NIGERIAN SPRING ROLLS: A NIGERIAN SMALL CHOPS FAVORITE

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These spicy and delicious Nigerian spring rolls are an essential favorite of Nigerian small chops (hors d’oeuvres) commonly served in Nigerian parties and events.

Hey people of the internet! It has been a long break since I posted a recipe… and even in my last post I was giving the “long time no see story”. Well, I can share a little bit of what I have been up to… I have been in school! Yes, school! But before I tell you about my educational ambitions, let’s talk about this recipe right here! If you are Nigerian or have attended any fancy Nigerian wedding reception, you know that one of the first things you are served is small chops, and an essential component of small chops are Nigerian spring rolls. I may not remember the first time I ever had Nigerian spring rolls, but as a kid, my parents loved them so much that they would buy them frozen from a special supermarket, and come home to fry them. They were good enough to eat as small chops (or appetizers) outside of a wedding reception and soon became a staple in our home. For the first few years of us eating spring rolls at home, we bought them premade and frozen, all we had to do was fry them and serve. After a while, the manufacturers started getting a little stingy with their filling, and eventually, it felt like all we were eating was fried rolled up dough; at that point, my mother decided she could make the spring rolls herself.

The first Nigerian spring rolls that we made from scratch at home was a little sad.. it felt like we were trying to over compensate for all the under stuffed spring rolls of the recent past, so we used too much filling in our spring rolls. While over stuffed spring rolls sounded somewhat appealing at first ( I mean who wouldn’t want more savory deliciousness), it was actually not a good idea. A couple of the spring rolls burst open, making the oil kinda messy and splattery. The few surviving spring rolls either burst a little and soaked up a lot of oil, or had super thin dough that did not crisp up properly… in other words, over stuffed spring rolls equals mild disaster.

After much trial and error, we finally nailed my homemade Nigerian spring rolls (well my mom did). While I am still trying to fine tune the wrapper for these small chops, I can say that I have been able to nail that delicious savory filling that comes with a Nigerian spring roll. Truth be told, the spring roll wrappers are fairly affordable, so if you want to stick to buying them and just learning the filling, that is just fine too. I am trying to learn how to perfect the wrapper myself because I tend to be a little ambitious. For now, I thought sharing the filling recipe will be adequate.

How to Make Nigerian Spring Rolls

Prepare and Cook the Filling

To make the spring roll filling, add in the oil and saute the onions in a large frying pan for 2-3 minutes on medium heat until it is translucent.

Add in the chopped garlic and continue to saute for another 2 minutes.

Add in the ground turkey, and turn up the heat to high. Continue to saute, making sure to constantly stir the contents of the pot until the meat changes color from pink to brown.

Once the meat is browned, add in the soy sauce, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to saute for another 2- 3 minutes.

Add in the shredded cabbage and carrots, turn the heat back up to high, and continue to stir fry for another 5 minutes. Be sure to keep stirring to make sure the contents of the pan do not burn. Feel free to turn the heat down to medium if it shows signs of burning.

After 5 minutes, the cabbage and carrots should have shrunken. Turn the heat off, and set the spring roll filling aside and allow to cool completely.

Mix the Sealing Paste

Just before assembling the spring rolls, simply mix the 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of water to form a thick flour paste. To stuff the spring rolls, follow the steps pictured:

Assemble the Spring Roll Wrappers

  • Place filling close to one pointy edge of the wrapper.
  • Begin the rolling by placing the short edge over the filling
  • Roll the spring rolls tightly to a cigarette style shape till about half of the spring roll wrapper
  • Continue rolling by pulling the left or right edges tightly into the center
  • Pull the other edge into the center
  • Roll the spring roll one more time towards the pointy edge
  • Rub a little bit of the flour paste on the remaining pointy edge of the the spring roll
  • Continue rolling to seal the spring roll.
  • Place all the prepped spring rolls on a tray, and cover with clear wrap until ready to fry so they do not dry out

Fry the Spring Rolls

Once you are ready to fry the spring rolls, heat the oil up to 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (about 177- 190 degrees Celsius) for frying in a frying pan.

Fry the spring rolls (making sure not to crowd the frying pan), for 5-7 minutes, turning in between, until it is golden brown. 

Once the spring rolls are golden brown, take them out of the oil, drain, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before  serving.

So what makes Nigerian spring rolls “Nigerian”? Well, I am not sure, but I know Nigerian spring rolls tend to have some type of meat in it (even though the meat may be omitted to your taste), and they usually have that extra spicy kick that Nigerians love. You will most likely find them featured as small chops in any Nigerian wedding you might happen to attend so look out for them!

Now to those that are waiting for the school gist, here it is… I am back to school for a graduate degree in Nutritional Sciences!!!! A little story about me, I have a degree in Economics and I even started a Masters degree in Economic policy analysis. I worked as a financial analyst for a while, but after coming to terms with my passion for talking and writing about food, I knew that I needed to shift gears. I have always loved food, and although for a while I considered culinary school, I knew my interest in food was a little deeper than just cooking. I had grown curious about West African food and its effect on our health outcomes. I had too many questions and wanted to solve too many problems, so last year I decided to head back to school full time to follow my curiosity. I am in love!!! Nutrition is a completely fascinating field. While it is filled with landmines of cultural sentiments, pseudoscience garbage, and accessibility pitfalls, it is something I am ready to learn to navigate and will be sharing with everyone! Yummy Medley is going academic y’all!!!

Nigerian Spring Rolls Recipe

These spicy and delicious Nigerian spring rolls are an essential favorite of Nigerian small chops (hors d’oeuvres) commonly served in Nigerian parties and events.

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground turkey (could be substituted with ground beef or ground chicken)
  • 1 medium carrot (shredded)
  • 1⁄2 small cabbage (shredded)
  • 1⁄2 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 25 spring roll sheets (medium)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (hot pepper)
  • Oil (for deep frying)

Spring roll sealing paste

  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

  • To make the spring roll filling, add in the oil and saute the onions in a large frying pan for 2-3 minutes on medium heat until it is translucent. 
  • Add in the chopped garlic and continue to saute for another 2 minutes.
  • Add in the ground turkey, and turn up the heat to high. Continue to saute, making sure to constantly stir the contents of the pot until the meat changes color from pink to brown.
  • Once the meat is browned, add in the soy sauce, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to saute for another 2- 3 minutes.
  • Add in the shredded cabbage and carrots, turn the heat back up to high, and continue to stir fry for another 5 minutes. Be sure to keep stirring to make sure the contents of the pan do not burn. Feel free to turn the heat down to medium if it shows signs of burning.
  • After 5 minutes, the cabbage and carrots should have shrunken. Turn the heat off, and set the spring roll filling aside and allow to cool completely.
  • Just before assembling the spring rolls, simply mix the 1 tbsp flour with 1 tbsp water to form a thick flour paste.
  • To prep the spring rolls, once the spring roll filling is completely cooled, fill and fold the spring rolls wrappers with 1 table spoon of the filling for one sheet (do not over stuff the spring rolls), following the pictures shown, using the flour paste. Be sure to keep the remaining spring roll wrappers under a damp (not wet) cloth so they do not dry out. 
  • Cover the prepped spring rolls with clear wrap and set aside until they are ready to fry. You may freeze them on a try, and once completely frozen, pack into a zipper back or container to store if they will not be used immediately.
  • Once you are ready to fry the spring rolls, heat the oil up to 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (about 177- 190 degrees Celsius) for frying in a frying pan. Fry the spring rolls (making sure not to crowd the frying pan), for 5-7 minutes, turning in between, until it is golden brown. 
  • Once the spring rolls are golden brown, take them out of the oil, drain, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before  serving.

Notes

Nigerian Spring Roll Nutrition

The nutritional information for a serving of a single Nigerian spring roll is shown below with the assumption of 10% oil retention on deep fried foods.