Lightly Touch Your Heart with Spring Rolls

Way back around fourth century, many battles were fought in China, some of them won and some lost. With that many battles, you’d have to have a whole lot of generals. Is it any wonder, then, that the names of some army commanders got – ummm – lost? That’s what happened to a linguistically talented general who first won whatever battle he had been engaged in (exact information is also lost – are you surprised?) and then decided to express his gratitude to his troops. No, he didn’t award a heap of medals, nor did he give out monetary rewards. He simply ordered residents of the neighboring villages to cook and bake various finger food appetizers – cakes, buns, and such – to be sent to the front line. Gratitude in Chinese is 點點心意diǎn diǎn xīnyì, which was later shortened to 點心 (dim sum) (Wikipedia). This is, of course, a legend, one of many, as the exact origin of the term dim sum, which today means small appetizers, is  – you guessed it! – lost. One thing is certain, though: the ubiquitous spring rolls, popular in many varieties throughout the world, firmly belong in this category.

It may come as another surprise to many of you, Beautiful People, but Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first day of Spring. It is otherwise called The Festival of Lights or Spring Festival. Since the little rolls, either savory or sweet, are among the most popular dim sum sold by street vendors during the festivities, they are also known as spring rolls. As such, they are already mentioned in The Old Book of Tang compiled in 10th century that contains, among its 200 volumes which cover every minute historical detail, 6 volumes on ceremonial matters, such as temple design, sacrifices, and festivals (Twitchett, 2009).

To bring good luck and prosperity in the upcoming year, Lion and Dragon dances are performed. The lion is believed to symbolize power and wisdom, and bring wealth. The dragon, on the other hand, is supposed to scare away evil spirits and bad luck associated with them. In effect, you are neatly covered on all sides with your happy future wrapped in one pretty package, just like the scrumptious filling of spring rolls is wrapped in its shell. In a quote from The Old Book of Tang, the phrase 「治妝未畢, 我未及餐, 爾且可點心」 “Zhì zhuāng wèi bì, wǒ wèi jí cān, ěr qiě kě diǎnxīn” means “I have not finished preparing myself and been ready for a proper meal, therefore you can treat yourself with some small snacks”. In this particular context, however, 點心 (dim sum) literally means “to lightly touch (your) heart” (ibid.).

I invite you, Beautiful People, to experience some of this excitement by mixing shredded cabbage with grated carrots, scallions, peppers, meatless ground beef, ginger and turmeric, marinate all this in soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and wasabi powder, add sesame seeds and yellow mustard seeds, and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then wrap small portions in spring roll wraps and fry or bake. Dip into Hoisin sauce and let it touch your heart with the light of wisdom, happiness, and prosperity!

INGREDIENTS (makes 15 – 16 rolls)

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 3 – 4 chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (alternatively, chili pepper)
  • 1/2 cup meatless ground beef
  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) grated ginger
  • 1/2 inch (1 cm) grated yellow turmeric
  • 3 tblsp soy sauce
  • 3 tblsp sesame oil
  • 3 tblsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • Pinch of wasabi powder, if not using chili peppers
  • 1 package Spring Roll Wraps

For homemade Hoisin sauce:

  • 1 tblsp soy sauce
  • 1 tblsp agave or honey
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) wasabi powder

PROCEDURE

  • Combine all ingredients except Spring Roll Wraps in a bowl, mix thoroughly, put aside for at least 2 hours, mixing occasionally.
  • Prepare small bowls with warm water. Place one spring roll wrap on working surface with one corner facing you. Dip fingers in warm water, lightly wet borders of wrap.
  • Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling on wrap close to you. Start by folding corner closest to you, then fold side corners and roll. Wet top flap again before sealing. Continue.
  • For crisp finish, fry on medium until golden brown on both sides, remove to a plate covered with paper towel to blot out excess oil.
  • For soft finish, place on lightly misted with oil baking sheet, bake on 350 F for 8 minutes, flip, bake for 6 – 8 minutes.
  • Serve hot with Hoisin sauce on the side.
  • To make Hoisin sauce, mix all ingredients.

Enjoy!

About the guest author:

undefined Dolly Aizenman is the brainchild behind Kool Kosher Kitchen (Which her blog and her book are named after).

This charismatic Russian blogger is fond of cooking and writing.

She has a BA in Art and Music Education, MA in English, MS in Education and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

Published by koolkosherkitchen

I am a semi-retired educator. I love to cook and I love to write. I am trying to combine these two for no other purpose but to share some of my old favorite recipes, as well as some new inventions, and to exchange food ideas and opinions. Kosher food is just like any other food - fun to create and fun to experiment with, especially if you get kids involved! My book is found on amazon.com/author/koolkosherkitchen.

46 thoughts on “Lightly Touch Your Heart with Spring Rolls

    1. Wasabi is a kind of horseradish grown in Japan. The root is dried and ground into powder. I describe the entire process, with pictures, in this post https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/amazing-tuna-cakes.
      The reason I use wasabi powder in many recipes is that my husband and I both cannot have chili or any other hot pepper. It is readily available in most supermarkets now, as well as online, but you can just as easily substitute with chili pepper.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful post, I really enjoyed learning. I have passed that recipe to my partner (the cook in the house.. I’m not permitted to do more than boil a kettle for fear of destroying the kitchen). I even think we have all the ingredients too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a good idea to use cabbage, I will have to give it a try, but as of now I am out of spring roll wraps and not sure when my next shopping trip will be, Dolly 😷…
    I wonder how strenuous it is on the arms to make these beautiful dragon moves! Thank you for all the culture you bring us 😻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joelle, I am sure you can use any of your gluten free crepe recipes instead of spring roll wraps. I sometimes use Napa cabbage – it’s more Chinese in my head.
      I have once watched the dragon dance here in Miami during the Chinese Light Festival, and those guys were muscled and toned to the tee.
      Be well and stay safe, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alas, running out of eggs too! I am hoping to be able to buy some at a farm later on today. I am avoiding big stores, haven’t gone out for ten days now. I love Napa cabbage, I actually made one of my favorite Chinese soup recipes yesterday using the last bag of frozen Napa cabbage from my freezer. These days I can’t help but think about Anne Frank whose mandatory confinement was of course much much worse, so I will stop complaining right here and use my brains to come up with substitutes!
        Take care, how are you faring over there in Florida?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your eggs dilemma has reminded me that I have to start getting ready for Passover cooking, and that requires TONS of eggs.
          We are in the highest risk county of all Florida, and they are talking about “sealing off,” i.e. isolating Dade county from the rest of Florida, which means my husband will not be able to work since some of his clients are beyond the boundaries of Dade. I am teaching remotely, trying to bolster my students’ spirits. They are having a hard time, out of work, with kids at home going berserk.
          In terms of food and supplies, store shelves are empty of packaged goods, but since I do not use packaged goods, as long as I can get fruit and veggies – any fruit and veggies – we are fine. Let’s see how my Passover shopping goes, as most Passover stuff comes from New York.
          Be well and stay safe, dear Joelle!
          In terms of food

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Here we can only get them at Chinese restaurants, and they are deep fried in Canola oil, which I am allergic to. I have no choice but to make my own and bake them.
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, dear Carol!

      Like

          1. I would almost certainly say that it was and many of the “spring rolls” are rice pancakes and cooked on a hotplate so soft like the vietnemese ones and they are very nice…I also am fascinated when I watch them make them as they swirl the thin batter and then flip them onto their work station to fill them and quickly roll them it fascinates me how one lady does the whole thing and fast…no oil involved in those ones…

            Liked by 1 person

  3. “For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land” (Song of Solomon 2: 11-12). We will celebrate once more, when this coronavirus crisis has passed. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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