Vegetarian Spring Rolls


Yet another filled savory appetizer is the Chinese spring roll. This recipe is for a vegetarian version, served in quantity as a main dish, or just one or two as an appetizer. Try to fry them at the last minute so they remain crunchy and crisp. The "bad news" about this recipe is that it takes about 1 hour to prepare them and another hour to clean up the mess on the stove. The "good news," however, is that they are so terrific that you'll get a lot of help from everyone eating. I serve them either before Beef and Broccoli on a Bird's Nest or Hot and Sour Hunan Chicken. Yield: 16 large spring rolls

Heat a wok or frying pan until a bead of water evaporates immediately on contact. Add 1 T. oil, and sauté leeks. Add bean sprouts, and fry 30 seconds. Transfer this mixture to a colander to drain. Reheat pan, add more oil, and sauté ginger and garlic, 10 seconds. Add chopped mushrooms and carrots. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add cabbage, and fry 30 seconds. Add soy (mixed with cornstarch and sesame oil) and rice wine. Stir constantly until slightly thick (30 seconds). Cool mixture on cookie sheet. Combine with beansprout mixture.

Fill the wrappers as for blintzes or grape leaves, that is, place a few spoons of the filling near but not at the shorter edge of the wrapper. Roll slightly, fold in the outer edges, and continue to roll to the end. Seal with a mixture of egg yolk, water and flour. Deep fry in canola oil until golden brown.

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