The Yomiuri ShimbunSpring rolls with shrimp and lotus root
In this column, chefs and cooking experts share recipes that are easy to prepare at home.
Chef Maki Watanabe has taught us how to make spring rolls with shrimp and crushed lotus root.
The combination of crispy skin, plump shrimp and crisp lotus root, infused with the unique flavor of nam pla fish sauce, creates a harmony of taste and texture.
When asked why she recommended this dish, Watanabe answered a bit bashfully.
“Part of the reason I chose it,” she said, “is because I just like spring rolls.”
She said she makes the dish when she wants to pair it with good Japanese sake.
The lotus root is not sliced thinly, but crushed roughly after being cut into 3- to 4-centimeter chunks. The key to this dish is the combination of flaky crushed portions of lotus root with crisp uncrushed portions. The larger pieces should be about 1.5 centimeters in size.
For the shrimp, parboil it then leave it to absorb the residual heat.
“Doing it this way makes them crispy when fried,” Watanabe said.
Add sake to the water to eliminate the shrimp’s smell. After parboiling, soak the shrimp in fish sauce. She used tiger shrimp, but the recipe can be made with any kind.
When making the spring rolls, make sure not to overfill them. The key is to get a light, crispy texture. She used round wrappers, but square ones are also fine. She also added scallions and mitsuba greens to the filling.
“If you like particular flavors, you can use things like celery or cilantro,” she said.
Any kind of oil can be used to fry the spring rolls, but Watanabe used olive oil because she likes the lighter taste.
Since the shrimp are parboiled, the spring rolls are ready as soon as they turn golden brown.
Sprinkle with salt and ground sansho Japanese pepper, and drizzle over some fresh-squeezed sudachi citrus juice before serving.
These spring rolls have a simple flavor, but the lotus root and shrimp give them a rich taste. They are substantial too, and will satisfy any appetite.
Shrimp and lotus root soup
Place 400 milliliters of bonito soup stock, 2 tablespoons sake, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 6 deveined shrimp cut into 1-centimeter pieces into a pot and heat. When the liquid boils, add 120 grams of lotus root that has been crushed with a pestle and boil for 8 minutes. Add an appropriate amount of katakuriko potato starch dissolved in water and turn off the heat once the mixture thickens. Add roughly chopped mitsuba greens and serve.
Recipe for spring rolls with shrimp and crushed lotus root
Ingredients (serves 2):
150 grams lotus root
200 grams headless shrimp
2 tbsp sake
2 tsp nam pla fish sauce
8 spring roll wrappers (round)
6 mitsuba greens
1 tbsp flour
Ground sansho Japanese pepper
1. Peel lotus root and cut into chunks 3 to 4 centimeters in size. Soak in water for about 3 minutes. Put in plastic bag and crush with pestle. Cut scallions and mitsuba into 7 to 8 centimeter lengths.
2. Add sake to about 600 milliliters of water and boil. Devein shrimp and boil for about 90 seconds, then turn off heat and leave for about 5 minutes. Drain shrimp, remove shells after they cool, then cut into 1-centimeter pieces. Soak in fish sauce.
3. Place equal portions of lotus root, shrimp, scallions and mitsuba on spring roll wrappers. Place scallions and mitsuba lengthwise on wrappers. Roll once away from you, fold in left and right sides, then roll rest of way. Seal edge with flour dissolved in water.
4. Add about 1 centimeter of oil to frying pan and heat to about 180 C. Add spring rolls, flipping periodically until they turn golden brown.
5. Remove from pan and slice each roll diagonally. Sprinkle with salt, sansho Japanese pepper and sudachi juice to taste.
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