Recipe: How to make the perfect spring roll

Spring rolls are traditionally eaten at this time to help celebrate the New Year, the New Year is also otherwise known as the “Spring” Festival.

Recipe: How to make the perfect spring roll

On the Chinese New Year feast table, Spring rolls are a must alongside whole steamed fish and golden nuggets of dumplings. 

They can be filled with a variety of fillings, traditionally with vegetables and deep-fried before serving so the pastry on the outside is deliciously crisp and crunchy. 

Whichever rolls are served, they can be accompanied with a host of delicious dipping sauces from sweet chilli, tangy Sriracha, Hoisin, or plum sauce. 

For this Chinese New Year, this spring roll recipe is comforting, rich, indulgent yet slightly healthier than the deep-fried traditional roll.

A new modern Spring Roll, a twist on the classic duck recipe, the roll is fused by encasing the shredded duck meat with Japanese short grain brown rice with assorted pickled vegetables. Wrapped in the spring roll pastry and lightly browned in a pan these rolls have a crunchy finish without the heaviness. You'll never want a traditional spring roll again!

Marinade time: 1 hour Cook and prep time: 50 minutes 


(465g) 2 large Freedom Food duck legs, skin on 

8 sheets of spring roll pastry (size: 21cm X 21cm)

6 tablespoons groundnut oil 

For the rice 

1 cup of super premium short grain brown rice, washed until the water runs clear

2 cups of cold water 

For the Hoisin Roast Duck Marinade 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

2 tablespoon ginger, peeled & freshly grated 

1 tablespoon Shaosing rice wine or dry sherry

1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

2 tablespoon runny honey

2 tablespoon Hoisin sauce 

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 pinch sea salt 

For the pickled vegetables 

½ (150g) cucumber, deseeded, julienne 

4 (150g) small carrots, top and tailed, peeled, julienne

4 (100g) celery stalks, julienne 

4 (40g) spring onions, roots chopped, julienne 

½ red pepper, deseeded, julienne 

1 cup of rice vinegar

2 tablespoon mirin 

1 large tablespoon soft brown sugar 

¼ teaspoon cracked sea salt 

1 granny smith apple, sliced into thin half moon slices


2 Spring onions, sliced into thin strips, soaked in ice-cold water to give spring onion curls

Dipping sauces 

3-4 tablespoon Hoisin sauce in a small bowl 

3-4 tablespoon Sriracha chilli sauce in a small bowl


1. Place the duck legs in a zip lock bag, add all the marinade ingredients. Marinade for at least one hour in the fridge. 

2. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the duck legs (including the marinade) round side up on a roasting tray lined with kitchen paper/foil. Roast for 40 minutes, then turn heat up to 220 degrees, cook the duck legs for a further 10 minutes to cook well done. 

3. While the duck is cooking, in a medium saucepan place the washed rice in. Add 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 35 minutes until all the moisture is absorbed. Fluff up the grains, remove from the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes to rest before handling. 

4. In a small shallow proof non-metallic bowl, add all the pickled vegetable ingredients together with the pickling seasonings and place in the liquid in the fridge. Quick pickle the vegetables for 10-15 minutes. 

5. Once the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Once rested, shred the duck legs and place on a serving board. (Keep the bones to make noodle soup or stock). 

6. Take two pieces of the spring rolls pastry. Place in a diamond shape on the board and then spoon four tablespoons of the brown rice along the middle from the left to the right corner leaving half an inch off the end. Place a small handful of the pickled vegetables and spread across the top of the rice. Then spoon a few tablespoons of the duck meat across on top of the vegetables. Place a few slices of granny smith apple over the top. Bring the two corners together to meet in the middle. Fold each of the opposite corners in over the filling and roll the wrapper into a large “cigar shape”. Repeat and make three more rolls. 

7. Heat up a frying pan or wok, add 6 tablespoons of groundnut oil and place the roll into the hot oil and cook until the wrapper is crisp and lightly golden. Take it off the heat; slice each roll on the diagonal and place on a serving plate. Serve with a small bowl of Hoisin or chilli dipping sauce. Garnish with spring onions curls. 

Note: The addition of the Granny Smith apples compliments the flavour of the duck giving it a sharp sweet tang.

Also have a look at How to make the perfect Duck Skewers 

Find out more about Chinese New Year, it's customs and what animal you are here

Recipes courtesy of: Ching He Huang

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