I’m really excited to share this recipe Chicken Spring Rolls with you. It’s easy, delicious, and perfect if you are looking for a light snack or appetizer to enjoy during beautiful spring and summer weather. With plentiful of vegetable ingredients, these spring rolls tastes fresh and crisp as you bite into them. The sesame sauce that goes along with the spring rolls is my favorite part of this recipe. So delectable!
Simple Chicken Spring Rolls
This recipe was actually a deconstructed version of my Bang Bang Chicken (Bang Bang Ji) recipe. It’s a Sichuan dish made with poached chicken that are shredded into small pieces and then poured with spicy sauce made with sesame paste and rice vinegar. It’s usually eaten with julienned cucumber, chopped scallions, sesame seeds, chilies, etc.
Well, just to clarify, my Bang Bang Chicken (棒棒鶏, バンバンジー) recipe is Japanese interpretation of the Chinese dish. The Japanese Bang Bang Ji is not spicy at all like traditional Bang Bang Ji. I put a little bit of La-Yu (Japanese chili oil) in the sauce but my children who do not eat spicy food still enjoyed it.
Just like how traditional Bang Bang Ji preps its chicken, I poach the chicken in boiling water and cook it through on low heat. While waiting for the chicken, you can chop other ingredients for the spring roll. The ingredients for this recipe are pretty simple and available everywhere so I don’t think you will need any other substitutes. However, you’re free to substitute my ingredients with your favorite veggies, herbs, or protein (instead of chicken, tofu, for example).
If you plan to serve this dish for a party and need to make it ahead of time, it’s very important that you pick the right brand of rice paper. I’ve tried several brands and this Three Ladies Brand works THE BEST. The rice paper doesn’t become hard after several hours, and the rolls can be easily separated without breaking even when they are touching with each other.
Rolling Chicken Spring Rolls
If you haven’t used rice paper before, the wrapping part might be a bit intimidating. However, unlike Harumaki (Japanese egg rolls), you don’t have to deep fry them, so don’t worry too much about tearing or shaping them perfectly. Some people are good at making it neatly even at their first attempt (definitely not me), but this kind of cooking skill just requires several practice runs to make it look pretty. After wrapping 20 rolls, trust me, your will get hang of it and your spring rolls will look awesome! Just take your time, and remember to “tuck in tightly” so the shape will look nice after you cut in half or thirds.
Now if you are very health conscious, the amount of sugar (3 Tbsp sugar) that goes into the sauce might raise your eyebrow. Yes, it definitely doesn’t sound too healthy, does it? I did test this recipe with less sugar, trying to make this dish “healthier” but the result just wasn’t the same. I still like the original sauce recipe and decided to keep it the way it was. So please adjust the amount of sugar as you like. Or dip just a little bit like I do. Remember, you’re not eating the sauce, and the sauce is there to enhance the flavor of fresh ingredients you’re eating. 😉
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- ½ lb. (227 g) boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. sake (optional; See Note 1)
- 2 green onions/scallions
- 1” (2.5 cm) ginger
- 1 carrot
- 2 Persian/Japanese cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
- 5 butter lettuce leaves
- Mint leaves
- 10-12 rice paper wrappers
- For the sauce, grind 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds in your mortar and pestle. Transfer the ground sesame seeds into a small bowl. Then grate the ½” ginger and 1-2 garlic cloves (I used Micropane grater).
- Add 3 Tbsp. sugar, 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 2 tsp. sesame oil, and 1 tsp. la-yu in the bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Chop the scallions into 3 pieces. Slice 1” ginger into thin slices.
- Butterfly the chicken breast (See Note 2). First remove the tender (small inner fillet) by cutting away any connective tissue. Turn the breast over and with the edge of a knife parallel to the cutting board, cut the length of the side of the breast. Carefully slice the breast in half widthwise almost to the other edge. Keep the edge intact and open the breast along the fold.
- In a large pot, add water, 1 tsp. salt and 2 Tbsp. sake that is enough to cover the chicken. Put sliced ginger and scallions and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, put the chicken (breast and tender) in the pot, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and cover the lid. Cook the chicken for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, juliene carrot and cucumber. I use a juliene slicer but if you don’t have one, cut into thin sheets first and then cut into matchstick size strips.
- Take out the chicken from the pot onto a plate and immediately cover with the plastic wrap to prevent from drying. Once the chicken has cooled, shred the chicken into small pices with your hands.
- Rinse the butter lettuce, mint, and cilantro under water and dry completely. Set all the ingredients on the working surface.
- Pour hot water in a large bowl. Working with 1 wrapper at a time, soak the wrapper in the hot water and rotate 2-3 times, about 10 seconds. The wrapper will still feel slightly stiff but don’t worry, it will become softer. Place it flat on a working surface.
- Lay the butter lettuce, chicken, carrot, and cucumber at bottom ⅓ of the wrapper closest to you, and place the mint and cilantro leaves at the top ⅓ of the wrapper.
- Pressing firmly down to hold the filling in place, fold the bottom of the wrapper and start rolling tightly.
- Around the middle of the wrapper, fold both sides of the wrapper in and roll up tightly to the top. Place on a plate and cover loosely with plastic wrap and repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings. Cut in half or in thirds, and serve with the Sesame Dipping Sauce.
- If not serving immediately, keep the spring rolls tightly covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
2: Butterflying is a really useful technique to create a uniform thickness throughout a piece of meat, so that it will cook more quickly and evenly.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
Update: Each month 20% of proceeds from selling my eBook will go to charity. For March 2014, I donated to International Rescue Committee. Thank you for those who purchased the eCookbook!