The original recipe for these Pineapple Pork Spring Rolls included water spinach. I had never tried water spinach before, so searched the local area to see if I could find it. During my search, I learned something new. It is illegal to possess water spinach in the state of Florida. Water spinach (kangkong, Chinese spinach, phak bung, rau muong, water convolvulus, water morning glory, swamp cabbage) is a leafy green vegetable common in Southeast Asia. It grows easily and quickly in waterways with minimal care.
Due to the ability to become invasive and clog waterways, it is illegal to possess in Florida (and until recently in Texas) and require a special permit in many other areas. In hot and wet climates, it has the ability to grow 4 inches in a day. A single plant can also spread up to 70 feet. Water spinach is highly nutritious and is rich in protein, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. Maybe I will be able to try it someday when we move.
More information on Water Spinach.
I filled these spring rolls with pork, garlic, ginger, pineapple, spinach, and cilantro. Spinach is not related to water spinach. I just wanted to substitute with another leafy green vegetable and we had spinach on hand. The spring rolls were amazing and I did not have a single one leftover. If you don’t want to wrap up the filling, it is great on its own over a bed of rice. A dipping sauce is not needed, but I served the spring rolls with sweet chili sauce mixed with a few pieces of pineapple.
Health Note: If you are able to find water spinach, make sure it is heated thoroughly during cooking. Raw water spinach carries the risk of transmitting Fasciolopsis buski, an intestinal fluke parasite.
Pineapple Pork Spring Rolls
Adapted from Casa Veneracion
Pineapple Pork Spring Rolls
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2-4 Thai chilies seeded and thinly sliced
- juice of 2 limes or lemons
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups fresh pineapple cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 small bunches water spinach or spinach (stalks and leaves separated cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 16-20 rice paper wrappers
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- In a wok or large skillet, drizzle oil over high heat. Add the garlic and ginger. Fry just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pork and cook, stirring often, until pork is heated through.
- Stir in the chilies, cook for a minute, then add lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Stir in the pineapple pieces and stalks of the water spinach. Cook until heated, then add spinach leaves. Cook until leaves begin to wilt and taste for seasoning. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Once the pork pineapple mixture is almost room temperature, fill a large pan with hot water. Submerge a rice paper in the water until just softened, 5-10 seconds, lift to remove excess water, and place on work surface. Put 1-2 tablespoons filling near the edge closest to you in the center. Top with a few cilantro leaves.
- Fold the sides of the rice paper over the filling, then fold over the edge closest to you to enclose it. Continue to roll to the other side. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
- Serve immediately.