (see tip in photos if you don't have thermometer). Carefully slide in the egg rolls, a few at a time, to the oil to fry. Turn the egg rolls occassionally to brown evenly and fry for about 3 minutes. Let cool on rack. Repeat with remaining.

 



134 Responses to “Chinese Spring Rolls with Chicken”

  1. Ashmita Barua — 2/12/13 @ 2:07 pm

    Hi I have tried this recipe at home and have published the same in my blog giving due credit to you..would love it if you pay a visit to my blog…www.ashcooking.blogspot.com

  2. Guy Wells — 2/17/13 @ 4:59 pm

    My daughters an I are going to give this recipe a shot tonight… Wish us luck! I have to stop looking at the pictures though, making me drool!

  3. Ann Bright — 2/21/13 @ 9:22 pm

    These are amazing! I can’t stop eating them!!

  4. Dawn — 2/25/13 @ 5:26 pm

    I’m so confused…
    in the ingredients you say to use spring roll wrappers. However in the directions you say egg roll wrappers. I specifically purchased spring roll wrappers (paper thin dry ones that need to be soaked)
    Im ready to make them and now don’t know if I can fry the spring roll ones…..?
    Help please
    Thanks

  5. SteamyKitchen — 2/25/13 @ 6:05 pm

    Hi there, well the terms are interchangeable sometimes a call eggrolls, sometimes are called spring rolls. Look for frozen egg roll/spring roll wrappers.

    The Vietnamese have a wrapper that sometimes is called spring roll wrapper. However, it is made out of rice and it is not in the frozen section. Usually you can find the Vietnamese wrappers where the dry noodles are. Those can be fried as well, but will need a quick soak in warm water to soften them up.

    • Sandy — 1/5/14 @ 11:03 am

      I need to make these with rice paper wraps as we have a gluten intolerant guest. Are the wrappers you talk about that around found by the dry noodles rice paper and not wheat base?

  6. Fawnet — 3/13/13 @ 7:35 pm

    Thanks for writing this up! You provided me with the exact info that I came looking for:
    “Do not buy spring roll wrappers that you find in regular supermarkets…way too thick and fry up to a chewy, thick, bubbly, hot mess.”
    Oh-h, so THAT’S the problem! And here I was thinking that I had the oil too hot, too cold, too deep, whatever. I’ll go looking for the proper kind of wrappers next time! Thanks again!

  7. Pingback: 25 Snack Ideas for a Flying Picnic | MarocMama

  8. Hassan — 3/18/13 @ 6:56 pm

    Thank you for this write up. But can i make my wrapper with regular wheat flour? The.

  9. Natalie — 3/18/13 @ 7:44 pm

    Thank you so much for such detail! Just wanted to know if I choose to freeze them, can the egg rolls be fried right out of the freezer? Thanks again!

  10. Pingback: Damn the man! | theroadtoserendipity

  11. Tom braak — 4/14/13 @ 9:55 am

    Making these today in the middle of rural Haiti. AS it’s my birthday I’ve been trying to figure out what food I would love the most. This was it. Fortunately I started keeping a well stocked pantry about a year ago. Only change I will have to make is to cook the chicken, then shred it, as no way to grind it. Looks wonderful. Thanks for the detailed directions. I purchased the right kind of wrappers a few days ago in the capitol city (first time I’ve ever purchased them and wasn’t sure how I would use them!).

  12. Pingback: Mushroom spring rolls | Fun Fungi

  13. How would I go about baking these to make them a little healthier.

  14. BAKE and Sew — 5/8/13 @ 6:34 am

    We had these tonight and the best ever. Thank you for explaining how and how to wrap the way you did as now it all makes sense and no more oily spring rolls!

    I will share on my Facebook page!

  15. Louise — 5/11/13 @ 3:13 pm

    Natalie, did you ever find out about how to fry when frozen? Thaw or pop frozen in oil. If the latter, how much time?

  16. Jay — 5/17/13 @ 5:47 pm

    Awesome receipe!I´ve made 3 times these spring rolls in 2 weeks because my Family just love it!(I´m from Hong Kong, my husband and my 2 kids are German) The only difference is that i used pork instead of chicken, but still it just taste great as the traditional spring rolls i remebered as a kid. Thanks Jaden!

  17. Sandy — 5/22/13 @ 4:12 pm

    WOW! Thanks for such detailed instructions… The images help a lot! Always dreaded making those spring rolls… Not anymore ;)

  18. Rumeshka — 6/16/13 @ 10:47 am

    Just made these, soo yummy. Images made it real easy to wrap them right. I did add a little five spice powder because im in love with the taste and fragrance it gives out. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Amy — 6/21/13 @ 8:41 pm

    Tried these tonight with a leftover pork chops instead of chicken – delicious! My first successful egg roll type dish – I never thought about draining the filling & adding the cornstarch. I especially love that the wrappers had “emergency” thawing instructions – that’s my kind if emergency!

  20. Kimberly Virtue Gagnon — 6/29/13 @ 10:40 am

    Can’t wait to try your recipe. I’ve fiddled around with spice combinations and somehow i just can’t get it right. Hopefully yours will work for me.

  21. Pingback: The Last Emperor &an authentic Chinese menu | Film and food

  22. E — 7/1/13 @ 9:25 pm

    Amazing. Simple. I had to use napa cabbage because that’s all I had.

  23. BigGusta — 7/17/13 @ 7:47 am

    Wow really awesome technique , but am unable to find few ingredients , i would like to share my own version :)

    http://healthfoodtrick.thebrios.in/2013/05/chicken-rolls.html

  24. Nasir Moin — 7/19/13 @ 5:21 am

    Thanks dear – Nothing to say – But, Awesome! My dear Taste has come. Thanks a lot. Can you share some more recipes.
    Best Regards

  25. Stefan — 7/20/13 @ 7:53 pm

    What do you use to marinade the ground chicken in?

  26. Brandy — 8/4/13 @ 10:29 pm

    Your recipe & detailed instructions were the best! I’ve been looking and looking and looking for something like this. I just made these tonite – I’ve always been afraid to fry since I don’t have a thermometer thing, but the chopstick trick worked like a charm! I left out oyster sauce since I’m not a fan, and added a little extra soy sauce instead. DELICIOUS! tell your mom thanks from us!

  27. Tony Rose — 8/12/13 @ 1:55 am

    I normally make vegetable spring rolls, so I am going to have to try this one. Great layout by the way, love the shots.

  28. Hina — 8/12/13 @ 7:48 am

    My spring rolls are too much oily….I do not deep fry them I shallow fry them still they are full of oil? Any suggestions….

    • SteamyKitchen — 8/12/13 @ 11:47 am

      Your oil is probably not hot enough. Also, deep frying is actually faster and less oil than shallow fry.

  29. Maureen — 8/25/13 @ 1:58 am

    Have you ever tried FILO sheets instead of spring roll wrappers?

  30. Yan Yan — 9/4/13 @ 8:23 am

    I am going to prep this on Friday afterwork, one type with chicken and one without to cater vegetarian. I wonder would it be ok if i cook the filling on Thursday? this is to save time. Any comments are welcome. Thank you!

  31. Pingback: Why I Hate Cooking : TEFL Bloggers

  32. Gabby — 9/24/13 @ 6:41 pm

    This is great. Once frozen, how do you recommend I prepare? Thaw completely then fry? Or straight from freezer to frying.

    • SteamyKitchen — 9/25/13 @ 9:26 am

      You’ll go directly from freezer to fryer. Just add a couple more minutes of frying time.

  33. Pingback: The Karate Kid film paired with Chinese food by a 9-yr-old | Film and food

  34. Helen Aglazor — 10/1/13 @ 11:45 am

    This is so awesome. I ll try it in no good time. Thanks for d details.

  35. Kate — 10/6/13 @ 3:46 am

    Hi, Thanks for great instructions and pics. I just wondered if you also use glass noodles in the spring rolls?

  36. Karen — 10/8/13 @ 2:13 am

    Years ago, my father was stationed in Taiwan. At my first school room party one of the mothers made the mistake of making spring rolls. I say mistake because they were so delicious that was the only thing we ever wanted her to bring to any of our parties. At the time, I didn’t appreciate the work that went into making them, but I sure did love the way they tasted. This is the first recipe that comes close to the memory I have of those wonderful spring rolls. Thank you for helping me to recreate a tasty childhood memory and for your great website.

  37. Pingback: RECIPE | Spring Rolls | Blush is the New Black

  38. Kat — 10/20/13 @ 11:43 am

    Hi! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I am making mine today and just came back from my local Chinese grocery store to get the wrappers. I hope I didn’t overlook this detail but what size wrappers did you use? They had 6″ and 8″ and I just got both since I wasn’t sure. Thank you.

  39. Cecilia Sherrard — 10/30/13 @ 2:29 am

    These are awesome! Sweet chili sauce and voila. Love this recipe, thanks!

  40. EM WHO — 10/30/13 @ 4:36 pm

    I am trying to pin this recipe for easy find later. I missed the P button, though I did find your pinterest page. Looks like a great recipe and I can’t wait to try it.

  41. eliza bertola — 11/4/13 @ 1:12 am

    These are simply yum yum YUM!!!!! Thank you for the recipe!!!

  42. Marva — 11/9/13 @ 4:24 pm

    which amount of cornstarch do you put in chicken, 1 Tbsp or 1 tsp. Thanks!

  43. Jacey — 11/13/13 @ 2:13 am

    Thank you!! I had so much fun making them and my 2yr old daughter loved it!!!

  44. Jacey — 11/13/13 @ 2:14 am

    Do you happen to know a good pad thai recipe??

  45. John — 11/23/13 @ 7:21 am

    Thank you for making such a detailed recipe for all of us with useful tips and great pictures. Next we will try the roasted duck for Christmas.

  46. John — 11/23/13 @ 12:24 pm

    I didn’t notice mentioning any salt. I did use about 2 teaspoons in the chicken and the veggies, it was Really good, also as I did not have any wraps, I used FILO PASTRY and it was FAaaaaaNTAaaaaSTIC!!!!.

    • SteamyKitchen — 11/23/13 @ 11:29 pm

      Great! Glad you liked it. There’s no salt because the soy sauce provides the sodium

  47. Pingback: Christmas Potluck Food Ideas | The Sweet Spot

  48. Sally — 12/8/13 @ 4:59 pm

    Hi, I would like to make a duck version of these. I have a duck crown, do I roast it first, then shred it, and add to the vegetables. Or cut the duck up and add to the pan raw. I would like to make them ahead and freeze for Christmas, and I haven’t made them before. Looking at your recipe, you’ve explained it really well, and make it look easy,it’s given me confidents to have a go. Thank you.

  49. Sandy — 1/5/14 @ 8:07 pm

    I just tried this recipe with the rice paper wraps and they were terrible! I’ve been making eggrolls for years but need to make a variety that’s gluten free so used the rice wrappers. I put four in the wok and they all stuck together and then developed large sticky bubbles. I fried for a long time and they never turned brown and never thoroughly cooked. I am so disappointed and am not sure where to turn next.

  50. Pingback: How To Throw a Chinese New Year Party that Celebrates Prosperity

Leave a Comment