A distinct disinclination towards the proper precautions: Hoisin Duck Spring Rolls.

It’s a well-documented fact that I am something of a physical disaster in the kitchen. This is in keeping with my general character and way of navigating the world–I’m clumsy, I fall over a lot, and my balance is terrible. As such, it makes perfect sense that I rarely make it out of the kitchen unscathed (as I may have mentioned before, I suspect it’s only a matter of time before the face of Jesus or Kate Middleton appears in the tangle of burn scars on my right arm). Knowing this, you’d think I might have the sense to avoid such extreme sports as, say, deep-frying without proper supervision or tools. You’d think I might consider ways in which to avoid obtaining a massive hot-oil burn on my fingertips. You’d think I might show some inclination toward self preservation.

You’d be wrong.

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For all the damage it does to my insurance premiums, however, my cavalier attitude in the kitchen frequently nets some really glorious dishes–like the hoisin duck spring rolls I made the other day. For one reason or another, I found myself with an excess of duck meat and a craving for something fried; and, given that my pantry almost always looks like an asian grocery store exploded inside it, a spring roll seemed like an excellent way to deal with both my reality and my desire. Plus, I hadn’t injured myself in a while, and it really was time.

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As woman cannot live by duck and oil alone, I opted to bulk up the filling with some braised savoy cabbage–with plenty of ginger and garlic, it’s about as addictive and savory as anything you’d ever hope to eat–and added a little crunch with some chopped scallions. The lightness of the cabbage was an excellent foil to the the rich roasted duck, and the sweetness of the hoisin made it complex, unctuous, and oh-so-irresistible. And, surprisingly, much easier than I expected! Of course, don’t limit yourself to this particular combination–I bet it would be equally lovely with tofu and carrots, or chicken, or anything else delicious that you’d like to fill the spring rolls with (I, personally, will probably try it with chicken and avocado next time).

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A quick note before you attempt this, however: no matter how nimble you are, no matter how ninja-like and quick, RESIST THE TEMPTATION to flip your spring rolls over in the oil using your finger. I promise you, you are not fast enough to avoid sacrificing a fingerprint to the gods of molten oil. Trust me on this one.

Roast duck hoisin spring rolls

2 duck breasts, cooked, cooled, and cut into small pieces.
Or, if you’re feeling enterprising, roast a whole duck and get the meat from there–for a proper tutorial on an excellent and easy way to roast a duck, check in with the Hungry Mouse.

1 small head Savoy cabbage, finely chopped
1 thumb-sized knob ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp water, chicken stock, or (for bonus points) duck stock

12 egg roll wrappers (available in the refrigerated cases of many supermarkets)
Hoisin sauce
3-4 scallions, chopped

3/4 cup canola or peanut oil for frying

  1. Start by braising the cabbage: in a large pan (with a tightly fitting lid), combine the cabbage, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and water/stock over medium-low heat. Cover and cook (stirring occasionally) until the cabbage has reduced in size significantly and is soft–but not mushy), about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Then, assemble your spring rolls (there’s a good tutorial on filling and rolling here): you want each roll to have a slick of hoisin, a tablespoon or so of cabbage, a scattering of scallions, and a decent amount of duck. Vary the ratios to your taste, but don’t overfill.
  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil. Ideal frying temperature is theoretically 350-375 degrees. I’m generally too¬† much of a slacker to actually take the temperature (see also: fails to take proper precautions!), so I just wait until it’s sort of shimmery.
  4. Fry your spring rolls until they are golden brown on all sides (but be careful–they burn easily!)–i recommend just eyeballing this instead of going by time (but it’ll be about 2-3 minutes per roll). Remove them from the oil and let them cool on a paper towel.
  5. When they are no longer atomically hot, serve them with a delicious salad of some sort and the dipping sauce of your choice!
In asian, duck

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