This is the authentic way of making spring roll wrapper. The ingredients are simple, and the result is delicious. This wrapper is elastic, flavorful and great for simple wraps(Popiah) or frying. Nothing like the supermarket version you can find in the US, this recipe is a form of art and tastes so much better.
The actual recipe for this wrapper is super simple, but these tips are the KEY to the success. I went through 30 cups of flour(and who knows how many days) to figure all this out so you don’t have to.
The “Wiping Method” (擦皮, ca1pi2)
Every Chinese new year, my mom would take me to the market to get these spring roll wrappers. I would stand there next to a whole row of hot pans and watch the Shifu(師傅, master) go around making these wrappers in incredible speed. It looked so easy when the master did it. He had a dough in one hand, and he would go to each pan and “wipe” the dough on, then back to the first pan and peel this paper thin(or thinner) wrapper off. It was just amazing and mesmerizing to watch. They call this the “wiping method” (擦皮, ca1pi2).
This method is actually a dying art form because it takes longer and there is no easy way to mass produce but there’s something about the wrappers made with the wiping method, the texture is incomparable. There are many other ways to make a spring roll wrapper on the internet and I’ve tried them all but nothing is like this one. Sure some of the other ways may be easier but none of them tasted right, especially not when making “潤餅” (run4bing3, Popiah, or Taiwanese spring rolls). The freshness of the wrapper and the texture is so important since there’s no deep frying to cover it up.
These wrappers don’t break easily when you’re wrapping, they are really elastic which creates tighter and more beautiful rolls! (I really should’ve taken a video of wrapper stretching) What do you roll into these spring rolls? ANYTHING YOU LIKE! In Taiwan, there’s a northern style and southern style. What both styles have in common is steamed cabbage with carrots, blanched bean sprouts, cilantro and peanut powder. The southern style would add noodles and sausage slices to the rolls and the north would have red yeast pork, but every family is different. We also make ice cream spring rolls with these wrappers for dessert and it’s SUPER delicious.
Here are a few tips and tricks I learned along the way of my learning process to help you troubleshoot. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions.
IMPORTANT TIPS & TRICKS
1. Bread flour works best for beginners but all-purpose flour works fine too
2. Sweet potato starch(or tapioca starch) helps with the elasticness of the wrapper
3. Leaving the dough for a few hours (or overnight in the fridge) helps with the gluten development which makes the dough easier to work with
4. Lowest heat on a gas stove should be hot enough once the pan is evenly heated. The wrapper should be done within 20 sec once it’s smeared on. If it takes more than that then it’s not hot enough
5. If the dough pulls the cooked wrapper away from the pan as you’re smearing it on, the pan is too hot. (Or there’s oil in the pan/nonstick)
6. Do not use Teflon coated(nonstick) pans. The dough needs to be able to stick to the pan to create the thin crepe-like wrapper. The wrapper won’t stick to the pot once it’s cooked and should be really easy to peel off. Also, a flat-surfaced cookware should work best for this, wok definitely works too, just be careful not to burn yourself.
7. It is best not to put the wrapper in the fridge as it hardens and becomes easy to break when wrapping your fillings. Keep it at room temp in a tupperware or a ziplock bag wrapped in a wet towel.
8. Percentage of water should be about 70%. The dough should be moving, almost runny but elastic and controllable… like a yoyo!
9. What I would have done differently: One of these cast iron griddles probably would’ve been really helpful and makes the whole process much easier!
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I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS RECIPE, RATE + COMMENT BELOW OR #CHEWEXPERIMENT ON INSTAGRAM!!!
- 2 C All-Purpose Flour Bread flour works great for beginners
- 1/8 C Sweet Potato Starch or Tapioca Starch
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1-1/4 C Water
Making the Dough, Option 1
- Mix everything together with a fork until elastic, about 2 minutes. Cover and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
Making the Dough, Option 2
- Mix everything together with a fork until elastic, about 2 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes and mix again. Repeat the rest-mix process for 3 times, the dough should be pretty elastic and smooth. It should also pull away from the sides of the bowl a little when you're mixing.
Making the wrapper
- Find a "NON" non-stick pan, heat it up on medium heat then turn it down to low. (I imagine a cast iron griddle would work really well) I had to keep it at the minimum on my gas stove because it was so hot.
- Grab a handful of dough, move it around in your hand and play with it, make sure you are comfortable with controlling it. Hold the dough, using your hand to guide and wipe it in a circle around the pan to form a round shape then lift/grab the dough away from the pan as the shape completes.
- Use the dough as a "tape", stick and remove any uneven/ excess dough from the wrapper. Imagine using a duct tape to remove pet hair from your clothes, but it's a dough and wrapper in a pan. (The video probably explains all these movements better)
- Let the wrapper cook, the sides will start to dry up and leave a gap between the wrapper and the pan. That means the wrapper is done, slowly lift and peel the wrapper from the pan.
- Clean the pan with a towel or paper towel to remove crumbs. It helps with the wrapper not sticking to the pan. DO NOT GREASE the pan. The dough needs to stick to the pan for the wrapper to form.
- Repeat until the dough runs out. It's ok if the wrappers are not very big, you can create rolls with 3 wrappers. This recipe makes about 21 6" wrappers.
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