Chef Diana Nacita infuses Southeast Asian flavours into her Spring Rolls
From our partner Culinaire Magazine:
Fresh, seasonal ingredients play an important role in the dishes created by Diana Nacita, the executive chef/kitchen manager at Calgary’s King Eddy. Growing up in the Philippines, she recalls going to open-air markets with her mother.
“What I thought was a chore as a child, has now become my biggest source of knowledge. To be able to adapt to produce seasonality is a huge drive for me to be creative.”
At the pub, Nacita favours a good beef dip, or roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, both of which remind her of moving to Alberta after culinary school, and being independent. “Pub dining means comfort for me. You’re in a casual setting, with friends – I miss that! – and you just have a great time.”
For Nacita, one of the best parts of working at the King Eddy was the live music. While she didn’t get to see the shows, she could still hear the sound checks, the full sets, and the audience.
“I miss live music so, so much,” she says. She’s certainly not alone! Livestreamed music is something Nacita takes full advantage of: “I can cast a show on my TV and eat from the couch!”
Live from your living room, your fave band, and a batch of Nacita’s spring rolls!
Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls
900 g ground chicken
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tbsp garlic, minced
2 Tbs shallots, minced
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
1 Tbs lemongrass paste
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
2 Tbs (30 mL) canola or vegetable oil
¼ tsp dried chili flakes
2 Tbs (30 mL) fish sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
12 sheets spring roll rapper
1 whole egg, whisked Oil for frying
Place filling ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and place in fridge for at least 2 hours. This will ensure the flavours will be fully incorporated into the ground chicken.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place filling in a Ziploc bag, seal and cut off one bottom corner to create a piping bag.
Place a spring roll wrapper on a clean work surface and squeeze the mixture along the bottom of the wrapper.
Brush edges with the whisked egg and roll it up tightly: start at the bottom, roll once, then fold sides in towards centre and continue rolling all the way up. Repeat until all filling has been used.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet heat 4-6 cm of oil over medium heat until it reaches 350º F.
Fry spring rolls in three batches. Don’t overcrowd the fryer or the temperature will drop, and the spring rolls will stick to each other.
Remove from fryer, place on a wire rack to drain excess oil.Serve with sweet chili sauce or atchara (pickled papaya).
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