Spring is never long-lived in Beijing. Before you’ve had time to listen to the birds sing, appreciate fresh blossoms, and savor seasonal bites like xiangchun and river shrimp, it is time to bring out the summer clothes in your wardrobe.
Celebrate the short-lived spring by making your own spring rolls at home. Popular in Asian restaurants, spring rolls vary by wrapper, fillings, and cooking techniques. Here are some recipes to inspire you to create your own; they make a great starter, school lunch, or after-school snack.
Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls
If not otherwise specified, spring rolls usually refer to Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls in most restaurants. Traditional Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls should have ingredients wrapped in banh trang (moistened rice paper), before being fried. However, when the rolls were introduced to other countries where rice paper was not conveniently available, Chinese-style wheat paper was used as an alternative. Here is a recipe from epicurious.com.
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
For a healthier and more refreshing take, try fresh spring rolls. Some like them with shrimp, some with pork, and some vegetarian; you can create your own mix, for example, with salmon or crunchy apple. Check out a classic shrimp version from allrecipes.com.
Duck Confit Fried Spring Rolls Recipe
Living in the capital and can’t get enough of our duck? Chow.com shows you how to make a roasted duck crispy spring roll appetizer.
Chinese Spring Rolls
Want to learn how to make the authentic soft and moist Chinese pancakes that Beijing restaurants serve with roasted duck? Here’s a video to show you how to make your own Chinese style spring roll wrapper.
If you’re in too much of a hurry to make pancakes or wrap rice paper, try using green leaves – a lighter and healthier alternative. And with so many corner grocers in Beijing, you shouldn’t have the least difficulty buying cabbage or other leafy greens here.
When produce is available year-round at Beijing’s farms and greenhouses, it’s easy to forget that each fruit and vegetable has its own sowing and harvesting cycle. Eating seasonally not only ensures the best-quality produce, it also helps maintain our body’s yin and yang balance, according to TCM. The Seasonal Eats series on beijingkids introduces foods best eaten this month.