Asparagus Teriyaki Pork Rolls

Observing some of my friends’ blogs (Hiroyuki’s Blog on Japanese Cooking, Just One Cookbook and Shizuoka Gourmet) I quickly deduced rolling vegetables into thin meat slices is one of the favourite pastimes of the Japanese home cooks. Then, thanks to Hyosun’s recipes (Eating and Living), I discovered Koreans are also fans of rolls. After all it is not surprising: meat and vegetable rolls are healthy (a roll usually contains more vegetables than meat), easy and quick to prepare (thin meat slices stick together very easily), convenient (the rolls can be made even 24 hours prior to frying and they work as a part of main course or cute party snacks), but, most of all, I find them cute and fun to eat.

Since I made Potato Teriyaki Pork Rolls found on Nami’s Just One Cookbook, I haven’t stopped looking for new meat rolls ideas. The delicious Okra Teriyaki Pork Rolls inspired by Shizuoka Gourmet blog were followed by the Korean-style fantastic and hot Pork Rolls and Shiso in Tempura (from Eating and Living blog)… Last week I decided to experiment with asparagus. Combined with soft pork and sticky teriyaki glaze they created fantastic, light, crunchy rolls. A real dream dish for pork and asparagus fans. I already feel these rolls will be my staple meal as long as the asparagus is on the market.

TIPS: Choose the thinner asparagus stems: maximum 1 cm (a bit less than 1/2 inch) diameter at the bottom, so that you don’t need to peel or precook them. This way the asparagus will be only slightly cooked, but still crunchy.

These asparagus can be cut and rolled into pork slices in advance and kept even 24 hours in the fridge. Only flour coating and frying stages should be carried out shortly before serving.

Ready-to-use teriyaki mixture can be bought in every Japanese shop, but it takes one minute to prepare it and one can adjust for example the sweetness to one’s preferences.

Preparation: 30 minutes

Ingredients (makes 10 mini pork rolls):

10 thin slices of pork (max 1 mm thick); I have used pork loin

10 green asparagus stalks (only the non-stringy, soft part, usually the upper 3/4 – 2/3 length)

salt, pepper

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons oil

Teriyaki glaze:

2 tablespoons mirin (can be substituted with 1 – 2 tablespoons syrup)

3 tablespoons soy sauce (or 4-5 if you have low sodium soy sauce)

(1 teaspoon sugar; I usually omit sugar)

3 tablespoons sake

(grilled sesame seeds)

Cut the asparagus soft parts in two or three equal pieces (they shouldn’t stick too much when wrapped in meat slices).

Combine the teriyaki glaze ingredients in a glass or bowl.

Season slightly the pork slices with salt and pepper.

Put two asparagus pieces at one end of the pork roll (salted part up). (To make the rolls look cuter, put one tip and one medium piece).

Roll it tightly and put aside.

Do the same with all the pork strips.

Heat some oil in a pan.

Dust the pork rolls lightly with flour, shake off the excess flour.

Put the rolls on the heated pan, sealed side down and fry on a medium heat, covered, until they are well browned.

Flip the rolls over at least once, after ten minutes.

The whole frying process will take more or less 15 minutes.

Pour the teriyaki sauce over the rolls and make sure they are well coated.

Let the sauce thicken for about one minute, turning the rolls frequently.

Transfer the rolls to a plate and garnish with the remaining sauce.

(Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds if you like them).

Serve with rice as the main dish or on their own, as a snack.

62 thoughts on “Asparagus Teriyaki Pork Rolls

  1. Hotly Spiced

    What a delicious looking recipe. That looks so incredibly tasty. I love the combination of flavours. Would be a wonderful dinner for everyone in my household xx

  2. Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan

    Dear Sissi,

    If you haven’t already discovered, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine are also full of beautiful rolls, some are fresh and others are done with either roasted meat or vegetables. Would love to see more of your beautiful interpretations of these!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Chopinand. I sometimes make spring rolls both raw and fried (some photos are already taken and will be posted soon), but I thought meat slices serving as wrappers were a typical Japanese/Korean idea. I must look closer at Vietnamese and Chinese recipes then.

  3. wok with ray

    I am a big fan of anything Teriyaki, so when I saw your post in my email Sissi I just have to read it right away. Oh my god, this is just like jewels in a bowl – beautiful! The green color of Asparagus just peeking out of the perfectly glazed rolls. . . it’s amazing! Wishing you a wonderful week, Sissi!

    ~ ray ~

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Ray, for all the compliments! I’m really flattered. I wish you a lovely week too.

  4. Jeno @ Week Nite Meals

    Hi Sissi! Hope you had a great weekend!

    I love the vegi/meat rolls, though I had no idea you can roll them in advance, that’s a crucial piece of info that can be very helpful on busy week nights!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Jeno. For me it’s also important. I usually simply make them hen I have time and then at night or even the following day I only sprinkle with flour and fry.

  5. Ben

    Rolling food is so much fun! I guess that’s why they do it in so many parts of the world. These rolls sound delicious!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Beth. It can also be a part of main course: you have proteins and vegetables in one and the only thing you need is serve some rice.

  6. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    These rolls look positively succulent and spring ready with the lovely asparagus. Your teriyaki glaze sounds amazing Sissi – I could see myself putting it on everything (so yummy on chicken fried rice, etc…). I agree, it’s worth the extra minute to pull together a homemade version of teriyaki sauce when it’s not too elaborate. Love your toasted sesame seeds to complete the picture ~ healthy eating indeed.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kelly. I’m happy you like these rolls. I think I have bought teriyaki sauce once only. It was way too sweet and I used to dilute it with soy sauce I remember. Now I make my own sauce and whenever I feel it’s too sweet I either add some sake (not sweet) or soy sauce. You must have noticed I am addicted to sesame seeds… I put them everywhere. I hope they are not dangerous in small, but regularly taken amounts.

  7. Sylvia@Peaches and Donuts

    I’ve came across these on Nami’s blog too but I’ve yet to try it out. Yours looks terrific! For an easy non japanese version, just wrap asparagus with bacon and pan fry or BBQ them! They are absolutely delicious too!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Sylvia. You should try Nami’s potato rolls. They are exquisite! Thanks for the suggestion! I sometimes roll asparagus (and other vegetables) in bacon, just like you and totally agree: such rolls are fantastic.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Karen. A home made teriyaki sauce is perfect to adapt it to our preferences and also to the dishes. For me also the bottled teriyaki sauce was too sweet. I also put more or less mirin depending on my mood and on the ingredients. Mirin, sake and soy sauce are crucial for Japanese cooking, so I always have them too.

  8. Mr. Three-Cookies

    Awesome sounding roulade. Instead of paper, roll with pork! Great way to reduce carb intake and increase protein intake:)
    BTW – max 1 mm thick, that sounds challenging

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. I ask my butcher to cut me the slices with the ham-slicing machine and once he has even made a mistake and made them completely transparent. They almost fell into pieces, but were even more delicious. I usually buy a big batch and freeze a part of it (my butcher is a bit far away).
      Before I found this butcher, other butchers would do it for me, but for the next day. I also tried cutting meat at home with a ceramic knife, but it was difficult… Some people freeze the meat partially to make cutting easier, but then you have to use up the meat quickly… In short, the butcher and ham cutting machine is the answer.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Barb. I have become crazy for meat rolls of all kinds since I started cooking Japanese. Some other roll recipes will follow because I keep on experimenting!

  9. Charles

    “I quickly deduced rolling vegetables into thin meat slices is one of the favourite pastimes”

    Haha, I love the idea too, although I never tried doing it myself I have to admit. It looks like a lovely dish – the wonderful crunch of the asparagus and the tasty meat – Where do you get the meat slices from? Do you make them yourself or do you have a butcher do them for you?

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks Charles. I hope my Japanese friends will not get angry for this joke, but frankly meat rolls is something that surprised me (in general Japanese cuisine is full of rolls, not only meat).
      You should try making meat rolls because they are very easy and you can wrap any vegetable of your choice.
      My butcher cuts the meat in the ham cutting machine, the previous one would do the same but for the following day (he was scared of germs or maybe hygiene control, but his meat wasn’t half as good as this one’s…), so I’m pretty sure any butcher does it.
      Before discovering the present butcher I was sometimes very impatient and lazy to go back the following day (you know my butchers are far away…), so I would buy a big piece of pork loin and try cutting it with a ceramic knife, but it wasn’t easy. Some people partly freeze the meat to make this process easier too. When it’s cut by the machine the result is the best.

      1. Charles

        One more reason to get a meat slicer which I’ve been thinking about for a while :D! Then I could make beef and cheese yakitori too!

        1. Sissi Post author

          It is an option too, although I have to go to my butcher to buy all the meat anyway… You have just reminded me how many kitchen appliances I want to buy urgently. Beef and cheese yakitori sounds like a great idea!

  10. Eva Kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

    What a moody photo (that’s what we call a photo with a darkish background; it looks great, Sissi. I usually prefer fresh rolls, I don’t dislike spring rolls, I just find fried food too heavy. Have you ever tried baking these with a little olive oil on them? I wonder if they would turn hard as opposed to crisp?

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Eva. You will probably notice most of my photos have a dark background I like (I know it’s strange and technically probably a mistake).
      I also prefer raw spring rolls, but these are not spring rolls (no wrapper, only meat and asparagus), so they are not really crisp (they are sticky). (I think you have understood these are spring rolls with meat and asparagus).
      I have never considered frying (pan frying, not deep- or shallow frying) as resulting in heavy dishes (unless there is a heavy sauce of course). I usually fry (like in the case of these pork rolls) in one tablespoon oil when making a dish for two (here about 2 tablespoons for three). I would never try baking meat-wrapped rolls because it would take ages with my oven (it heats slowly) and I would have to baste it with oil anyway, I couldn’t turn the rolls easily etc..

  11. shuhan

    sissi that looks amazing! I love stuffing and rolling food up, just makes everythign so much more fun (not just the making part, but the eating part too). oh, and absolutely delicious looking teriyaki glaze!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Shuhan. I agree with you about both: the fun of making and the fun of eating. I also like the fact that I can choose if I eat rolls with a fork and a knife, with chopsticks or if I serve them with party toothpicks 😉

  12. Juliana

    I like the way that you prepared these rolls…so delicate and full of flavor. Great picture Sissi 🙂
    Hope you are having a great week!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Reem. Of course you can make them with chicken breasts, but adapt the frying time to the thickness of the meat.

  13. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Hehee. Once you try the rolled meat, it’s hard to let go isn’t it? ^_^ For Japanese, it’s the perfect amount of meat and the combination of meat and other ingredients (mostly veggies) is just perfect for our appetite. I usually use asparagus + beef, but will try on pork. Got nice asparagus today at the market, but too tired and too many plans coming up on weekends (shiori’s b-day!). Talk to you soon, once I settle more…. completely jet lagged as we got back yesterday.

    1. Sissi Post author

      I totally agree! Whenever I don’t know what to do with some meat I have in the fridge I start looking for rolls ideas 😉 I hope you have had wonderful, exciting holidays in Japan. I’m looking forward to hear (or rather read) more about it!

  14. Arudhi@Aboxofkitchen

    Oh I missed visiting you here! Wonderful rolls, Sissi! The sesame seed sprinkle really give them a beautiful touch!
    About rolled dishes, just few weeks ago, I saw a cooking show on TV where they wrapped hard-boiled eggs with thin-sliced pork before finally cooking them in teriyaki sauce. I`m not so much into multiple animal protein in one go, but they did look very appealing!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Arudhi. Welcome back! Thank you for the compliments and for the excellent idea! You can be sure I’ll try making pork with eggs (I am not scared of double protein; it’s my carb intake I’m rather worried about…).

  15. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb

    I like rolls too and of course aspargus is a favourite veggie of mine, which I dont get to indulge too often out here. Your dish looks very very tempting Sissi, I am looking forward to try this one day. Into my recipebox pronto! 😉

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks, Helene. You have other extraordinary vegetables we can only dream about in Europe!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Giulia. Yes, the asparagus in ham is also popular here and in France and I also love it.

  16. Martyna @ Wholesome Cook

    You may not believe this, but just yesterday I was walking past a Japanese restaurant here in Manila and was enticed in by none other than asparagus wrapped in pork then grilled. It was amazing and now I don’t have to work out how to make it myself, you’ve done it for me!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Martyna. It’s amazing! I am proud that I had the same idea (before I made these I have never seen asparagus wrapped in pork teriyaki, I have based it on okra and pork rolls).

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