Chinese Spring Rolls

     Ready for some traditional Chinese food?  Then spring rolls are the way to go!  Spring Rolls provide the mouth with an explosion of taste and are also quite nutritional.  They consist of a meat and vegetable filling wrapped in a crispy dough sheet. 

     Spring Rolls originated from China during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, but they were most popular during the Tang and Song Dynasties.  This dish was originally eaten by royalty at the beginning of the Chinese New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival (which explains the name “Spring Roll”).  Chinese people believed that by eating this dish at the beginning of the New Year, they warded off any evil spirits or troubles.  This tradition continues to this day, and people have also said that the gold color of the spring rolls represent wealth and prosperity for the following year. 

     There are many variations to the spring roll, but the recipe below is one of the more basic types. 

What you’ll need:

(Serving for 8)

200g of minced pork

150g of cabbage

100g of chive

100g of carrots

100g of beansprouts

50g of vermicelli

1 tbsp of oyster sauce

1 pack of spring roll paper/dough sheets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make your very own Spring Rolls:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcxwpcoUUKE

Spring Rolls Instructions:

1)       Soak the vermicelli in warm water for 10 minutes

2)       Add oil into a frying pan

3)      Stir fry the minced pork

4)      Add the vegetables (cabbage, chive, beansprouts, carrots)  into the frying pan once the minced pork has been cooked

5)      Add oyster sauce into the frying pan

6)      Drain the vermicelli using a strainer

7)      Add the vermicelli to the frying pan

8)      Stir fry everything together (becomes the filling)

9)      Let the filling cool down

10)   Place the filling onto one corner of the spring roll paper/dough sheets

11)   Roll up the filling halfway, then fold the sides of the paper/dough sheet in

12)   Roll up the rest of the paper/dough sheet

13)   Deep fry the spring rolls until golden brown

Greek Baklava

     Craving some cinnamon?  Try some Baklava!  It’s a scrumptious pastry filled with loads of cinnamon and lots of nuts.  It might not look all that appetizing, but trust me, it’s heaven. 

     Now, for some history.  No one really knows where exactly the Baklava originated, but it’s said to have come from the Assyrians (somewhere about 8 B.C.E.).  The Baklava was originally a dish served exclusively to the wealthy, but later became more widespread.  There are many different variations on the Baklava, but the Greek Baklava is one of the more famous variations. 

     The Baklava was first introduced to the Greeks when Greek merchants visitedMesopotamia.  The important contribution they made to the Baklava was their use of phyllo dough as opposed to the thicker dough used by the Assyrians. 

Now, you probably want to move on to the recipe.  So, without any further ado, here you go:

(Serving for 6)

100g of unsalted pistachio nuts

150g of walnuts

375g of phyllo dough

100g of white sugar

1 tbsp of ground cinnamon

2 tbsp of melted butter

For the syrup:

You can use whatever kind of syrup you’d like (I suggest corn syrup or cooking syrup for a quick fix), but this is one recipe you can use. 

375g of sugar

1/2L of water

1 tsp of lemon juice

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a video showing how to make Greek Baklava:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Us4OzU0uoI

Baklava Instructions:

1)      Crack open all the nuts (if not done already)

2)      Place the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes

3)      Chop the nuts into small pieces (in this case I just used a blender)

4)      Mix the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar in a mixing bowl

5)      Cut the phyllo dough into 6 pieces and roll them out into 3mm sheets

6)      Brush the bottom of a pan with melted butter

7)      Place three layers of phyllo dough sheets onto the pan (including a layer of melted butter between each of the sheets)

8)      Pour the nut mixture on top of the phyllo dough sheets

9)      Top it off with three more layers of phyllo dough sheets (again, including a layer of melted butter between the sheets)

10)   Cut a diamond pattern into the top surface of the phyllo dough

11)   Place the pan into the oven and bake it at 300 F for 1 hour (or until the top of the pastry is golden-brown)

Syrup Instructions:

1)      Pour the sugar, water, and lemon juice into a saucepan

2)      Boil the mixture at medium heat until it reaches a syrupy texture

3)      Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes

4)      Pour the syrup over the Baklava