I'm a fresh spring roll nutcase. When we go to Cy's an order is mandatory. We've never been there and not ordered at least one if not two plates as an appetizer. Cy's cooks make the best fresh and fried spring rolls in the country (in my opinion). The fresh ones are uncooked and served with a light dipping sauce. I don't use dipping sauces on things like potstickers and egg rolls (even spring rolls) because frankly, most of those sauces just look thick, gloppy and gross. However, at Cy's, the sauce is translucent and mildly sweet...intensely flavorful, but not thick...at all.
I've been making my own for awhile and am quite addicted. When prepared without sauces they're a light and refreshing meal. I can't wait to set out plates of these on hot summer nights. We're used to central air and we both wonder how it's going to work in the Eau Claire apartment without any air conditioning at all. I've lived through record heat summers without air in sweltering Chicago apartments, so I'm prepared for whatever a Wisconsin summer brings us.
My mom and I used to be quite the food snobs...when we first saw "fake crab" we gasped in horror and declared it the grossest stuff on earth and snubbed it as processed crap. A few years ago I saw my friends Kelly and Connie use it in sushi. I was stunned, particularly in Kelly's case since I know she has a fairly sophisticated palate. I took a bite of a California roll she made hoping I could get through it and was shocked at how good it was. I should have known...Kelly is serious about her cooking. I don't know that it is entirely passable eaten plain, but it's good in sushi and spring rolls. I write all of this to explain my fake crab (Pollack is the fish used to make it)...not only to you, but to my mother who still thinks it's gross. Meanwhile, I beg Kelly to make her sushi at every opportunity.
Maybe if everyone read this about crabs feeling the pain of being boiled alive, they'd reconsider. Not that fish don't feel, but with crab and lobster it's a long drawn out torture. I was never in the camp that said crabs and lobster don't feel pain because they don't have central nervous systems anyway, so the article didn't surprise me.
When making fresh spring rolls you use spring roll sheets that you can find dry in the ethnic section of most major grocery stores...don't worry about the indentations...they go away as soon as you soak them for 15 seconds on hot water. Don't accidentally buy egg roll wrappers (an entirely different entity). Bean thread can be found at the grocery store too.
I like to get my ingredients cut and assembled before I begin filling and rolling. I used cilantro, mango, crab, avocado, purple cabbage, bean thread/noodles (tossed in toasted sesame oil) and black sesame seeds.
The rolling is easy, I could have done better, but that's life in the big city.
You can experiment with fillings and seasonings...I stick to the toasted sesame oil and occasionally chopped salted peanuts. You can also skip the spring roll wrapper and just make a big salad with the ingredients. You could even use cous-cous, cooked ground turkey or chicken, cucumber, shredded carrots and peanut sauce if you wanted.
The only rule I have is that you use boiling water when soaking the bean threads for fifteen minutes. The package says hot water, but it doesn't work. Oh, and I use a large glass pie plate to soften the circular spring roll wrappers.
Other than boiling water, these are oven and stove free.
Have a great day all.