Harumaki (or spring roll actually in Japanese) are deep-fried egg rolls which are known well in Chinese cuisine in the US. Many people who are not familiar with much Japanese food may even have had Harumaki at some point of life. Harumaki is also a popular Chinese dish in Japan, similar to Gyoza dumplings. You can find Harumaki at Chinese restaurants over there, of course, but it’s also a very common home-made food Japanese moms make for dinner. If you only know them from restaurants, this is way better than that (hopefully!), and it is worth trying at home.
What’s inside the deep-fried packet is usually simple vegetables and meats, like cabbage, carrot, pork, and so on. However, we strongly recommend to include bamboo shoots and Shiitake mushrooms since they bring great flavors to Harumaki. Cut everything thinly like match sticks so they will be cooked through at the same time and easy to eat. It is important to thicken the filling so that it can be wrapped easily without the liquid from vegetables and seasonings seeping out.
The egg roll wrapper is also a key ingredient for this dish. If you have access to a Japanese market, that’s the easiest way to get Japanese egg roll skins. If you have to find them elsewhere, try to choose thinner ones. Thicker ones taste fine, but the texture we’re looking for is different. What we want is light and crispy when cooked, not hearty and chewy. The sides or faces of the skins are different for the inside and outside. Use the shiny side for the outside when you wrap. This way, you’ll get a nice golden brown sheen, almost translucent, on the surface after it’s been deep-fried.
Freshly fried Harumaki are delicious by themselves, but you can also use a dipping sauce (soy sauce and vinegar, 1:1) with Japanese yellow mustard which provides a little heat. Harumaki can be a tasty dinner entree for your family as well as an appetizer for a crowd, so try this at home!
- 1 small carrot
- 1/2 bamboo shoot (4 oz (120g) )
- 4 Shiitake mushrooms
- 4 green onions
- 2 cups bean sprouts (4 oz)
- 5 oz (150g) pork, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Sake
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp potato or corn starch
- 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 10 Harumaki skins
- deep frying oil
- Cut carrot, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and green onions into thin 2-3" strips. Wash bean sprouts and drain well. Cut pork into small bite size pieces. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together Soy Sauce, Sake, water, and potato or corn starch. In another small bowl, mix flour and water to make a loose paste. Set aside.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large frying-pan at medium heat. Stir-fry the pork first, and add vegetables when the meat turns color. Cook until soft. Then add the mixed seasonings (Soy Sauce mixture). Stir until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste, and finally sesame oil. Stir and remove from heat. Set aside.
- On a cutting board, place a sheet of Harumaki skin having a corner toward you. Put 1/10 of the vegetable stir fry on the bottom part of the skin. Pick up the corner and start rolling tucking the side corners in. Use the flour paste on the inner edges of the skin at the end of rolling to glue the roll sealed, so it doesn't unroll or leak in the oil. Repeat to make ten rolls.
- Deep fry at high heat for a couple of minutes until browned.