Know that there’s more than shrimps and cheese in the filling. If limited to those two, even if both ingredients are delicious on their own, the flavor of the spring rolls would lack depth.
Chopped scallions, garlic and chilies go into the filling too. Bird’s eye chili is our default at home because they grow in the garden. It’s a very hot chili. If you prefer a milder variety, feel free to substitute. Feel free as well to use more chilies if your tolerance for heat is higher than ours.
Since the early part of 2020 when almost daily trips to the market became impracticable given government restrictions, we had been buying frozen shrimps that are already shelled and deveined. If you prefer to buy the shrimps whole (you may use the heads, tails and shells to make broth anyway), find below full instructions on cleaning and prepping fresh shrimps.
How to clean, peel and devein shrimps and prawns
How shrimps and prawns should be deveined and prepped depends on how they are intended to be cooked. There is a simple way and there is a special way if you don’t want the shrimps or prawns to curl during cooking. Don’t throw away the shrimp heads and shells because you can make shrimp broth with them.
The variety of cheese you can use for the filling is entirely up to you. While mozzarella will turn beautifully gooey, it is also bland. For better flavor, sharp cheddar is recommended.
How much salt you need depends on how salty the cheese is. If using a bland cheese like mozzarella, you’ll need about three-quarters teaspoon of salt.
Because there are cheese cubes in the filling, it is imperative that the frying time is as short as possible. Shrimps take such a short time to cook anyway. Ideally, by the time the cheese gets all melty, the wrapper should have browned and turned crisp. If you need a visual guide and detailed instructions on wrapping spring rolls, please refer to the tutorial below.
How to wrap, store and reheat spring rolls
The English-speaking world calls them spring rolls although this Asian delicacy has nothing to do with spring. They are served fried or non-fried and fillings vary. The wrappers vary too depending on which part of Asia you are in.
Shrimp and cheese spring rolls
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- 1 bird's eye chili - finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups chopped shrimps
- ½ cup chopped cheese
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 20 small spring roll wrappers
- 1 small egg - beaten with one tablespoon water
- cooking oil
- Place the scallions, chili and garlic in a bowl. Toss.
- Add the shrimps and cheese.
- Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Toss well.
- Lay a spring roll wrapper and spread a tablespoon of the shrimp-cheese mixture at the center.
- Moisten the edges of the wrapper with egg wash, roll and seal the spring roll (see step-by-step guide).
- Repeat to use up all the filling and wrappers.
- Heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- Fry the spring rolls in batches until lightly browned and crisp.
- Serve the shrimp cheese fried spring rolls with Japanese mayo topped with chili flakes.