I like to think of myself as a spring roll connoisseur. I’ve eaten a lot of spring rolls in my life, both good and bad. Generally, out of all the spring rolls there are in the world—almost every Asian country has their own variation—I prefer the Vietnamese variety.
It might be the sweet-salty, unmistakable flavour of the fish sauce that accompanies cha gio, but I think my love might have more to do with the combination of ground pork and wood ear mushrooms. I have a fierce love for pork, but pork is meat, and since I’m going meat free, I made spring rolls where I replaced the pork with two types of mushrooms, shiitake and enoki.
While these spring rolls don’t taste as hearty as their meat-filled cousins, they are light, fresh and flavourful. Who can resist earthy mushrooms, sweet carrots, crunchy wood ear mushrooms and silky strands of noodles wrapped up in a delicious deep-fried wrapper? You won’t even miss the meat!
Mushroom Spring Roll Recipe
yields about 20-25
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup wood ear mushrooms
100 grams enoki mushrooms
1 carrot, shredded
1 bundle of mung bean noodles
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
spring roll wrappers
1 egg lightly beaten
oil for deep frying
Soak the shiitake and wood ear mushrooms for 30 minutes in hot water until soft and pliable. De-stem the shiitakes and thinly slice. Chop the wood ear mushrooms into small pieces.
Trim the ends off the enoki mushrooms, wash, then cut into pieces about 1 inch long.
Prepare the mung bean noodles according to the package instructions, then drain and using scissors, cut into 1-2 inch pieces.
Mix all the ingredients (minus the wrappers and egg) in a bowl until everything is incorporated. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
Take a wrapper and place it so that it looks like a diamond. Take 1 tablespoon of filling and place it near the corner of the diamond that is closest to you. Fold up the point so that it covers the filling. Fold in the sides of the diamond and roll up. Put a dab of egg on the last tip so that your spring roll holds together. Repeat until all the filling is used. Cover the spring rolls with saran so that the skin doesn’t dry out.
Heat up 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep-sided pot until it reaches 350-375˚. Gently lower the spring rolls into the hot oil and deep-fry until golden and crispy. Make sure you don’t crowd the oil or the temperature will drop and your spring rolls will be soggy. When golden brown and crispy, remove from the oil and let sit on paper towels. Make sure you let the rolls rest a bit before enjoying, they’re super hot! Serve with fish sauce.