Thursday, August 12, 2010

Khartoum Spring Rolls

Homemade spring rolls made and cooked in the kitchen before we replaced the broken ceiling fan!

While in the transit lounge in Addis Ababa on our flight  from Johannesburg to Khartoum last week, we sat at a pub and had a cold drink. Grant said he was peckish and ordered us two portions of vegetarian spring rolls at US$1 a portion. When the spring rolls arrived, we realised we should have ordered only one portion as there were eight rolls on each plate. Once we'd bitten into the first spring roll, we realised we should have maybe ordered a plate of chips or a toasted sandwich. The springroll pastry was underdone and not at all tasty. However, we plouged through two each before we gave up and left the rest.

Now, you'd say: are these people connoisseurs when it comes to spring rolls, or what? Well, we'd like to think so! (lol!) During the past few months here in Khartoum, Grant and I have perfected the ultimate springroll - home made! Grant does all the vegetable shredding. He has the patience and really shreds the carrots, onions and cabbage finely. He chops the garlic finely and grates the ginger. So he is the man who goes up ahead and prepares the filling for the spring rolls. When he has each item in a seperate dish, I move in.

I 've also discovered the exact squares for spring rolls in the supermarket. Back home in South Africa, we've only managed to find long rolls of paper- thin phyllo pastry which are impossible to work with and have to be cut to size.

Last week, I stood in the very hot [pre-new-ceiling fan-] kitchen and filled each square with filling and folded them over. Don't be put off by the seemingly labour-intensivity of this job. It's actually a simple procedure, and the more you make the quicker they go. Ask me, I've been making them once a week, for the entire three-month stint we spent before we went out on our break. And once in South Africa while we were on leave!

I popped them into a pot of boiling olive oil- four at a time - and cooked them until brown and crisp. (this was really hot work, phew!)

Remove and drain on papertowel.

Serve with individual bowls of soy sauce and Thai sweet chillie sauce.  Yum!

We've found a samoosa recipe in a South African magazine and we'll be making these with mince and a vegetarian option over the weekend.

Spring Rolls (Source Internet)

Makes 24 Rolls


1 ounce fine cellophane noodle - I used instant noodles, sans the seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
 2 scallions, finely chopped (Spring onions)
1/2 cup bean sprouts - I omitted these, as none in the city
1/2 cup green cabbage, shredded
1 small carrot, peeled and finely shredded
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry - I omit this, no alcohol in the Sudan
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro - called coriander here
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
 spring roll wrappers

Place the noodles in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Allow to stand for 4 minutes.
Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again.
Cut into 2-inch lengths. With instant noodles, I hold a bunch up with a fork and cut it with the kitchen scissors. Works for me!
Heat the olive oil in a wok over high heat.
Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, beansprouts, cabbage and carrot and fry for a minute. (Enjoy the most DI-VINE fragrance emitting from the wok at this stage!)
Stir in the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine, pepper, cilantro/spring onions and mint and take off the heat.
Stir in the noodles.
Arrange the wrappers on the counter, pointing diagonally.
Spoon a bit of the filling onto the bottom corner of the wrapper.
Roll the point of the wrapper over the filling, then fold the side points inward over the filling.
Continue to roll up the wrapper away from you, using a bit of water to seal the roll if needed.
Brush with oil and bake in a 400 °F oven until crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
You may want to flip the spring rolls halfway through baking.
You can also freeze these unbaked and then bake from frozen. This will take about 25 minutes.
(I fried the spring rolls and froze those which were left over. When I reheated them, I placed them in an oven and baked until crisp again)


  1. YUM, Jo... I'll bet you (and Grant) make the BEST Spring Rolls in the entire world.... It's no wonder you didn't like the ones at the airport. You probably wouldn't find ANY as good as yours.... Too bad I'm not there with you... I would enjoy the Spring Rolls too....

    They look incredible!!!

  2. I love light and tasty spring rolls. Much of what I buy in a restaurant is not to my liking. I've found I do prefer the Thai spring rolls and I have a place not too far away where they give you two small spring rolls as an appetizer before your dish. Yours look very similar. Yum!

  3. Sounds like you two are connoisseurs anda good cooking team too. Your springrolls sound delish. Something I may try when I'm Not working. I'm way too lazy of a cook when I am.

  4. Wow - those look so good, and professional too, Jo :) looks like you have perfected the art of making spring rolls .... the airport ones sounded a bit yucky :(

  5. Yum! I'd like to eat some springrolls now.....salivary glands are working well hahaha. I blog hopped today and found lots of posts about food. Oh my! I can almost hear the burburic sound of my stomach.

    BTW, thank you for visiting my blog today. The local emarati arabic word for sun is shams. Maghreb for sunset. I have no idea about the sunrise. I'd like to ask my neighbor but they are not around.

    Have a great weekend Jo.

  6. Yours sound very good, Jo! My husband and I make our own too, and I completely agree that although it may sound like a lot of work, it goes quickly once you get the hang of it, and it's easy. We also make steamed dumplings with meat (usually pork), veggies, ginger, and spices. The steaming instead of frying makes them even lighter.

  7. Your photo is mouth-watering! Looks like a great recipe as well. Now where could I get a hubby who likes to cook with me....


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo