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Recipe  •  10 February 2023

 

Vegetable & Mushroom Spring Rolls

A staple snack with a twist.

Made with a meaty blend of shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, and bamboo shoots, these crispy spring rolls have so much flavor that you might not even notice or care that they’re vegetarian. We especially love the enoki mushrooms, which add a nice crunch and moisture to the filling. Make a big batch and keep them in the freezer—it’s an absolute treat to take a few out and fry them up whenever a craving hits. They’re perfect with rice vinegar for dipping.

Makes: 25 spring rolls


INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

  • 2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms (about 20 medium)
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 7 ounces fresh enoki mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely julienned fresh ginger
  • 2⅔ cups finely julienned carrot (about 8 ounces)
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced shallots (from 3 to 4 medium)
  • 8 ounces canned bamboo shoots, julienned (about 2 cups; see Tip, page 47)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper powder
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Fine sea salt


For assembly, frying and serving:

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 (12-ounce) package spring roll wrappers (25 sheets)
  • Neutral oil, for frying
  • Rice vinegar, for serving
  • (ideally, Shanghai rice vinegar)


METHOD


Make The Filling: 

Soak the shiitake mushrooms in the hot water for 2 hours (or overnight), until fully rehydrated. Drain, reserving the mushroom-soaking water. Squeeze out any excess water, remove any tough stems, and thinly slice the mushrooms.

Add 2 tablespoons of the mushroom-soaking water to a small dish with the cornstarch to make a slurry. (Save the remaining mushroom-soaking liquid.)

Trim off about 1 inch of the root ends of the enoki mushrooms, then wash, drain, and separate the large bunches into thinner strands.

With a wok over medium heat, add the neutral oil. Cook the ginger for 30 seconds, until caramelized on the edges. Add the carrots and shallots, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until the oil turns an orange color from the carrots and the shallots absorb some of that orange hue.

Add the sliced shiitakes and the bamboo shoots. Increase the heat to high and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until any liquid released from the vegetables has cooked off completely. Reduce the heat to medium and add the Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, and sesame oil. Stir to combine. Add the enoki mushrooms and 1 cup of the reserved mushroom-soaking water (leaving behind any sediment at the bottom of the bowl). Increase the heat to high and cook for 2 minutes, until the enoki mushrooms are cooked through and there is still some visible sauce in the wok. Add salt to taste.

Stir the cornstarch slurry again to fully combine, then pour the slurry into the center of the mixture. Immediately turn off the heat, and with the residual heat, stir and mix everything well. The mixture should be wet, but there should be no standing liquid. (If there is still standing liquid, continue cooking over medium-low heat to reduce it.)

Transfer the filling to a bowl and let cool completely (to expedite, transfer to the refrigerator).

Assemble The Spring Rolls:

Prepare another slurry, this time by mixing 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons boiling water. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place a spring roll wrapper on a flat, clean work surface, with one corner pointing toward you (it should look like a diamond). Place about 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling 2 inches from the corner closest to you. (For accuracy, you can weigh the filling and divide that totalby 25 to get an exact filling weight for each spring roll.)

Roll the corner over the filling once and gently press down on both sides of the filling to flatten the spring roll wrapper and squeeze out any air bubbles. Next, fold both the left and right sides of the wrapper toward the center. Continue rolling the spring roll into a tight cigar. When you're about 2 inches from the opposite corner of the wrapper, stir the cornstarch slurry with your finger, then gently brush it on the edges of the wrapper (like an envelope seal) and finish rolling. (Using egg wash can create stains on the wrapper after frying, which is why we use cornstarch slurry.) Place the spring roll seam side down on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat until you’ve assembled all the spring rolls. The spring rolls must be either fried or frozen within 1 hour of assembly (see Freezing Spring Rolls).


Fry The Spring Rolls:

Place a wire cooling rack on a sheet pan or line a plate with paper towels. Fill a small pot (which requires less oil) with 2 to 3 inches of the neutral oil—just enough to submerge the spring rolls when frying. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat until it reaches 350°F on an instant-read thermometer. (Or dip a bamboo or wooden chopstick into the hot oil. The oil is ready when small bubbles form around the chopstick.) Fry the spring rolls in small batches of 4 to 5 at a time. Use chopsticks or a slotted spoon to turn the spring rolls a few times during the frying process, and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. If you notice the oil temperature dropping, increase the heat under the pot. If the wrappers begin to form bubbles on their surface, the oil is too hot; turn off the heat until the oil cools to 350°F. Transfer the fried spring rolls to the wire rack or plate to drain. Serve with rice vinegar for dipping.

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The Woks of Life
The family behind the acclaimed blog The Woks of Life shares 100 of their favorite home-cooked and restaurant-style Chinese recipes.
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