Turkey Spring Rolls: Holiday Tradition with a Twist for #LetsLunch


This is my contribution to this month’s #LetsLunch, a virtual potluck on Twitter.  This month is hosted by Lisa of Australia’s Monday Morning Cooking Club, and the theme is holiday traditions with a twist.

In a recent post, I wrote about the very international Thanksgivings I enjoyed growing up.  Those real-life potlucks featured dishes from around the globe, and also included the requisite turkey.  Our turkey would often have a soy and garlic marinade and would be served alongside both a traditional American stuffing as well as a Chinese sticky rice stuffing.  Sometimes, we’d have turkey at Christmas as well.  A tradition unique to our household made fantastic use of the leftover turkey– my mother always made egg rolls with it.   I enjoyed those even more than the turkey in its original form.

These days, I don’t deep fry too often.  But I still remember the taste of those egg rolls, so juicy and savory and with a spice I could not quite identify.  More recently, I’ve developed a preference for fresh spring rolls– on a recent trip to Manila, we sampled some really flavorful and light fresh lumpia, similar to the popiah served in Singapore.  So I thought I’d try making my mother’s turkey egg roll filling in a fresh spring roll.  I was very happy with the result.  The key elements in the filling are the ground star anise (my mother always used something called brown pepper, but I think this was either five spice powder or actually star anise) and the crunch of celery and shredded green cabbage to contrast with the turkey.  You could also add some cilantro, jicama and bean sprouts if you wanted more crunch, and to give a further nod to Singaporean popiah.

Turkey Spring Rolls

This is my take on my mother’s original, deep-fried egg roll recipe. I use wrappers intended to be eaten fresh (not fried).  if you wanted to eat the deep-fried version, you should use egg roll wrappers (which are thicker), and deep fry until golden.

Makes: 12


spring roll wrappers (make sure the wrapper says “for spring rolls,” not “for egg rolls.”  These are available frozen in Asian markets; for best flavor buy a brand from Singapore)

2 cups green cabbage, shredded in 2 inch long strips

4 celery stalks, in 2 inch long matchsticks

3 scallions, in 2 inch long matchsticks


2 tablespoons canola oil

3 cups leftover/cooked turkey meat, shredded in the same size as the vegetables

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce)

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground star anise (may substitute five spice powder)

garnishes: hoisin sauce, chili sauce


1.  Before beginning preparation on the filling, defrost spring roll wrappers in the package at room temperature.  Once the wrappers feel soft, open the package, and keep wrappers covered with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.

2.  Warm oil in a large frying pan, then add prepared vegetables.  Cook at high heat for 2-3 minutes until softened, then reduce heat to low and add turkey and seasonings.  Stir for another 3 minutes until seasonings are well distributed and filling is fragrant.  Transfer cooked filling to a colander to drain well.


3.  Roll spring rolls one by one.  Carefully remove a wrapper from the package, lay it flat on a plane or cutting board, then place 1/4-1/3 cup of filling in the center, and forming it into a bundle.  First fold in the sides, then roll wrapper over filling, from the bottom to the top, until you have a neat roll.



The moisture in the filling will automatically seal the wrapper, so no additional moisture is needed.  Repeat until you’ve used up all the filling.  Keep covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap until ready to serve.

4.  Cut spring rolls in half (on the diagonal for best appearance) just before serving.  Serve with hoisin and chili sauces, if desired.

Please see what the other #LetsLunchers have prepared for their holiday traditions with a twist!

Annabelle‘s Rosemary Whole-Wheat Shortbread at Glass of Fancy

Betty Ann‘s Shrimp Pomelo Salad at Asian in America

Cheryl’s Malay Ayam Masak Merah at Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Jill‘s Italian-Style Green Bean Casserole at Eating My Words

Lisa‘s Duck Confit at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Mel‘s Sausage Rolls & Piroshkis at The Cook’s Notebook

Sonja‘s BBQ Spiced Pomegranate Rabbit at Foodnutzz

What are your holiday traditions? Is there a recipe your family makes for holidays that is a little different from the usual? Please share in the comments!

8 responses

  1. Pingback: Malay Ayam Masak Merah: Sugar and (Lots of) Spice | Cheryl Lu-Lien TanCheryl Lu-Lien Tan

  2. Pingback: Glass of Fancy » Blog Archive » Rosemary Whole-Wheat Shortbread - Fashion, fiction, and life in the city.

  3. I am Korean, South Korea doesn’t have Christmas holiday, just 1 day off(25th, Dec). I am christian, when i was middle and high school we went caroling to early morning 25th, Dec for Jesus birth to church people. We came to church 24th, Dec at 10 pm and ate some tteokguk=rice cake soup(prepared with slices of rice cake, beef,eggs) from church. So we went to each church people house and sang a loud voice. Church people gave us they made own food like all different food(snack, soup) That was most like my favorite church activities.

  4. Pingback: Let's lunch - a Christmas tradition - and a giveaway - cooks-notebook.com.au

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