Serving the traditional salted egg and tomato salad as a spring roll was an idea I learned from my friend, Sol, and her husband, Deo. They went even farther, in fact, by adding flaked tinapang bangus so that every bite of the spring roll was like eating a beloved Filipino breakfast sans rice. Genius, in my opinion.
These spring rolls were inspired by Sol’s and Deo’s creation. My vegetarian daughter, Sam, will not touch spring rolls with tinapang bangus so I substituted chopped mushrooms. But because mushrooms are bland, I added more salt to approximate the saltiness of the omitted tinapang bangus. For the same reason, I used a bolder combination of herbs and spices — basil, mint and oregano, and chopped onion.
Click here for the recipe; just remember to use mushrooms, to add chopped onion and a bit of salt, and to change the mix of fresh herbs. There is no right or wrong proportion of ingredients. Use more or less of each depending on what pleases you.
What kind of mushrooms? I used shiitake but oyster mushrooms will do as well. In fact, even Swiss brown mushrooms are good for this recipe.
Use two tablespoons of filling for each spring roll. Click here for a step-by-step guide on wrapping spring rolls.
Fry the spring rolls in batches making sure there is enough oil in the pan. This is deep frying so merely coating the bottom of the pan with oil just won’t do. Make sure too that that the oil is hot enough before you fry the first batch. For an even better understanding, see Pan frying, shallow frying and deep frying: what’s the difference?
Why fry in batches? So that the temperature of the oil does not drop. If the temperature drops, the cooking time will be longer and the spring rolls will be more oily. In fact, if the temperature drops too much, the oil will get into the filling before the wrappers turn crisp. The trick to frying spring rolls is to do it fast so that the wrappers turn golden and crisp before the oil gets a chance to pierce through it. The filling is not meant to fry — it is meant to cook in the steam created by the heat inside the wrapper.
Do these spring rolls require a dipping sauce? Not at all. But if a dipping sauce completes your spring roll experience, I suggest something light. Try a mild vinegar spiked with whole chilies, julienned ginger, a few smashed cloves of garlic, a bit of chopped shallots and a little patis (fish sauce).