Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

I had a nanny once. It didn’t work out. We weren’t a great match and, therefore, it was born to fail.  Yet it goes without saying that the relationship between a mother and a nanny is at best complicated. However, when the chemistry is right, a nanny can be a wonderful addition to a family. We have friends that were able to find a caregiver that blends beautifully into their family. Melvie loves and looks after Maeve and Nessa as if they were her own. She also maintains a warm and respectful relationship with my friend Alexa. Melvie, kid at heart, is quite happy to get down on the floor and play. So it’s no wonder the neighborhood kids are a fan as well. But the best part about Melive? She also makes a mean spring roll. I’ve personally witnessed kids who normally turn their nose up at the most benign food devouring Melvie’s spring rolls. Actually, my husband even looks forward to my playdates at our friends–he knows I usually get a doggie bag of the delicious homemade bundles.

When Ceri and I decided to create a week devoted to the “other mom” in a household who guides the nutrition of our children, I knew we had to feature Melvie. OK, I know. Spring rolls are fried. But if you give this recipe a try, you’ll understand why we looked the other way on this one. So Scarlett and I enlisted the help of our photographer Maya who tagged along to capture our cooking playdate and the secret behind the best damn spring roll in Canada. That’s right, I just said that.

Photos By Maya Visnyei

Spring Rolls


  • 5 cloves garlic, minced and separate
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 11/2 cups chopped green beans
  • 1 lb. ground pork or chicken
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus 1 cup for frying
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 package of spring roll pastry


Marinate pork in soy sauce, corn starch, 1 tablespoon oil and sugar for 30 minutes

In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat.

Add onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic, lower heat and cook until translucent.

Add chopped meat to pan. Cook meat thoroughly, about 5 minutes.

Mix carrot, bean sprouts and green beans into meat mixture.

Toss and blend together then add fish sauce as well as salt and pepper.

Saute until vegetables cook, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then remove from heat.

Drain ingredients of extra liquid and allow to cool for 30 minutes

Place a tablespoon of ingredients in the center of 1 sheet of spring roll paper.

Fold the bottom left corner on a diagonal to the center.

Fold each side in and then roll towards the far right corner to create a tight roll. Put aside.

Put 1 cup of canola oil in frying pan and heat on high. Once oil is hot, reduce heat and add rolls. Cook on each side for about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to cool. Serve warm with Melvie's secret sauce on the side. Ok, not so secret anymore, mix the vinegar and remaining garlic together.

After some serious, non-cooking related play, we set up a work station for each of the girls. Melvie tried to demonstrate the rolling method but no one wanted to bother looking. Maeve and Nessa were pros at the process and Scarlett was keen to catch up.

The girls whipped through the project and then decided to play until they could snack on some fresh rolls.

Maeve, ever the thoughtful helpful assistant, carefully arranged each roll to help Melvie. She also fixed a few that weren’t “done right.”

Before we left, everyone had a spring roll (or two or three) and I, of course, scored a doggie bag. Dear Dan, you’re welcome.

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  1. Beverly Gerg
    November 17, 12:48 Reply

    These look amazing. What I really want to know is where did you get those chopsticks! I have one set of “kid friendly” chopsticks and my girls fight over them constantly!

  2. Lisa
    November 17, 14:36 Reply

    I’ve had the pleasure of tasting these yummy bits and they are truly amazing!

  3. promosi
    June 11, 13:11 Reply

    Thanks extremely useful. Will certainly share website with my pals.

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