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 scallion 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
7-8 spring rolls
Lemongrass Scallion 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
Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
scallions or shallots, sliced thin
dried Red Chili flakes(no seeds)or 1 seeded dry red chile, chopped
medium Jalapeno Peppers, seeded chopped
Cilantro Stems(leaves and stems), 8“long, washed, dried and chopped
tablespoons kosher Salt
cup Canola Oil
Spring Roll Filling Preparation and Assembly
sweetened coconut, carefully dry pan-roasted to medium brown
scallion green tops, sliced lengthwise into quarters, 4" long
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 the bowls of coconut and sliced scallion tops.
Optional taro- 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 (so coconut stays crunchy.) Keeping package of spring roll wrappers covered with a damp towel,separately lay out two spring rolls 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.
I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom.
I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??!
While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines.
Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!)
I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me.
I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.