Spring Rolls with Surimi Crab Sticks, Avocado and Lettuce

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Despised by many people, surimi crab sticks (or imitation crab sticks) are one of the rare processed products I regularly buy. They are the lightest snack I can imagine, have a long shelf – or rather fridge – life, they are easy and quick to use in salads, maki sushi and are quite enjoyable if paired with certain ingredients. There is also a question of brand because imitation crab can easily become awful. Among all the French brands I have tested, only one (Coraya) is edible. In short, I stick to one brand, I don’t expect too much from surimi sticks and they never disappoint me.

I often use surimi crab sticks in maki sushi and this was the first time I tested them in spring rolls. When a couple of days ago I saw A_Boleyn’s appetising Shrimp Summer Rolls, I thought I should write about my rolls which, apart from rice sheets, are completely different from hers. I left out glass noodles and even though I haven’t followed any recipe, I must have been influenced by the Japanese Nama Harumaki, raw spring rolls containing lettuce. The rolls were really good and refreshing, not as filling as the traditional ones (with glass noodles), but perfect as a light meal or snack or why not a breakfast on a hot summer day. Since they contain already mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, they do not necessarily need any additional dipping sauce, but a simple mixture of low-sodium soy sauce, chili oil and vinegar is the best option for me.

TIP: Do not use bitter lettuce here (I used here my favourite “rougette” with slightly violet leaves, but the international iceberg would be perfect too)

Preparation: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients (10 rolls):

10 (22 cm or 8 3/4 in) rice paper sheets

10 small lettuce leaves (or 5 big leaves, halved); 

1 avocado

10 surimi/imitation crab sticks

1/2 big cucumber

mayonnaise

Worcestershire sauce

Tabasco

Cut both the avocado and the cucumber into thick strips.

Remove the thick and tough parts of lettuce leaves (they might tear the delicate rice sheets).

Fill a big wide bowl with warm (not hot) water.

Dip rice paper sheets one by one in the water, immersing them delicately so that you don’t break them.

As soon as the sheet softens ( after about ten – twenty seconds), put it onto a big chopping board.

Place first a lettuce leaf, horizontally (at the edge which is closest to you), then cucumber strips, avocado strips, some mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and a crab stick. You should aim at approximately 9cm/3,5 in long roll.

Roll tightly starting from the edge which is closest to you.

Proceed in the same way with the remaining rolls.

Serve them immediately as they are or cut in two horizontally.

If you wish to serve them later, wrap them individually in cling film because they dry out very quickly.

 

 

59 thoughts on “Spring Rolls with Surimi Crab Sticks, Avocado and Lettuce

  1. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    Crab is such a good idea in these lovelies – and you know, I haven’t used crab in ages yet really enjoy the taste. This is such a great reminder. I also find this kind of food ideal in the summertime – plenty of nourishment but on the light side; perfectly adapted for the weather. “Despised by many…” hee-hee 😉 – I quite like them, and these rolls have me dreaming about dinner already! (love the splash of worcestershire sauce!!) :).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kelly. I’m glad you also sometimes buy this processed fake crab sticks. I don’t know why, but I love Worcestershire sauce with avocado…

  2. Hiroyuki

    Your description of sumiri is quite interesting, because I stick to one brand, too. It’s not that other brands are inedible; they are just less flavorful.

    (As you say, your dish is called nama harumaki in Japanese, but it’s not Japanese but Vietnamese in origin.)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Haha! It’s just that I’m more violent when talking about food which I dislike!
      I know that Spring Rolls are Vietnamese, but the Vietnamese spring rolls usually don’t contain salad leaves, while the Japanese ones I see on blogs and websites are often with lettuce leaves (this is why I have tagged these in both Japanese and Vietnamese origins/inspiration).

  3. ping

    You never cease to amaze me with your Japanese creations. Perhaps I should start calling you Sissimi or something more Japanesey ….

    1. Sissi Post author

      Ping, your comments always make me smile, even when I’m in a bad mood. Thank you so much! (I will remember Sissimi! Extraordinary idea!).

  4. Purabi Naha

    Sissi, I love surimi and use this in a number of foods. Once I used it as a pizza topping and it was wonderful! Your recipe sounds very tempting indeed! Spring rolls with surimi filling? Sold out!!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Purabi. I’m so happy you are also a surimi fan. I would have never thought of putting it on a pizza. Excellent idea!

  5. Eva Taylor

    How coincidental, Sissy, we are just in the midst of redesigning a Canadian brand of Surimi Crab and Lobster packaging!!!
    I don’t mind them for the same reasons as you mentioned, but it does infuriate me if a restaurant says crab on the menu and serves surimi!
    The fresh rolls look amazing and I know I will be making them on the weekend.

    1. Sissi Post author

      What a coincidence indeed! I’m very curious about the packaging design! Thank you so much for the compliment! (I would also be furious discovering they serve imitation crab which hasn’t got even a bit of crab…).

  6. A_Boleyn

    What a great summer roll. I was imitating the ones we get in a great Thai restaurant nearby called “The Mini” when I made mine. Incidentally, I think the mung bean noodles are called cellophane or glass noodles. The ones I used were made from rice.

    And, you’re oh so right about getting the right brand of surimi. I once bought a large package from a Chinese grocery store and they were horrendous. I had to pitch the whole bag as even the stray neighbourhood cats were not tempted to eat them and it was winter. Other than the cucumber which I never buy cause it doesn’t agree with me, I love everything about the ones you made. though I’d replace the Tabasco sauce with a little Sriracha which is oh so tasty. 🙂

    Thank you for the inspiration for a new filling.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, A_Boleyn. I thought your noodles were mungo bean noodles (these are the ones I use). I’m glad you share my surimi opinion. It’s I think like this with all the processed food items. I imagine the cats sniffing the crab sticks and going away!

      1. A_Boleyn

        I went shopping for surimi yesterday and they didn’t have the stick version so I ended up buying the large chunk ones. I understand that it can be used in making fish tacos/tosadas if you simmer it in some tomato/chili sauce. I believe it’s also used widely in Subway’s seafood and crab foot long subs. 🙂

  7. mjskit

    I’m one of those that isn’t too fond of imitation crab, but then I guess I haven’t found the right brand! Thanks for doing the research and making that easy for me. 🙂 Now I nee to go on a hunt for Coraya. These spring rolls do look quite delicious and something that would be a huge hit at my table!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Than you so much, MJ. Maybe you simply don’t like imitation crab? I wouldn’t be surprised. Many people dislike even my favourite brand and I totally understand.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Nami. I had this impression that the Japanese like surimi sticks. (And of course Worcestershire sauce 😉 ) I love Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise and avocado combination!

  8. Charles

    Hi Sissi – I must be honest… I can’t stand surimi! I was in a rage once when I ordered some crab soup and crab sushi from two different places. There was some real crab meat but then they pad out the meat with plenty of surimi and I was so mad…. and sad. Nothing makes me feel worse than having food and not enjoying it. I think if they marketed it as a “weird fishy stick thing” I’d feel better about eating it, but that vibrant orange outer covering and the fact it’s marketed as “almost crab” really makes it unpleasant to me….

    ….However – it’s a good uniform shape, which makes it fun and good to prepare and cook with. I appreciate the appearance of it (the flesh inside, the exterior less so) and I do think your spring rolls look really nice, even if I know I wouldn’t appreciate the flavour so much. I’d have to sub it for some shrimps, but aside from that they look wonderful – lovely and fresh, perfect for a summer’s evening 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Charles. I think I remember you saying that. I know several persons who don’t like it too. I also prefer shrimp, but when I don’t have these or don’t have time to cook them (or thaw them), I can content myself with surimi. I never add it to hot dishes such as soups though (it has limits!) and of course it has got nothing to do with crab…

      1. A_Boleyn

        The brand that I buy is made with pollock, a fairly innocuous white fish, and I have been known to slice it up into rings, or if I use the large chunk version I cut it in half, and add it to miso soup or even a large pot of seafood chowder along with other types of fish, frozen clams, shrimp and the bag of frozen seafood I buy at the chinese grocery store which has octopus, squid, mussels etc in it.

        1. Sissi Post author

          I think it depends maybe on the brand… or maybe personal preferences? I have tried several times to include imitation crab into warm dishes and really didn’t like it.

  9. elisabeth@foodandthriftfinds

    Sissi, I just love your creative imitation spring rolls. I happen to love imitation crab, and I used to make a shell shaped pasta salad with the imitation crab in the summer season…have not made it in a long time.

    One of the reasons I don’t make spring rolls because I would have to go out of my way the the Asian market where they sell it, but it’s worth the trip to make a delicious spring rolls like yours…since I don’t even know where to start for a good recipe. You presentation always intrigues me, and so are the photos…absolutely lovely:D

    so sorry fro not commenting sooner; I’m a little overwhelmed with my projects at my daughter’s house. Ever time they go away, I start organizing things (which by the way I’m good at, and they like my organization skills)…of course when they return, it won’t stay that way, ha, ha! (with little kids, and all!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Elisabeth. Thank you for so many compliments. You should buy a big batch of rice paper even once a year. They keep forever! This is one of the reasons why I make spring rolls so often. You simply put whatever you want inside (the traditional Vietnamese version contains usually glass noodles among others). This is another reason I make them often 🙂 I’m not always good at organising things, so I can imagine how precious your help is!

  10. wok with ray

    This is a healthful combinations. I don’t mind the imitation crab at all. In fact, I am the only one in the family who would eat this processed crab. This is my poor-man’s crab. 🙂 Have a great weekend, Sissi!

    ~ ray ~

  11. ChopinandMysaucepan

    Dear Sissi,

    I used to like surimi crab sticks too. I used to work for a large Asian conglomerate that own a huge surimi factory and saw first hand how it is manufactured. After that, I couldn’t help but limit my intake of this processed food.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Haha! I know I have once seen a tv program where they showed how it’s done. As long as it doesn’t contain some dirty bits I am not scared. (I know for example chicken nuggets sold frozen or at fast food chains contain ground beaks, nails… I never buy these).

  12. Zsuzsa

    Sissi, is there a spring roll without fish or avocado? I have a serious avocado allergy, and you know how I feel about seafood… and yet these look very scrumptious.

          1. A_Boleyn

            I had been planning on making my own Chinese-style barbecued pork and thought that the pork would go very well inside these fresh summer rolls.

            Your surimi/avocado post inspired me to do both kinds of rolls at the same time as I wanted to taste both. I have always been limited before in what I thought would go inside (usually shrimp and the usual noodles, bean sprouts and thai basil leaves or mint) but now I’m expanding my choices.

            By the way, I really like the way you were able to get your rolls to stand up so nicely for the pictures. Mine kept insisting on falling down.

            1. Sissi Post author

              Thank you so much, A_Boleyn! I think they stood up mainly because they were quite thick and short and also the halves stuck to each other on the plate.
              I’m really glad I gave you so many ideas! I also had this idea to exclude noodles not a long time ago actually. Now I think everything can be rolled (well almost because my beloved mungo bean sprouts are so sharp that if I don’t cut them into very short pieces they make holes in the delicate rice paper!).

              1. A_Boleyn

                Noodles are tasty but not having them shouldn’t prevent someone from making ‘summer rolls’. 🙂

                I agree about the mung bean sprouts poking through. They also make it difficult to roll up the roll firmly enough. I’ve started to line up the little sprouts into bundles. Plus if you put them inside the lettuce leaf to roll it also protects the delicate rice paper.

                1. Sissi Post author

                  Good idea! Thanks for the tips. (By the way, these rolls are also called “summer rolls” here, but on English internet I keep on seeing both the fried ones and raw ones called spring rolls… I wonder why because the name “summer rolls” makes more sense).

        1. A_Boleyn

          Sorry, I meant to post my reply to you not to Zsusza.

          I had been planning on making my own Chinese-style barbecued pork and thought that the pork would go very well inside these fresh summer rolls.

          Your surimi/avocado post inspired me to do both kinds of rolls at the same time as I wanted to taste both. I have always been limited before in what I thought would go inside (usually shrimp and the usual noodles, bean sprouts and thai basil leaves or mint) but now I’m expanding my choices.

          By the way, I really like the way you were able to get your rolls to stand up so nicely for the pictures. Mine kept insisting on falling down.

          1. Sissi Post author

            No problem! I understood it was addressed to me anyway 😉 I repeat my answer too:
            “Thank you so much, A_Boleyn! I think they stood up mainly because they were quite thick and short and also the halves stuck to each other on the plate.
            I’m really glad I gave you so many ideas! I also had this idea to exclude noodles not a long time ago actually. Now I think everything can be rolled (well almost because my beloved mungo bean sprouts are so sharp that if I don’t cut them into very short pieces they make holes in the delicate rice paper!).”

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Zsuzsa. Have you seen my previous spring rolls post? (http://www.withaglass.com/?p=9997) I made them with leftover roast, carrots and mint leaves. I rarely make spring rolls with avocado or surimi actually. I usually prepare them either with leftover roast/stir-fried meat or with shrimps.

        1. Sissi Post author

          Zsuzsa, I keep on forgetting all I see on the blogs too. There are so many wonderful dishes I want to make and then if I don’t write down, I forget where I saw the recipe… and then realise it was in a cookery book 😉

  13. Amber @ The Cook's Sister

    Yum! I also enjoy imitation crab sticks once in a while, usually in a California Roll. However, they look like a great addition to your spring roll! I’m bookmarking your recipe to try sometime soon!

  14. Karen (Back Road Journal)

    Your rolls look beautiful Sissi, as all your preparations do. I just bought some rice paper wrappers so I will be experimenting. The only thing is that I am one of those people that feels like Charles when it comes to imitation crab. You have made others without it so I know I will as well.

    1. Sissi Post author

      TRhank you so much, Karen. I don’t use fake crab as often as leftover roast or cooked shrimp (if only I could get affordable real crab…) and I’m sure you have access to both (not to mention the real crab!). Good luck with your experiments!

  15. Pingback: Surimi ‘Crab’ Salad, a nice light summer dinner « Kitcheninspirations

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