Who doesn’t like crisp spring rolls? Serve these with little bowls of hot mustard for dipping.
- 1 small napa cabbage
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 pieces commercial deep-fried tofu (optional)
- 1 box extra-firm silken tofu or ½ carton soft tofu
- 2 teaspoons roasted peanut oil
- ¼ cup chopped scallions, including half of the greens
- ½ pound fresh mushrooms, brown, white, or shiitake, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 heaping tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, plus cilantro sprigs for garnish
- 15 egg roll wrappers
- 2 cups peanut oil, for frying
1. Quarter the cabbage lengthwise, then slice it crosswise into thin strips. Measure 5 cups, place in a colander, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toss and set aside.
2. Boil several cups of water. Pour half over the deep-fried tofu, if using, to rid it of the extra oil. Pour just enough to cover the dried mushrooms and let steep for 15 minutes. Squeeze them dry, remove and discard the stems, and thinly slice the caps.
3. Cut the fried tofu into slivers and the fresh tofu into tiny cubes. Bring 1 quart water to a boil in a 10 to 12 inch skillet, add 1 teaspoon salt, then lower the heat to a simmer. Carefully add the fresh tofu and cook for 2 minutes. Remove and set on a cloth towel to drain.
4. Heat the oil in a wok or nonstick skillet. When hot, add the scallions and fresh and dried mushrooms. Sauté quickly over brisk heat for 1 minute, then scrape the mixture into a bowl. Squeeze the moisture out of the cabbage and add it to the scallion mixture along with the remaining ingredients. Taste, adjust salt, add pepper, and make sure the seasonings are bright and lively.
5. Lay an egg roll wrapper on the counter facing you on the diagonal. Place about 3 tablespoons filling in the center. Brush a strip of water around the edges, then fold the bottom up, the sides over, and roll. Repeat until all the filling is used.
6. Heat 2 cups peanut oil in a wok or skillet. When hot enough to sizzle a corner of a wrapper, add a roll and fry, turning once, until golden and crisp. Remove to drain on a paper towel and repeat until all are done. Cut them in half on the diagonal, arrange on a platter, and garnish with long sprigs of cilantro. Serve with hot mustard for dipping.