Chinese and Malay cultures marry in this variation on the spring roll to present a precious culinary experience. Their shape resembles gold bars, and is designed to attract prosperity. The filling is a simple stir-fry, which is rolled with some crunchy salad ingredients into thin, tender crepes.
In Malaysia and Singapore, a layer of sweetness in the rolls comes from a sauce called tim cheong, which is available only in the region. I have devised an easy substitute for that tangy, soy-based sauce, using a combination of readily available hoisin and plum sauces.
Although jicama is not often thought of as a vegetable for cooking (or even a vegetable for Asian cuisine), it actually stays pleasantly crunchy after cooking. Store-bought fried shallots, sold in Asian markets, are a finishing touch to the rolls, or you can fry your own. In Southeast Asia these rolls are party food: Hosts prepare the fillings and the crepes, and then let their guests roll their own. It’s a fun start to the evening!
© 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved.