Vegetarian Spring Rolls (chun juan) from Helen and Lisa Tse's "Chinese Street Food Odyssey"

One Chinese New Year, I remember my dad drinking too many beers and ending up waving about ten spring rolls in each hand, shouting ‘I’m going to get rich this year! Look how many gold bars I’ve got.’ This was a time before there were such things as the lottery. We were laughing so hard that we had tears running down our faces. Dad never got rich that year but our New Year certainly started with a bang. Spring rolls resemble gold bars and symbolize wealth, and are particularly popular during Chinese New Year. They come with a variety of fillings. Dad likes vegetable. Mum likes chicken. Such is life.

Makes 15 spring rolls

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Heat the wok over a high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Add the bean sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, bamboo shoots and noodles, season with the salt, sugar, five-spice powder, sesame oil and soy sauce and stir-fry for 5 minutes, then set aside. Tip the mixture into a colander to drain off any excess liquid. 

Separate the spring roll wrappers. Put the first wrapper on a clean work surface at an angle, so the point of a diamond shape is nearest you. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling near the point of the wrapper and roll it forward. When the wrapper is rolled halfway, fold in the sides on the left and right. Brush some of the flour paste on the top corner and roll forward to close the spring roll. Continue until you have made all the spring rolls. 

Half-fill a wok or saucepan with vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 180°C/350°F; if you don’t have a cooking thermometer, test by dipping a wooden chopstick or wooden spoon into the oil – if bubbles immediately form around the chopstick the oil is hot enough. Carefully drop in three or four spring rolls and cook for 6–7 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides. (Cook in batches to prevent the oil from dropping in temperature.) Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce for dipping.

Lisa’s tips The uncooked spring rolls can be frozen for up to one month in a well-sealed airtight container. Thaw and deep-fry from frozen, in batches.

Reprinted with permission from Chinese Street Food Odyssey by Helen and Lisa Tse, copyright © 2017. Published by Pavilion Books.

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