Thursday, April 9, 2015

Garlic Chicken Spring roll

Hello, everyone!  Happy Thursday!  Today, we're going to make some really lovely, fresh spring rolls!  These little lovelies have raw veggies, chicken, and noodles!  Finish it off with a nice salty dipping sauce, you have a real winning combination!
The best part of this is that you can really customize it.  Don't like chicken?  Swap it out for beef, or shrimp.  Don't like carrots?  Swap 'em out for some bell pepper, or maybe cucumber!  
I have loved the idea of spring rolls for a long time, but never ordered them while out, because I had a very strong suspicion that there was some form of onion in them, and, as we all know by now, I don't do onions.
It really is a hard thing to go through, because onions are everywhere in restaurants.  Can't order soups, wraps, even something as delicious and tempting as lasagna is unsafe for those of us that hate onions. 
My dislike for onions was one of the main reasons I started cooking.  If I can't eat out, I may as well eat as well as I can at home!  I usually find something innocent on the menu, where I don't have to ask the waiter/waitress, "Um.....can I get this without onions?", because I feel like such a child asking.
It's never a problem (unless they're cooked into the sauce; I don't even try if that's the case), but I dislike even asking.
Aaannnyywwaayyy I got off on a bit of a tangent here, but it is fun to try to make these foods at home!  And, you'll usually find that they're pretty easy to make!  These spring rolls are no different, although I do need to practice wrapping mine tighter, but my husband assured me that they tasted like the spring rolls he orders at restaurants!  
Here's your grocery list for this one:
2 - 3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
2 Tbs vegetable oil
6 Tbs soy sauce, divided
4 tsp toasted sesame seed oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
rice paper sheets
Cooked vermicelli noodles
2 carrots, thinly sliced
Roughly 2 cups of spinach
1 - 2 tsp brown sugar
2 Tbs lime juice

This is going to go pretty quickly, so lets get started! To start off with, chop up your garlic, and set it aside for a second.  In a large, gallon top zip top bag, put 4 Tbs of soy sauce, 2 tsp of toasted sesame oil, and all of the garlic in.  I like to close the zip top bag, and shake everything around, to make sure it is well mixed together.

Next, slice your chicken, vertically, into very thin strips.  Not only will this make for easier layering in the spring roll, but it will marinate and cook quickly, too!  Once all of your chicken is cut up, add it to the marinade in the zip top bag, and let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.  You don't want this to go too long, because the soy sauce is very strong, and it will quickly overpower the chicken! 

I like to squeeze all of the air out of the zip top bag, so that all of the chicken is touching the marinade, the entire time.  No need to toss the bag around, or flip it, or even worry about it.  Just squeeze all of the air out, and put it in the fridge.  
If you're not used to making thin cuts of carrots, it can be a little bit tricky.  I like to cut a small amount off of the bottom, making a flat surface.  This way, my carrot doesn't slip and slide all over the board while I'm trying to cut it.  You have to protect those fingers! 
Once you have a flat surface, cut the carrot into flat sticks, and then thin stripes from there.


Once you have all of your carrots sliced up, preheat your skillet with the vegetable oil, and put your drained (and patted dry!) chicken once your pan has preheated (over medium high heat).  Don't touch your chicken for a couple of minutes, to let the chicken caramelize, and get lovely golden brown.  You may have to do this in a few batches, you don't want to over crowd the pan, and end up steaming the chicken! 
While your chicken is cooking, lets put together the dipping sauce.  Start off with 1 tsp of brown sugar, and the remaining 2 Tbs of soy sauce into a small bowl, along with 2 Tbs of lime juice.  Mix it all together, and give it a taste.  If you want more sweetness, add in some more brown sugar, if you want it to be a little more acidic, add in more lime juice!  Make it how you want it! 

Now that your chicken is all cooked (and looks amazing!  Yum!  I was so tempted to just sit down with this plate of chicken, and eat that for supper.  However, I knew that probably wasn't going to be the best supper.  Probably...)
So, get all of your fillings together, and line them up, so that everything is within arms reach! 
A quick note about the vermicelli noodles:  they just cook for about 2 minutes in boiling water, then drain them off!  I only used about 1 C of the noodles, maybe 1/4 of the package, and that was plenty for these spring rolls. 
Also, if you've never worked with rice paper wrappers before, they are very stiff and fragile just out of the package, but dip them in a dish of warm water (I used a cake pan) for about 10 seconds, and they become clear and very, very pliable.  I thought I took a picture of a wrap in the cake pan, but.....apparently, I did not.  Sorry.
You can see a before and after here, though.  Before I dip the wrapper in water, you can see the markings on the wrapper, and after it has been dipped, it is transparent, and, like I said, very pliable.  It is best to lay the wet wrapper on a clean kitchen towel, otherwise it may stick to your counter top, and that would make your rolling pretty difficult.  

 So, lets get started filling these babies up!  Layer down some of the cooked noodles, chicken, carrots and spinach, one on top of the other.

We're almost finished!  Now, carefully take the far end of the wrapper, and gently but firmly pull it up and over your fillings.  Once you have the filling covered, fold in the outside edges, like a burrito, and finish rolling up the spring roll over itself. There you have it!  They look so impressive, and are pretty easy to make.  The chicken is full of flavor, and the raw veggies really add a nice crunch and texture to the rolls!  I can't wait to make these with some shrimp!