These vegan spring rolls are a fantastic recipe to entertain your friends and family. Each one is packed with minced tofu, shiitake mushrooms and sweet potato which give it an amazing texture and flavour. They can be made in large batches and frozen, so are perfect for making in advance for parties or a rainy day!
What do you usually procrastinate over all through Spring, then end up forcing yourself to do in Summer? Spring cleaning of course! Right now, Steph’s working through her home-improvements / cleaning list, giving our apartment a much needed face-lift.
You see, Steph is a list person. She creates lists for things to do, things to pack, things to buy, everything. Unfortunately, I am not. I am more spontaneous and prefer to do things whenever I feel like it! Of course, like most couples we compromise. I follow the list and she allows me to live. And on those days where I refuse out of principle, we have a showdown. Much like my parents, she is armed with lists of all the bad things I have done in my life and a very colourful recollection of history while I always have the advantage of the moral high ground. In the end, no one wins and we both retire to our separate quarters to recover from our war of fighting words!
The other list Steph has been powering through is her list of vegan recipes she wants to try, which admittedly have sometimes turned out well and sometimes not so well. What I’ve learnt through Steph’s experiments is that I do sometimes enjoy vegan food, especially from really good vegan bloggers who actually put time, effort and thought into their recipes. I found these people really inspiring and now I am making a series of my own vegan recipes.
The philosophy I’ve tried to apply with my vegan spring rolls is one where people would eat it and not know it was vegan. This was my goal and I believe I have somewhat achieved it. I’ve modeled it off my pork and prawn spring rolls, using minced tofu as it has a similar texture to pork mince, then masked the tofu flavour with shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and sweet potato.
My Tips for Success
- Get as much moisture out of the filling as possible. The reason for this is so that the pastry stays crispier for longer. So, it is very important to squeeze the liquid out of the tofu, shiitake mushroom and black fungus. Also remember to pat dry all your ingredients after cleaning.
- Don’t soak the noodles! Rinse them in cold water and allow the noodles to absorb the moisture in the filling instead.
- There should be at least 2 layers of pastry wrapped around each spring roll. The inner most layers will absorb a lot of moisture in the form of steam. This protects the outer most layers from the moisture which keeps it crispier for longer. So, use smaller amounts of filling to allow more layers to form around each roll.
- Roll the spring rolls tight to avoid air pockets. If your spring rolls are flimsy then as soon as they hit the oil, they will likely start falling apart. To make them tight, squash the filling down into the wrapper before rolling!
- Don’t let the noodles hang out of the spring roll. This is because the noodles become really hard when deep fried and tend to get stuck in the gaps of your teeth. This can be very annoying, so avoid at all costs!
- Double fry your spring rolls for maximum crunch and colour. This method involves frying the spring rolls until slightly golden and then taking out to drain. Just before serving, put the spring rolls back into the oil and fry again until golden brown. Personally I don’t bother doing this because I find it a bit too tedious, but it definitely makes a difference. If you try this method be careful, since they burn easier!
- If you are planning on freezing the spring rolls, then place them side by side in a zip lock bag and put them into them freezer. Do not stack the bags of spring rolls on top of each other until they are frozen. Also, avoid letting them sit at room temperature for too long, since they will begin to sweat inside the bag and stick together.
- If your spring rolls look pale but are definitely cooked then it is usually then it is usually because the oil temperature is too low. Also, spring roll wrappers without egg tend to be more paler in colour then the ones that do contain egg.
- If the spring rolls have a bubbly finish to them, then the oil temperature is too high.
- If the oil is going black, then oil is burnt because you have used a type of oil with a low burning point. I generally use vegetable oil for deep frying.
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Vegan Fried Spring Rolls
These vegan spring rolls are a fantastic recipe to entertain your friends and family. Each one is packed with minced tofu, shiitake mushrooms and sweet potato which give it an amazing texture and flavour.
- 1 L boiling water
- 8 dried shiitake mushrooms finely chopped
- 10 gm dried shredded wood ear mushroom / black fungus, roughly chopped (available at Asian groceries)
- 250 gm sweet potato, mashed
- 150 gm firm tofu, mashed
- 1 small onion (80 gm), finely chopped
- 100 gm cabbage, finely shredded
- 100 gm carrot, shredded
- 1 tbsp oil
- 40 gm bean thread, rinsed under the tap and cut into 2 cm pieces
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt (or a good pinch)
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 50 medium (12.5 cm x 12.5 cm) spring roll wrappers with no egg, thawed
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water
- Sweet chilli sauce
Spring Roll Filling
Cut the shiitake mushrooms into quarters with a pair of kitchen scissors and soak them in a bowl with plenty of boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes
Add the black fungus into a bowl with plenty of boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes.
Prep the vegetables. Remember to dry the vegetables with kitchen towels whenever possible.
Finely chop the sweet potato and put it into a bowl. Add a 1 tbsp of water, cover the bowl with cling wrap and put it in the microwave for 4.5 minutes on high. With a fork, mash the sweet potato and leave aside uncovered.
Cut the tofu into smaller chunks and mash it with your fingers in a large bowl. Using paper towels, squash the tofu against the bowl to remove moisture. Leave aside
Take out the shiitake mushrooms and squeeze out the liquid. Pat dry and chop. Repeat with the black fungus.
Heat a non stick frying pan on medium and a tbsp of oil. Sweat the onions until starting to turn golden
Add the mashed tofu, shiitake mushrooms and black fungus and fry for a few minutes. Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, salt and pepper. Continue stirring and cook off the moisture for at least 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a bowl, add the cabbage, carrot, sweet potato, rinsed bean thread and sugar. Mix well. Then add the cooled tofu mixture and combine well with your hands. (Make sure to fully incorporate the mashed sweet potato.)
Allow the to sit for 15 minutes so that that bean thread can soak up the liquid in the mixture.
Add the cornstarch and 2 tbsp of water into a small bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds or until it goes gooey.
Rolling (Please refer to pictures above)
Separate 10 or so spring roll wrappers at a time and put rest back into the packaging. Do not separate them all at once because they will dry out.
Place a heaped teaspoon or a scant tbsp of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Spread the filling out in a small log shape and compact it down with your fingers.
Fold the side corners towards the middle and press down around the filling to make sure it is compacted.
Lift the bottom corner over the filling and roll tightly without squeezing the filling out.
Finish the roll with a bit of cornstarch glue on the top corner to keep it together.
Add enough vegetable oil to a pot so that the depth is at least 3 cm. Heat the oil on medium heat.
Slide the spring rolls into the oil one at a time and be careful of splash back. Try not to overcrowd the pot with spring rolls. If the spring rolls are frozen, then remove any ice on the pastry first.
Cook the spring rolls until they are floating on top of the oil and are a golden colour.
Take them out with a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs and let them drain on a rack. Do not let them cool on top of each other.
Repeat and serve ASAP.