The idea behind this recipe was to create a slightly unique type of spring roll that highlights all those classic Korean flavours. I wanted to make a super light and crispy outer shell that almost dissolved when you take a bite. For the outer shell I used sweet potato and gochujang as a base and was able to achieve the crispy snap with the aid of glucose syrup and Isomalt sugar. As for the filling I wanted to mimic the shells ingredients with the addition of kimchi and beansprouts. If you can source glucose and Isomalt sugar online then this recipe is a must try. With that said let’s get straight to it!
Sweet Potato Shells:
1. Let’s begin this recipe with making up a sweet potato cream, this will be incorporated into both the shells and the filling. Start by adding 750g of sweet potatoes onto a baking tray, then using a fork score the sweet potatoes all over. Roast the sweet potatoes in a hot oven set at 180°c for 1 hour until completely cooked. When cooked allow to briefly cool then peel.
3. To make up the shells, measure then add 150g of the sweet potato puree (keeping the rest for the filling) into the food processor then also measure and add 50g of Isomalt sugar, 35g of icing sugar and 10g of glucose syrup. Pulse this again until smooth then the puree should now have transformed into a silky, candy like puree. Place this into a bowl and we are now ready to make up the shells.
4. Next we want to prepare a large baking tray lined with either a silicone matt or parchment paper. Using a rectangular shaped stencil approximately 2.5 inches by 6 inches spread the puree using an offset spatula into the stencils. Take care not too add too much or too little of the puree and also try to evenly spread. As for the stencils you can simply make a desired shape by cutting into a piece of plastic if you cant get hold of a stencil. When all of the shells have been made place into an oven set at 100°c and bake for 1 hour.
5. After 1 hour of baking/drying the puree should have set dry but still be pliable. Use a spatula to gently ease the shell case from the baking tray then carefully roll the shell tightly onto a small rolling pin or cylinder tube that is approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll up the shell so that it seals then remove and place the shells onto a tray. If the shells become too stiff during rolling then simply add them back into the oven to heat and make them more pliable again. When all of the shells are made store at room temperature and these can be kept for upto a few days if needed.
6. For the gochujang gel to decorate the top of the dish I made up a gel using the ingredients of a classic korean sauce. To make the gel, in a small saucepan add 200ml of water, 2 tbsp of gochujang, 2 tbsp light soy, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, and 1 tsp of sugar. Whisk well and bring the liquid up to a boil. When boiling add 2g of agar agar and whisk again. Boil for a further 2 minutes then remove from the heat and pass the liquid through a sieve into a tray. Allow the liquid to cool then cover with clingfilm and allow to completely set in the fridge.
7. When completely set score the gel with a knife to break up then add the cut jelly to a food processor. Pulse until completely smooth then pass the gel through a fine sieve one last time into a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and store in the fridge until ready to serve. I like to place this in either a small squeeze bottle or piping bag to make it easy when adding the gel.
Kimchi Sweet Potato Filling:
8. All that’s left to do now is to make up a simple filling that we will pipe into the shells. Start by briefly adding 150g of washed beansprouts to a saucepan of boiling water. Blanch the beansprouts for 45-60 seconds to soften then when ready drain and chill under cold running water. Now soft, run a knife through the beansprouts until fine. Next peel and cut 2 sweet potatoes into a small dice, cut 200g of kimchi until fine and finely slice 4-5 spring onions. Place all of the ingredients separately to one side and we are set to cook the filling.
9. To bring the filling together start by adding 2 tbsp of sesame oil to a saucepan then place onto a medium to high heat. Add all of the diced sweet potato first and briefly saute. Next add 1 tbsp of gochujang and a pinch of salt then mix well. Add approximately 100mls of water to the sweet potato and reduce until all of the liquid has evaporated and the sweet potato is just about cooked. When reduced remove from the heat to stop the cooking process. Its important that we don’t add too much liquid at this point as we are looking for a fairly dry cohesive filling.
10. To finish and to bind the filling we now want to add the chopped kimchi, beansprouts, spring onion then mix. Now add 2-3 tbsp of the sweet potato puree that we made at the start of the recipe. Add this gradually as too much will make the filling too wet. Mix and then adjust the seasoning if needed by adding additional salt. When the filling is seasoned and at a consistency that can be easily piped, place into a piping bag to cool. If the filling is too wet at this point add extra vegetables to make the filling firmer. Now the filling is made all that’s left to do is to build and serve.
11. To serve carefully fill in the shells with the filling until just about full. Next place onto of a small bed of black sesame seeds (optional) then pipe a few dots of the gochujang gel on the top. To finish I added some chilli pepper threads or you could add a few fresh leaves, radish or pickles and finally try and 1 bite the dish! Hope you like this alternative but delicious amuse!
As for key ingredient in this recipe being sweet potato, this can easily be substituted with potato, squash, pumpkin or even leafy vegetables by using flour in the puree also. This recipe is indeed very specific, however, the techiques used can be adapted in so many various other ways and as long as you can source Isomalt sugar and glucose syrup I think you will have a lot of fun! I hope this recipe has given you some ideas and techniques to play with and as always peace!