Fried Vegetable Spring Rolls with Shrimps, Crab Sticks and Peanut Butter

       I got caught up in the buying frenzy caused by the fallout between Qatar and its neighboring Gulf countries earlier last week. Everyone rushed to stock up their kitchens for fear of food shortage and/or prices shooting to the roof. Thankfully our worries are unfounded, the grocery shelves are well stocked and prices barely budged!
        Now we have food enough to last us for weeks. Except for fresh produce, we won’t be shopping for food probably for the remainder of the month. Suffice to say, I was on a mission to cook food interesting enough for my boys to eat. And for the record, we ate out only once last weekend. Well, it could be my menu or the diminishing family budget that have caused it. Either way, I’d say kudos OFWmom!
      First in the menu was vegetable spring roll or lumpia with shrimps and crab sticks for our merienda/afternoon snack. I had roughly a dozen of medium-sized halabos na hipon or prawns from last night’s dinner which needs to be “upcycled”.  I thought of pairing them with  crabsticks which have been lying in the freezer for a month or so already.  I also thought of using a couple of the singkamas or turnips I brought from the Philippines from my recent trip weeks ago. In case you are wondering, they stored up quite well and retained their crunch.
       Singkamas or turnip is a root vegetable that is similar to carrot and apple in texture. It can be eaten cooked or raw and I personally like them both ways. I sometimes substitute them for rice. They are pretty much high in fiber and water and fills you up quite nicely without the unnecessary calories (not that I  am counting!).
      Anyhow, the spring rolls turned up quite good, even my friend’s kids  ate them with much gusto. Unlike the usual fried vegetable lumpia which I simply seal the edges with water, I brushed the wrappers with a peanut butter-water mixture for added flavour. Then I serve them up with a dip made from vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and chili garlic oil, yum! The spice from the chili garlic oil was tempered by the sweetness of  the brown sugar. Even my toddler son gobbled up a whole piece without noticing the sting.
      Prep and cooking time is roughly an hour, with all the chopping required. Once you’re done prepping, cooking won’t take long because we want the veggies a little underdone as they will be cooked again when fried.
2 medium singkamas or turnips, cut into short strips
1 large carrot, cut into short strips
1/2 head of medium cabbage, shredded
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
a small piece of celery, chopped
6  medium shrimps, precooked and chopped into smaller pieces
6 pieces crab sticks, sliced crosswise
1/4 cup of shrimp stock
1 piece chicken bouillon
salt and pepper to taste
lumpia or spring roll wrapper
Oil for sauteing and frying
Peanut butter and water mixture to seal wrapper
Vinegar Dip Ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 tbsp brown sugar (adjust to taste)
1/2 tbsp chili garlic oil (adjust to taste)
      Heat cooking oil in a pan. Saute garlic, onions and celery. Add in chopped shrimps and celery sticks, saute for half a minute and then add in the shrimp juice and chicken bouillon. Mix for a minute. Then add in the carrot and singkamas and season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and mix in shredded cabbage. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool.
      Combine ample amount of water with a tablespoon of peanut butter to create a light mixture for sealing the wrapper edges. For the dip, simply combine all the ingredients and set aside.
     As for wrapping, I used a frozen spring roll wrapper that can be bought virtually in any grocery here in Doha.  I have yet to learn making wrappers from scratch which I can live without anyway. As for the wrapping method, it’s just the plain old method which I presume you all know already yeah? For an added twist, I simply brush the wrapper edges with the peanut butter mixture to add a little flavor.
     Fry the spring rolls in small batches and avoid crowding them in the pan. Also make sure the oil is hot enough to make sure they come out crunchy and not soggy and saturated in oil. Drain fried lumpia in either a strainer (which I did) or a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot alongside the vinegar dip.
Makes 20 pieces.


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