Smoked tofu and wood fungus spring rolls

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Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

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Spring roll wrappers need to be at room temperature as they are then more pliable. Those I used here were 20cm square; if you can only find larger wrappers, cut them down to size, and if you can only find smaller ones you’ll get quite a few more smaller rolls. Black vinegar can be bought from Chinese food stores and is absolutely delicious – not too acidic, quite sweet and with flavours of cinnamon, orange peel and star anise. If you can’t find it, replace it with equal parts lemon juice, soy sauce and runny honey. Several types of dried wood fungus can be found in Chinese food stores – brown, black, purple and white – all of which will work. While not adding much flavour, they give a great texture. If you can’t find smoked tofu, use firm tofu or smoked chicken.


  • 30 g dried wood fungus, soaked for 50 minutes in 1.5 litres tepid water
  • 200 g smoked tofu, cut into batons 1cm square in section
  • 100 g beansprouts, rinsed, drained and gently patted dry
  • 1 small can (140g drained weight) of water chestnuts, sliced (or use fresh peeled water chestnuts)
  • 100 g oyster mushrooms, pulled apart
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • large handful of basil (regular or Thai), coarsely shredded
  • large handful of coriander, cut into 1cm lengths (stalk and all)
  • ten 20 cm square spring roll wrappers, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • black vinegar, for dipping


Drain the fungus, pat it dry and cut any tough stalks from it, then cut it into 1cm wide ribbons and put in a large bowl. Add the tofu, beansprouts, water chestnuts, mushrooms, spring onions, basil and coriander, and mix well together.

Pull the spring roll wrappers apart carefully and lay them back on top of each other. Line a tray with baking parchment. Take one wrapper at a time and lay it in front of you in a diamond shape. Brush the far corner quarter with beaten egg. Take a tenth of the mixture and lay it across the centre of the wrapper from left to right – keeping a 3cm gap clear at both ends. Take the corner nearest you and fold it over the filling, holding it quite firmly, then roll towards the middle. Fold both the left and right corners towards the centre, holding the filling quite firmly, then continue to roll away from you to give you something hopefully resembling a spring roll. If the wrapper has broken, then you’re best to unroll and start again. Roll another 9 spring rolls in the same way. Lay the rolls side by side on the tray with the seam on the bottom. You can leave them for 30 minutes before cooking them, but any longer and the filling can cause the wrappers to break.

Heat oil for deep-frying to 180°C and cook the rolls in batches, bring careful not to overcrowd the fryer. Try to keep the rolls submerged as they cook and, once they are golden, remove them and transfer to a tray lined with absorbent paper. They will be incredibly hot – all the moisture from the filling having turned to steam, which will burn your mouth – so leave them for 2–3 minutes before eating, dipping them into the vinegar.