Special Spring Rolls

Spring rolls, also known as egg rolls, are a tasty filling wrapped in a thin dough and deep-fried until crispy. Here, for the filling and pork marinade, use medium-dry sherry if Shaohsing wine is not available.

Recipe courtesy of "Yan-Kit's Classic Chinese Cookbook" by Yan-Kit So. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Special Spring Rolls

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    Ingredients

    1 pound (450 grams) carrots 2 tablespoons thin soy sauce
    6 ounces (175 grams) cellophane noodles 30 to 35 pieces large spring roll wrappers, about 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 inches (21 to 24 centimeters) square
    10 medium dried Chinese mushrooms, reconstituted lightly beaten egg white
    8 ounces (225 grams) lean pork peanut or corn oil for deep-frying
    8 ounces (225 grams) raw shrimp or10 ounces (280 grams) medium prawns in the shell but without heads 1/2 teaspoon salt
    8 ounces (225 grams) sugar peas or French beans, trimmed 1/4 teaspoon sugar
    5 tablespoons peanut or corn oil 2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine 6 turns pepper mill
    1/2 to 1 3/4 inch (1 to 4.5 centimeters fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped fine 1 teaspoon Shaohshing wine
    6 or 8 scallions, cut into small rounds 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    1 tablespoon Shaohsing wine or medium-dry sherry 1 teaspoon potato flour
    6 ounces (175 grams) canned bamboo shoots, cut into matchstick-sized strips 1 1/2 tablespoons water

    directions

    Total:
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    • 1

      Peel and cut the carrots into strips. Place them in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of salt to draw out the water. Drain after 30 minutes. Pat dry, if necessary.

    • 2

      Put the cellophane noodles into a large bowl and pour 4 cups of boiling water over them. Cover and let soak and expand for at least 30 minutes. Drain well. Cut up roughly.

    • 3

      Drain and squeeze out excess water from the mushrooms but leave damp. Shred into thin slivers. (Do not use a food processor.)

    • 4

      Cut the pork into matchstick-sized pieces. Put into a bowl.

    • 5

      Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, pepper, wine or sherry, oil, potato flour and water to the pork. Stir well to coat. Let marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.

    • 6

      Shell and devein the prawns, if necessary; slice into pieces similar in size to the pork. If shrimp are used, they can be left whole or halved. Put into a bowl.

    • 7

      Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, pepper, and oil to the shrimp or prawns. Let marinate for 15 minutes.

    • 8

      Cut the peas or beans diagonally into strips similar to the bamboo shoots.

    • 9

      Heat a wok over high heat until smoke rises. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil and swirl it around. Add the garlic, half the ginger and half the scallions. When the garlic sizzles and takes on color, add the pork and turn and toss with the wok scoop for about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and continue to flip and turn for another minute. Splash in the wine (or use medium-dry sherry) along the edge of the wok and continue to flip and toss. When the sizzling dies down, put in the mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Stir until hot. Remove and cool.

    • 10

      Pour the remaining oil into the wok and swirl it around. Add the remaining ginger and scallions. Add the peas and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir in the carrots and then the cellophane noodles. Continue to stir, over less fierce heat, until hot, letting any excess water evaporate. Season with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and the thin soy sauce. Transfer to a large dish and leave to cool.

    • 11

      Place a spring roll wrapper on a flat dish or a clear surface, arranging it in a diamond shape. Put about 2 tablespoons of the vegetable filling just off the center and top with about 1 tablespoon of the other filling. Spread it out about 5 inches (12.5 centimeters) wide. Tucking in the filling, fold up the bottom flap (a) and start rolling. Midway, fold the 2 side flaps toward the center (b), brush the remaining flap with the egg white (c) and fold it up (d) to seal the spring roll tightly. Repeat until all are done.

    • 12

      Half fill a wok or deep fryer with oil. Heat to a temperature of 350°F (180°C), or until a cube of stale bread browns in 60 seconds. Carefully add about 6 to 8 spring rolls at a time or however many will float freely and deep-fry for about 4 minutes, or until pale golden, turning over periodically. Remove with a hand strainer or perforated spoon and drain on paper towels. To crisp, reheat the oil to 350°F (180°C) and deep-fry a second time for 1 or 2 minutes, or until golden. Remove and drain. Serve hot.

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