Monthly Horoscope: May Earth Snake
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The zodiacal sign this month is the Earth Snake. In order to cross this monthly period as peacefully as possible it’s stated that the signs of Rat, Rabbit, and Rooster to align more with the qualities of the governing sign of the year, the Pig concentrating most of their leisure activity relating at home. It’s stated that you should be nice during this month especially the signs of Tiger, Dog, and Horse. Regarding the Goat, Dragon, and Monkey strongly recommends to nurture any concrete action and follow your dreams. The Ox will avoid falling into pessimism, trying to maintain a dynamic and logical spirit by organizing of their life to be as serene as possible.

Here’s the breakdown for each sign:

Rat - is better to postpone an important trip to later. If you can not do otherwise, plan all your upstream expenses to avoid being surprised by an unexpected cash outflow. Do not let invading friends distract you from your priorities. Give priority to quality over quantity. Take care of yourself. This is not the time to lose strength.

Ox - Things seem to be stabilizing little by little. An unexpected income is possible. Be careful what you say under stress. Some in your entourage will not hesitate to distort your comments. Be clear and determined in your affective and sentimental relationships. Stay dynamic.

Tiger - the period looks favorable for an organized withdrawal. Sometimes it’s better to let things come to you. Leave nothing to chance and be very square in the classification and maintenance of your important documents. Look after your emotional relationships. Time and time, you will come our victorious.

Rabbit - this is a serene month for you, during which things improve, even if the pace of this evolution is not fast enough in your eyes. In reality, the time is favorable for the consolidation of your projects. Life smiles at you and even hobbies become possible. However, in the perspective of the better harvest, it’s better to continue patiently. Get rid of all the objects around your house and work that no longer have any functional or decorative virtue.

Dragon - some interesting trips are to be expected in the second half of the month of the snake. If despite this, you feel that things are starting to stagnate again at work, it’s because you may have chosen the wrong person with whom you are currently negotiating. Do not neglect your family or close friends. Without even knowing it or wanting to admit it, you need beneficial energies.

Snake - you are enjoying a little moment of break at the start of this exhausting Chinese year, during which the events finally take pleasant turn. You feel more seasoned and in better shape. In addition, you know perfectly well you control the situation, while it is not necessarily the case of the person by your side. Avoid being too proud. Strive to be kinder in stressful situations. you could gain lasting alliances.

Horse - The events keep the same dynamics as the previous month. But this time finally take the time to solve a problem that has been around for some time. You have the strength to overcome obstacles. Do not refuse the help you are being offered without taking the time to think about it first. No imprudence during night outings. Stay calm if you are provoked, it may be time to go home.

Goat - It’s a great month ahead for you. A boost of fate can occur and fortune can smile your way. Unexpected recognition, sentimental encounters, and popularity may occur during this month. Just avoid being too stressed or greedy. Just show that you are ready to face your destiny. On the other hand stick to your promises and avoid ruminating in public.

Monkey - if you have a Snake in your family or close friends it’s time to visit him or her. During new encounters or at your work, do not say anything that could hurt you. During this month show your diplomacy skills that will condition the coming months. In this case you have an unfailing support of your co-workers and trust future for fortune will not forsaken you.

Rooster - manage to preserve the harmony within your home because you know how to question yourself. The situation is stable which allows you to foresee the interesting opportunities on the horizon. It may be best to postpone an acquisition project to take more time to understand your commitments. Beware of the jealousy of others in case of material or amorous success. Do not be too forceful because it can be annoying.

Dog - it’s favorable this month in material acquisitions. Listen to advice you are given before any transactions. You will succeed in gaining the admiration of people who matter to you. Optimize your work time to be more profitable and do not be too impatient. You are appreciated for your loyalty. Things are improving, especially on the financial side.

Pig - even if you have recovered, keep you energy for useful things. If your prospects are good financially, still avoid the temptation of any spending frenzy. Do not be impatient when negotiating new trade agreements. Take the time to study all the possibilities of what is being offered to you. Take a break in the countryside if you feel like you’re becoming unable to control your impulses. Keep hardheaded whatever happens.

Fruit in Chinese Food
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As I slowly eat my way through the Windchimes Menu I realized that there were a lot of dishes that included an ingredient that typically isn’t part of a main dish: Fruit. I was curious why this was such a staple in Chinese food ranging from Orange, Mango, to even Pineapple. I dug around to see why this was an important ingredient to some of my favorite dishes and here’s what I found:

One way chefs create new dishes is to make use of fruits in season. Doing so produces dishes with new color, texture, and flavor. When fruits are not in season they need not despair, but use them dehydrated. They can and do use fruits such as raisons, dried apricots, sugared preserved fruits such as jams, and even canned and frozen fruits.

In southern cooking, such as that around Guangzhou, chefs make use of local fresh fruits frequently using peaches, lychees and longans. Perhaps because of influences from neighboring south sea islands, they also find and use pineapples, bananas, coconuts, and rambutans. In the mid-Yangtze valley in and around Shanghai, Hwaiyang and Yangzhou, chefs use fresh apples, dates, and pears and their preserved relatives. In the north, around Beijing and Shandung, apples, apricots, pears, persimmons, and dates are popular fresh and dried. And in the west, chefs from the Hunan and Sichuan provinces add fruits to their spicy dishes including oranges, longans, and lychees to satisfy their yen for sweet in their dishes. Occasionally sweet dishes without spiciness are even used departing from the routine flavorings in this region.

Since Chinese do not make clear demarcations between medicinal herbs and fruits or vegetables, in their cooking they also use herbs such as dried san tza which are crab apples or go ji better known as Lyceum Chinese. Both of these herb-fruits have a slight sweet and an acidic taste; people like them because they are good for you and highly nutritious.

So, next time you are in check out some of the dishes that include fruit and think about how great it is to be able to have this dish all year round!

Food for Thought: Chinese and Japanese Cuisine
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Here’s a great expert from an article about Chinese and Japanese food culture in the United States:

Chinese food has been part of American food culture for as long as most of us can remember, thanks to the pioneering emigrants who opened early Chinese restaurants. The chop suey and chow mein our grandparents associated with Chinese food, however, were created to please the American customer. Real Chinese food ranges from the elegant simplicity of Cantonese cuisine to the fiery flavors of Sichuan fare, and there are no canned sprouts involved. The tofu of China is of the very firm, porous style, sturdy enough to stir-fry. Fermented black beans, which are actually black soy beans, supply a wonderfully funky flavor that goes well with a little sesame oil and chile. Toasted sesame  and hot sesame oils are both meant to be used as flavoring agents, not cooking oils. Seafood and vegetable dishes are often flavored with a drizzle of nutty sesame oil to give them a meaty quality, so try doing the same with your own seafood and vegetable creations. Sesame paste is used in sauces and dressings, and when I can't find the Chinese variety (made from toasted sesame seeds), I substitute tahini (made from untoasted sesame seeds), to make Chinese style noodle sauces and dressings. Try stirring some with soy sauce, sugar and vinegar and drizzling over salad or a stir fry just before serving. Dried vegetables, like dried mushrooms or cabbage, are important flavors in the Chinese kitchen, and I use dried mushrooms to add heartiness to vegetable stocks and stir fries.

Japanese food has become synonymous with sushi and tempura, but those popular dishes are just the beginning. Slow simmered stews, grilled skewers of meats and vegetables, savory pancakes and endless noodles are just a few more. The Japanese gave us silken style tofu, the slippery soft kind that is usually floated in the miso soup I love. Miso is just one of the many fermented and pickled foods developed centuries ago as a way to preserve food that endures today and enhances the flavor of so many Japanese dishes. Tamari, shoyu, rice wine and rice vinegar are other fermented, deep aged flavors. Use tamari and shoyu for salt in darker colored dishes, and substitute rice vinegar—with its wonderful tang—for white or red vinegar in dressings.  Most of us might never have tried seaweed if not for sushi or miso soup, but sea vegetables are a way of life in Japan. I like to crumble nori over salads, add soaked arame to soups, or add a piece of kombu to simmering beans, which is said to make them more digestible, and certainly adds minerals.

Both China and Japan are known for their use of very fresh ingredients, whether it's dispatching freshly caught fish right into the pan, or frequent shopping trips to pick up the freshest produce. As a chef and eater, I appreciate this practice, as well as their convention of stretching a small piece of meat by stir-frying it with lots of vegetables and accompanying it with rice and noodles for a satisfying and filling meal.

Recipes to Try at Home: Fried Tofu
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This is a new dish that I didn’t know I needed in my life: Japanese Style Fried Tofu or otherwise known as Agedashi Tofu.

Windchimes Chinese has a version of this that only made me crave this style of tofu more so I found a recipe to try out!

AGEDASHI TOFU (DEEP-FRIED TOFU IN TSUYU BROTH)

Make this traditional Japanese tofu dish at home in just 25 minutes!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes

  • Cook Time: 10 minutes

  • Total Time: 25 minutes

  • Yield: 4 people 1x

  • Category: Side

  • Method: Deep fryig

  • Cuisine: Japanese

SCALE 1X2X3X

INGREDIENTS

  • Two 12-ounce box silken tofu (drained)

  • potato starch or cornstarch (for dusting)

  • oil (for frying)

  • 1 cup dashi stock

  • 2 tablespoons mirin

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

TOPPINGS:

  • ginger (peeled and grated)

  • green onion or chives (finely chopped)

  • shiso leaves (chopped) optional

  • myoga (chopped) optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Drain the tofu and then wrap it in paper towels and place in a strainer for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture. Cut the tofu into four pieces, dry again with paper towels, then coat with the potato starch.

  2. Heat the oil to a suitable temperature for deep-frying (around 340 degrees). Carefully put the tofu pieces in to fry and when they turn golden, remove and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

  3. In a small pan heat up the dashi stock, mirin, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, ensuring that the sugar has dissolved.

  4. Divide the tofu among four bowls. Pour a little of the hot broth into each bowl and garnish with the grated daikon, a dab of grated ginger, shiso, myoga, and green onion to taste.

NOTES

This Agedashi Tofu recipe is meant to be enjoyed immediately. The broth can be saved for later, but once the tofu is fried it will not keep in the fridge.

Also if you are more a visual learner here’s a video breaking down how to make this delicious dish too!

If you are like me you get overwhelmed quickly by the cooking process and end up just ordering the dish from Windchimes!

Monthly Horoscope: April Earth Dragon
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The Month of the Earth Dragon of the Chinese calendar starts on April 6th, 2019 and ends on May 4th, 2019. On May 5th, the new moon announces the passage in the Chinese calendar from the Fire Rabbit Month to the Month of the Earth Dragon of the Year of the Earth Pig, third month of the Chinese Year.

It is a period favorable to material and social transitions, marked by realism, lucidity but also by creative ideas. Good fortune in games and lottery is also favorable, because in this Dragon Month during the Year of the Pig 2019, all hopes are allowed. It is a prosperous month in terms of organization, during which community service is encouraged and progresses at a brisk pace.

This is the perfect time to set the stage for optimizing the future profitability of projects in the making. It is finally time to embark on an entrepreneurial activity that combines leisure, creativity and profits. During this period of the Year of the Pig under the zodiac sign of the Dragon, many may be tempted to reveal projects long kept secret. For some, it will be the process of enrolling in a sports or theater club, for others start a home-made jams business or even start writing the first chapter of a novel.

In summary, during the Dragon Month during the Year of the Pig 2019, know how to share your joys, your desires as well as your fears. And in this context, the Month of the Dragon makes it possible to realize how much friendship is a precious wealth to preserve and maintain.

Here are the horoscopes for the rest of the signs:

Rat Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Rat Rating: 6 / 10

Rat, you decompress from the accumulated stress of the previous months. You are resuming your strength. This is a key period to reorganize your future. If you are considering a change of work or home, start looking now for your situation to stabilize after the summer break. Finances are stabilizing. Watch out for the words that hurt. Be indulgent.

Ox Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Ox Rating: 5 / 10

Ox (Buffalo), you have to accept some changes that you did not want to see happen. An extra effort is required at work. You will be rewarded with your organizational know-how. Delicate period with regard to affective relationships. Do not stay in your corner waiting for it to pass.

Tiger Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Tiger Rating: 6 / 10

Tiger, you feel a small drop in shape compared to last month. Be careful what you say or what you rest on. Do not always trust luck. Watch your wallet. In case of emotional breakdown do not let things last and try an immediate reconciliation.

Rabbit Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Rabbit Rating: 7 / 10

Rabbit (Cat), your projects evolve positively over time and you have something to celebrate. Some new activities may take longer than expected. Make your sense of strategy work. New associations or friendly links can strengthen your social position. On the financial level, buy useful. When it comes to love, it's your self-confidence that is your main charm. Imminent return to the big leagues.

Dragon Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Dragon Rating: 7 / 10

Dragon, beautiful monthly prospects are available to you in many areas. You will finally win your case on topics that are important to you. Finally you are being listened to you and appreciated for your merits. The joy and the will you are showing make you much more attractive. Above all, avoid having negative people around you. You do not need that, you already had your share last year.

Snake Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Snake Rating: 4 / 10

Snake, this is a difficult month financially, organizationally and in terms of relationships. You may not be able to pay your debts if you make a bad decision. Be precise and transparent in your actions. Do not try to put yourself in a mold at all costs. Do not do anything to encourage bad people or feed jealousies. It is time to get out of sight in order to keep your strength and preserve your achievements.

Horse Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Horse Rating: 5 / 10

Horse, some important questions that have not yet been resolved could fuel an underlying anxiety. Pressure on the professional level. Pay attention to the quality of your oral expression. Even if you could find yourself in difficult situations, you will still find the strength and support to resist valiantly. For this do not turn your back on people who want you good. Watch your health.

Goat Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Goat Rating: 6 / 10

Goat (Sheep), nothing obliges you to see people who give you a semblance of love and are devoid of respect for you. It is high time to move on. During this lunar month, take time for your side activities and creative work, because the Dragon has good reasons to make you a pleasant surprise. Organize yourself and stick to your agenda. Stop futile expenses that meet no other need than to satisfy the moment.

Monkey Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Monkey Rating: 6 / 10

Monkey, your morale is going up little by little. The situation continues to stabilize. Take care of the people who support you. Do not put too much distance with your allies and know how to hear good advice. Be determined but do not force things. Do not leave room for individualism. Period favorable to investments. You progress.

Rooster Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Rooster Rating: 7 / 10

Rooster, you did well to rest and avoid stress. With the arrival of the month of Dragon some good news can cheer you up. Make yourself forgiven if you have recently offended some people. Newcomers to your social circle appreciate you for your analytical sense. Realize your creative ideas. Good monthly period for love too. On the way to new adventures.

Dog Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Dog Rating: 4 / 10

Dog, this is not the time to spoil beautiful things with arguments over futile topics. Do not expose your weak points to everyone. Avoid acting under the domination of feelings. Your problems shall eventually fade over time. Be patient. Avoid aggressiveness because you might regret it later. If you feel abandoned, develop other areas of interest with new people. Courage. Stay alert.

Pig Horoscope from April 6th to May 4th, 2019
Monthly Pig Rating: 8 / 10

Pig (Boar), a joyful reunion helps you you recharge your energy. You will be supported in your future projects but for now it is more of a gestation period until a full liberation in the coming months. Some favorable solutions to recent problems will eventually make you smile again. You finally turn the page. Emotions as well as finances are stabilized. Harmony found. Luck is on your side.

Find out more here!

Food Facts: Benefits of Eating Nuts
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In general, nuts are good sources of fat, fiber and protein.

Most of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated fat, as well as omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fat. However, they do contain some saturated fat.

Nuts also pack a number of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and vitamin E.

Many studies have investigated the health benefits of increased nut intake.

One meta-analysis of 33 studies found that diets high in nuts do not significantly affect weight gain or weight loss .

Yet, despite having little effect on weight, many studies have shown that people who eat nuts live longer than those who don't. This may be due to their ability to help prevent a number of chronic diseases.

For example, nuts may reduce risk factors for metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels .

There are several yummy dishes at Windchimes that include a type of nut like our Honey Glazed Shrimp, any Kung Pao dishes, any Cashew dishes, and my favorite Honey Glazed Cashew Chicken!

Recipes to Try at Home: Cantonese Noodles
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Have you ever wanted to venture outside the typical meal? Do you want to impress someone with a new dish or just want to try to make one of your favorite dishes at home? Well, you’re in luck! Today I’m posting how to make one of our favorite dishes Cantonese Noodles!

The recipe comes from The Little Spice Jar website. Check it out below:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounces Hong Kong style egg noodles

  • 8 scallions

  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce

  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons high heat oil (such as canola, vegetable)

  • 1 ½ cups mixed veggies (such as coleslaw style cabbage, shredded carrots, and bean sprouts)

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. While the water is boiling, separate the greens from the whites of the scallion. Cut into one-inch pieces then quarter the 1-inch piece vertically so you end up with thinly julienned scallions, set aside. In a bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, stir to combine, set aside.

  2. When the water comes to a boil, add the noodles and allow them to boil for 2-4 minutes (according to package directions). Drain and rinse under cold running water.

  3. Heat a large wok or a 16-18 inch skillet over high heat. Let the skillet heat for several minutes until it becomes SCREAMING HOT. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of canola oil. When the pan becomes very hot and the oil starts to shimmer, add the noodles in a thin even layer. Grab the handle and carefully swirl the pan so the oil evenly coats all the noodles. Allow the noodles to cook for 4-6 minute or until they become crispy.

  4. Flip the noodles over using a large spatula. Do this carefully, don’t worry if you cannot get all of them to turn at once. Do it in portions if necessary. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of canola oil around the perimeters of the pan and again, lift the skillet with handle and swirl the pan to allow the oil to distribute. Let the noodles fry for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove the noodles to a plate.

  5. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, along with the white part of the scallion and let sizzle for just 10 seconds. Add the shredded carrots if using, and let cook for an additional 10 seconds. Add the noodles back into the skillet and toss. Separate the noodles so there aren’t any large clumps. Toss in the shredded cabbage mix, if using and drizzle with the soy sauce mixture and toss continuously for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce distributes evenly over the noodles.

  6. Add the bean sprouts if using and the greens of scallions. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

NOTES:

  1. For vegetarians, you can swap the oyster sauce for dark soy sauce or an oyster flavored sauce (see ingredients some of them actually don’t contain oyster extract at all!)

  2. If you do not have a skillet/wok large enough to fit all the noodles, you can do this in 2 batches (use a ½ tablespoon of sesame oil and ½ tablespoon of canola oil per batch/per side.)

The prep and cook time all take about 15 mins totaling in half an hour. Now if that doesn’t sound easy and . like a complete meal I don’t know what does!

Try it out today and post your images to show how you did!

Monthly Horoscope: March Fire Rabbit
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The month of the Fire Rabbit of the Chinese calendar starts on March 7th and end on April 5th.

Though your luck for wealth is somewhat stable, the excessive waste in daily life will make you out of cash at the end of the month and ruin the investment opportunities. In workplace, you Rabbit people will be prone to misunderstanding and you should watch your tongue in communication with coworkers; some secrets and gossips you talked with them might be spread by someone. As for love relationship, you'd better say it directly and you will get an unexpected answer or surprise.

Your work will go well and you will be as busy as a bee for the project or business in your charge. The high-intensity state will improve your efficiency significantly and the work will go well with your efforts. The stressful work, however, will make you short-tempered and you should watch your attitude toward colleagues, or you will be envied and hated. Your income from work will be good but not for windfall, so stay away from gambling and consider about conservative investments or conventional savings.

Unique Vegetables in Chinese Food: Bamboo Shoots
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China is a large continent which in turn brings a lot of different food varieties. One vegetable that is seen in a lot of different Chinese cuisines in Bamboo shoots. What are they you ask?

As the name implies, bamboo shoots are the edible shoots of the bamboo plant, which is native to Asia. They are cut from the plant once they appear above the ground to preserve their tenderness and because if they are left to grow exposed, they will turn a green color. 

Fresh bamboo shoots are available at Asian or Chinese markets, or you can find canned bamboo shoots at most local grocery stores. Fresh shoots need to be boiled until tender, then husked and cut into pieces. Canned bamboo shoots only need to be heated since they are pre-cooked.

You may have eaten bamboo shoots at a Chinese restaurant as they are often part of a stir-fry. You can try them at home in almost any stir-fry dish, including stir-fry beef with bamboo shoots and stir-fry mushrooms and bamboo shoots.

Next time you order your favorite dish from Windchimes thing…does this have Bamboo shoots in it?

 
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Recipes to Try at Home: Spring Rolls
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SPRING ROLLS

  • Yield: 24 spring rolls

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes

  • Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Course: Appetizer, dim sum

Spring Rolls are the vegetarian super light, crispy and tender vegetarian appetizer cousin of the traditional egg roll.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup canola oil divided

  • 8 cups napa cabbage sliced thinly

  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  • 2 carrots sliced thinly

  • 8 ounces bamboo shoots sliced thinly

  • 2 tablespoons mirin

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 24 8" square spring roll wrappers

  • canola oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add half the canola oil to a large heavy skillet on medium high heat and add in the napa cabbage cooking 8-10 minutes while stirring until almost all the liquid it releases has cooked off.

  2. Add in the garlic, carrots and bamboo shoots and cook for 1 minute while stirring before adding in the mirin, soy sauce and sesame oil and stirring again then let filling cool completely.

  3. Mix cornstarch with two tablespoons of water.

  4. Lay out the spring roll wrapper, brush cornstarch slurry around the edges to moisten and add about 2 tablespoons of filling in a long rectangle shape, folding in from the sides and rolling the wrappers closed tightly.

  5. Heat 3 inches of oil in a dutch oven to 325 degrees and fry the spring rolls until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).