Let’s Cook: Po Pia Tod (Fried Spring Rolls)

Okay, so finally I have an actual cooking story to tell you! I feel like all the rest of the recipes I have tried went off without a hitch and I wasn’t able to give you a fun account of how it all went down … well, fear not my friends! This one was a bit of a doozy.

I’m not saying that to scare you away.

Really, I’m not …

But, this recipe is not the easiest one to accomplish though I think even if you mess up the first few steps, the end result is still pretty good. At least that’s how it was for me!

So the first step of this recipe is to make the inside concoction for the spring rolls. That would consist of garlic, tofu, spring onions, bean sprouts, and glass noodles. There are also a few seasonings thrown in there. You start by cooking up the garlic and oil, then adding the tofu to cook, then seasoning, adding veggies and noodles, a bit of water, and voila! You have your insides …

Things didn’t work that well for me.

I got the first part down … oil and garlic? I’m a pro.

Then I added the tofu, and it just wasn’t cooking right. I waited and waited and waited and it just wasn’t browning like it should. I think my heat wasn’t up high enough … so in the end, by the time my tofu was cooked, I think my garlic was a little crispy. Oh well, such is life.

Then you are supposed to add water and seasonings, also an easy step for most people. Well, remember I just said that I think my heat wasn’t up high enough? Well, toward the end I had turned it up to finish the tofu and didn’t turn it back down. The result? Adding water and causing a large billow of steam and probably oil that, if I wasn’t cooking outside, may have caused some issues in the house. Oops 🙂

I then added the veggies, which was all easy peasy, but they I didn’t quite know how to tell when they were done. Are the sprouts supposed to be really soft? What are the noodles supposed to look like? How do you tell if spring onions are finished? I guessed and took them off the stove after about a minute and a half.

So, step one, Complete!

The next step is to wrap the spring rolls. Oye. You need some skill for this.

Quick note, I cut my spring roll wrappers into quarters to make smaller rolls. This was mainly because the big package didn’t fit in my freezer, but also because this is how it was done in the cooking class. I wanted to follow directions as strictly as possible this first time around!

To wrap the spring rolls, you are supposed to lay a wrapper on the table with a point facing you, place a tablespoon of insides on it, roll over twice, put egg on the three remaining corners, fold the sides in, and finish wrapping. It sounds fairly simple … until you have too much or two little of the insides … or too much of the sauce from cooking the insides so it gets soggy … or not enough egg to make it stick … or so many other things.

Let’s just say, mine were U-G-L-Y.

Then you are supposed to drop them in the oil that you have been heating this whole time. Oops, forgot that until about halfway through, so by the time I finished, my oil still wasn’t hot enough. I’m impatient. I started anyway. I put one in as a tester just to see if it would work. I waited forever for that thing to be done! So much for avoiding a wait.

When that one finished, I took it out and put in all the rest. They all made it successfully into the oil, except the last one which I hurriedly dropped and splashed oil onto my favorite fisherman pants. Grrr. Not a happy camper.

Long story short, they cooked, and voila … spring rolls!

They didn’t look quite as good as they probably could have, but boy did they taste good! Paired with a sweet chili sauce, they are delish!!!

Needless to say, this was a bit of a cooking adventure, but the end result was still quite tasty. I urge you to give it a try!

And, I apologize. Given the craziness of this cooking attempt, I was unable to get pictures during the process. I was too scared of dropping my camera into the oil!

Next time, I promise .

So, here we go with the recipe!

Fried Spring Rolls

  • Servings: 4 large or 10 small rolls
  • Difficulty: intermediate

Ingredients:

Po Pia Tod from my Thailand kitchen

Po Pia Tod from my Thailand kitchen

  • 30g (1 ounce) glass noodles, soaked and cut into 6cm lengths
  • 30g (1 ounce) tofu, minced
  • 20g (~1 ounce) Chinese chives, cut into 3cm lengths
  • 20g (~1 ounce) bean sprouts
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP palm oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 TBSP oyster sauce (mushroom sauce)
  • 1/2 TBSP fish sauce (soy sauce)
  • .5 – 1 tsp palm sugar (white or brown)
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 4 pieces spring roll wrappers (10-12 for small spring rolls)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • lots of oil (see notes)
  • Serve with sweet chili sauce

Notes:

  • Oil: In order to cook the spring rolls, you need a wok full of oil. The amount of oil varies depending on the wok. You want to make sure that when you put the spring rolls in, they do not touch the bottom of the pan. A good rule of thumb is to fill the wok about 3-4 inches deep with oil.
  • Spring Roll Wrappers: You can find these in the freezer section. I bet most grocery stores have them but Asian markets surely will.

Preparation: As with many other recipes, this one (especially the filling) can move really fast. Make sure you have your ingredients prepped and ready for each step. It helps to separate the ingredients into sections so you can grab and go as needed!

Plate One: Garlic and tofu are the first main step of the process. Put them on a plate together.

Tabletop: Place all your seasonings together so they are easy to find. Sometimes it might be helpful to measure them out and have them ready before hand.

Plate Two: Noodles and vegetables all go in together so they can go on a place together.

Tabletop: Wrappers and a beaten egg. This is what you will need for making the rolls. Don’t prep the wrappers too far in advance because they will dry out! Make the filling first, then pull out the wrappers and set up for this process.

Method:

Making the Filling

  1. Put oil and garlic in a pan, fry garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add minced tofu, stirring until cooked
    Note: You will know the tofu is cooked when it turns a golden brown or the pieces stick together a little bit.
  3. Add water and season with oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Mix well.
    Note: Be sure your heat isn’t too high at this point or the water will steam away immediately!
  4. Add the vegetables and glass noodles. Stir until everything is done, about one minute.
  5. Remove from heat and drain excess liquid.
    Note: Draining is important! If there is too much liquid in the mixture it could cause the wrappers to get soggy and break prior to putting in the oil.
  6. Prepare the pan with oil and begin heating over medium heat.

Wrapping the Spring Rolls

  1. Prepare 4 pieces of spring roll wrapping or 10-12 for smaller rolls.
  2. Beat one egg and keep off to the side.
  3. Place one spring roll wrapper in front of you with the point facing you.
  4. Place 1 TBSP of the filling onto the wrapper.
  5. Fold the tip closest to you over the filling about two thirds of the way up. Press it down against the top part of the wrapper and pull toward you to secure the filling inside.
  6. Fold filling part of wrapper up towards top once.
  7. Dab the three remaining corners with egg.
  8. Fold in the left and right corners tightly.
  9. Fold up the spring roll to secure the final corner.
  10. Deep fry in plenty of oil over medium heat until golden brown.
  11. Remove and place on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Final Thoughts

  • Don’t worry how they look! They will still taste good!
  • Wrapping is the hardest part. I do not have pictures, but you may be able to find some online in case these directions are confusing!

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Categories: Recipe

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2 Comments on “Let’s Cook: Po Pia Tod (Fried Spring Rolls)”

  1. September 9, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    ummmm they look amazing.

    • kylenemichele
      September 9, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      They definitely were! Not proud of myself but I ate them all. Oops! I was going to give some to my neighbors but they were just too good! Next time, next time…

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