Friday, May 20, 2011

Pork Spring Rolls with Chili-Hoisin Sauce and Spicy Cucumbers

Here I have a couple of Chinese-inspired recipes for you. The first is a spring roll stuffed with pork and cabbage and served with a chili-hoisin dipping sauce. The second is my answer to an overwhelming number of cucumbers thanks to my organic produce deliveries the past few weeks. I do love cucumbers, but I swear if I see one more slice in a salad I'm going to go on a mad rampage.

Or not. I mean, cucumbers are pretty tasty.

Anyway, the spicy cucumbers get a near-pickled treatment from being sautéed in the tamari "brine." I like to eat them on their own, but they would also be a nice change of pace as a salad topping.

The spring rolls are fairly traditional, save for not being deep fried. Obviously if you prefer the crunchy wrapper to the fresh, you can fry them. For the vegetarians out there, soy crumbles can be used instead of the pork with similar results. For an even more authentic flavor, add 1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro to the cabbage mixture when preparing the spring rolls. I skipped it, since the oldest spawn can't stand it.

Pork Spring Rolls with Chili-Hoisin Sauce

1/4 c hoisin sauce
1/4 c tamari
2 tbs garlic-chili sauce
1 tbs honey
1/4 c water
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
4 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs peanut oil
1 lb ground pork
1 1/2" piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
12 rice paper wrappers

Whisk together the hoisin, tamari, garlic-chili sauce, honey, and water in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage and green onion. Set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Brown the pork until no pink remains. Add the ginger and sauté for one minute. Pour about half the chili-hoisin sauce over the pork and sauté another three to five minutes, or until most the moisture has evaporated out. Transfer the pork to the bowl with the cabbage and toss to combine.

Soak the spring roll wrappers according to package directions. One at a time, lay a soaked spring roll wrapper on a flat surface and arrange one-half cup of the pork filling on the rice paper, about two inches from the edge closest to you. Roll the wrapper tightly around the filling, tucking the ends on the left and right toward the center as you go. Repeat until each wrapper has been filled.
Serve the rolls with remaining chili-hoisin sauce for dipping.

Spicy Cucumbers

1 tbs tamari
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tbs peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2" piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
2 tsp garlic-chili sauce
2 cucumbers, halved, seeded, and sliced into 1" pieces

Whisk together tamari, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the peanut oil over med-high heat. Sauté garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds, then quickly whisk in the garlic-chili sauce. Add the cucumbers, tossing to coat, and sauté for three minutes. Add tamari mixture sauté another 3-5 minutes, or until cucumbers just start to soften. Remove from heat. Can be served immediately, at room temperature, or after chilling in the fridge (the latter is my favorite!).


  1. This dish looks really good. In China it would not be made with Cucumber, but with Sea Cucumber. You can imagine it would be vastly different. One it would change the taste. Sea cucumber has a unique flavor, not fishy, but strong enough still. It also has a very different texture. It reminds me of mushroom but more firm, definitely fleshy. One time in Shanghai I made the mistake of thinking it was Cucumber- it looked EXACTLY like your picture. I popped the entire thing in my mouth. Being the good American traveler I managed to work it down, and learned to cut them into smaller bites.

    This dish looks good, I bet the cucumber ads a sweetness to it. Another oddity there is that anise or clove are in everything- not my favorite, but if you like either you should try tossing small amounts in to see its effect.

  2. Here is a picture: Fried Sea Cucumber with shrimp balls