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Spring Rolls
Spring rolls are fried pastries from the south of China, with those from Shanghai and Guangdong being the best known.The name is intrinsically linked to the Spring Festival. In the past, the Chinese had the custom of having “spring pancakes” to mark the end of winter. These “spring pancakes” are actually rolled pancakes with different fillings.
By the Yuan Dynasty, fried spring pancakes, an early from of spring rolls, had appeared. Spring rolls are common in south China and can be found not only during the Spring Festival, but also in restaurants at any time of the year. Many people also make spring rolls at home.
Spring rolls are relatively easy to make. Mix flour with a small amount of water and knead into a very soft paste. Spread out the paste to make round and paper-thin sheets on a heated griddle. Cool these sheets, add a filling, and then wrap them into long rolls. Deep-fry the rolls until golden. In cities, spring rolls sheets can be bought in stores, making the job easier.
The filling can be either sweet or savory depending on your preference. For a sweet filling, sweetened bean paste is a good choice. For a savory one, Chinese cabbage and shredded pork is particularly popular, while shredded bamboo shoots and edible fungus can be added for good measure.
The filling should be thickened with cornstarch and left to cool before use, as hot fillings tend to break the outer casing. The skins of perfect spring rolls should be crispy, and the filling tender.
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