Here the spring rolls are wrapped in a light flour pancake, known as ‘Shanghai spring roll wrappers’. They are lighter because the dough does not contain egg, and they are available at Chinese grocers and supermarkets.
Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. Then drain them and squeeze out the excess liquid. Remove and discard the stems, and finely shred the caps into thin strips.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the garlic, ginger and spring onions and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the prawns, mushrooms and Chinese leaves and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes. Toss in the bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, salt and pepper; add the soy sauces and rice wine and stir-fry for 5 minutes, mixing well. Finally, stir in the sesame oil and remove from the heat. Put the mixture into a colander set in a bowl to drain, pressing out any excess moisture, and allow it to cool thoroughly.
Mix the flour and water until you have a smooth paste.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is hot and pour in the groundnut oil. When the oil is quite hot, gently drop in as many spring rolls as will fit easily in one layer. Carefully fry them, turning from time to time, until the spring rolls are golden brown on the outside and cooked inside, about 4 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary. Take the spring rolls out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. You will have to fry them in several batches. Serve them at once, hot and crispy, with the sweet-and-sour dipping sauce.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.