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Author Notes: A popular national chain store sells a version of these and I set out to make a superior version. Hope you agree that they are! The chicken is cooked with a piquant aromatic lemongrass paste and coconut milk, which makes for a very moist filling, complemented by the freshness of the slivered allium greens and the sweet crunch of the coconut and taro.There's so much flavor, you won't even be thinking about a dipping sauce! - LE BEC FIN
Makes 7-8 spring rolls
Allium Lemongrass Paste 3/4 cup*
- Puree lemongrass through salt:
- 1 large stalk lemongrass, edible part, sliced thinly
- 1 piece Fresh Ginger 2x1" piece, peeled and minced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
- 3 spring onion bulbs or shallots, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon dried Red Chili flakes(no seeds)or 1 seeded dry red chile, chopped
- 3 medium Jalapeno Peppers, seeded chopped
- 3 Cilantro Stems(leaves and stems), 8“long, washed, dried and chopped
- ½ -1 tablespoons kosher Salt
- 1/8 cup Canola Oil
Spring Roll Filling Preparation and Assembly
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut, carefully dry pan-roasted to medium brown
- 2-3 spring onion or scallion green tops, sliced lengthwise into quarters, 4" long
- 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
- 7 ounces chicken breast, boneless, skinless, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Allium lemongrass paste from above
- 1/8 cup thick coconut milk (Chaukoh is excellent - see photo)
- 1 tablespoon bacon or duck fat
- 7 ounces optional- purple taro, peeled and cut into 1/16" x 3" long julienne
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- 4 scallion tops, green stems halved and cut into 6" lengths, steamed a few minutes til limp
- 7-8 spring roll wrappers, 8" square
- canola oil for deep frying
- In hot canola oil, stir fry chicken one minute, add lemongrass paste and continue stirring a few minutes just until firm. Transfer to bowl, add coconut milk and stir well. Cool and pulse briefly 2-3 times in processor. You do not want a pureed paste. You want pieces a little bigger than ground chicken. Place in bowl on counter, next to bowl of coconut and sliced scallion tops.
- Optional- Wipe out pan, heat fat til hot, add taro and stir fry a minute, add water and top with lid, turning down heat, til taro is tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl and place next to bowl of coconut.
- Just before assembly, combine coconut with chicken.Keeping package of spring roll wrappers covered with a damp towel, lay two spring rolls, point down, like diamonds, on the counter. Form 1 ounce of chicken mixture into a 4" long cigar shape and place horizontally, just south of the middle of the diamond.Place a scallion slice on either long side of the chicken. Place the optional taro on top of the chicken.
- Fold up the botton point and tuck it tightly over and under the chicken. Fold in the left and right points and continue rolling the diamond til you have a tight roll. Set aside under a well dampened cloth.
- In canola oil, deep fry the rolls at 375 degrees F until light brown. Do not crowd the pan. Drain on doubled paper towels over newspaper. For special presentation, tie a steamed scallion piece into a double knot around the middle of each roll before serving.
- Note: I designed these so that the filling flavor is robust enough to not need a dipping sauce.
- Note: I keep wrapped lemongrass, ginger root and jalapenos in the freezer. Surprisingly, they last forever without losing their potency.
- Note: Purple taro, found in Asian and SouthEast Asian stores (and often Latin) tastes like a sweet nutty potato. I like the flavor and texture the taro julienne adds to these rolls, but it is optional. Though completely different, you could instead add chopped roasted cashews to the filling.
- *Note: This paste freezes very well. Because of the oil, it freezes soft and a small amount can be removed frozen as needed. Thus, it makes for a handy instant poultry or meat marinade and coating for roasting or grilling.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Alliums