Spring Rolls and the Unnamed Potato Balls

Two recipes for you today. One intentional, one accidental. I think adulthood is a little bit about muddling through and making the best out of certain situations, and I guess the potato balls act as a foody metaphor. I don’t know, I thought they were yummy.

SPRING ROLLS

The following recipe is a bit of a Japanese take on a Chinese classic. Mum and I also added coriander, so call it fusion if you like. Much to my mother’s frustration, I despise following instructions, so as usual, I won’t be providing measurements – it’s up to you and your mouth to decide how much of each ingredient to add.

In a large bowl, we put:

  • Grated carrot
  • Finely chopped spring onion
  • Coriander
  • Finely diced mushrooms

In a large wok/pan, heat up some oil, and add minced meat of your choice. I think pork is traditional, but we used quorn. Add the chopped vegetables, as well as some beansprouts. The stringy texture is actually quite vital, though I’ve seen variations that use glass noodles before, if you’re not a fan. Cook until all your ingredients are cooked. For the sauce, we used:

  • Chinese black vinegar (normal or sweet or a bit of both if you like to live dangerously).
  • A small amount of stock powder, chicken or pork is best
  • White pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt

In a small bowl, combine a tablespoon of cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot (any thickener), with enough cold water to make a runny paste. Take the pan off the heat, add the thickener, stir it in, and set aside to cool.

Once cool, lay out an Asian pastry sheet, with the bottom point facing you. Place one tablespoon of the mixture 3/4 of the way down, in a thick sausage shape. Roll upwards until you’re halfway, fold in each of the sides, then carry on. Dip your finger in water, and wipe it on the tip of the sheet, so the roll sticks to it and holds it’s shape.

Repeat.

Once you have used up all the mixture, it’s time to start frying. (Note, these spring rolls can be frozen before they are deep fried, so don’t worry if you’ve made to many). Heat 1/3 to 1/2 a pan of oil up for about 5 minutes. Test the temperature by dropping a small bit of food in, it should start bubbling immediately, but shouldn’t be so hot that it starts smoking! Each spring roll should take around 3-5 minutes to cook, so long as the pot isn’t overcrowded. Once they are golden brown, they are ready to take out, dry on some kitchen roll, and enjoy.

 

POTATO BALLS

My partner and I volunteer once a week at a cafe where waste food from supermarkets is used to feed hoards of hungry students. One of the joys of this is that the chefs are given free reign, the opportunities for creativity are endless!

One day last month, we were a little late to the kitchen, so ended up getting last pick. Because of this, we were handed a huge crate of potatoes, and a box of sprouts.

So we mashed, and we chopped, and we boiled and we fried. The first attempt was fairly disastrous, with the potato disintegrating. So we tried again, this time, mixing flour into the potato mixture, before deep frying it.

 

It’s a pretty nifty snack if you’ve only got potatoes in, and are bored of chips!

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