VEGETARIAN SPRING ROLLS

For my spring rolls, I use dried bean-curd skins, which are available in Chinatown. Trimming them is a bit fiddly, but the fresh, light texture makes it worth the effort.

CAPTION

SERVES 4

500g dried bean-curd skins

1 free-range egg, lightly beaten

vegetable oil, for deep-frying

½ cup sweet chilli sauce

Filling

50g glass noodles

2 free-range eggs

2 tbsp vegetable oil

½ cup bean sprouts

½ small carrot, cut into matchsticks

½ small cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 green (spring) onion, cut into matchsticks

½ bunch mint, leaves only

½ bunch coriander, leaves only

50g fresh black cloud ear fungus, cores removed, finely sliced

For filling, soak noodles in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and, using scissors, cut noodles into small lengths. Set aside.

Lightly beat eggs in a bowl. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat until surface shimmers. Pour in half the egg and tilt pan to spread mixture evenly over base. Cook for 1 minute without disturbing; the egg will bubble up and become lightly golden underneath. Slide egg crêpe onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Wipe out pan, add remaining oil and beaten egg and repeat. When crêpes have cooled slightly, roll each one up and cut into 3mm-thick slices. Add egg to noodles with remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

To make spring rolls, cut bean-curd skins into 18cm-square wrappers (you will need 8-10 in total). Cover wrappers in a damp tea towel to stop them drying out. Place a wrapper on a work surface, place ½ cup filling diagonally across the centre, and roll up tightly, tucking in ends to enclose. Seal using beaten egg. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Heat oil to 190°C and deep-fry spring rolls, in batches, for about 30 seconds or until golden. Drain on kitchen towel. Cut each roll in half on the diagonal. Serve immediately, with sweet chilli sauce for dipping.

 

SASHIMI OF SNAPPER WITH CHILLI-LIME DRESSING

Seek out the freshest piece of snapper you can find for this simple yet stunning recipe.

CAPTION

SERVES 2-4

300g sashimi-grade snapper fillet, cut into 5mm diagonal slices

1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns (optional)

3 tbsp salt flakes (optional)

Chilli-lime dressing

1½ tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp grapeseed oil

½ tsp white sugar

½ tsp dried chilli flakes

¼ tsp sesame oil

juice of ½ lime

Arrange fish slices on a platter. Dry-roast Sichuan peppercorns and salt (if using) in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat, tossing occasionally, for 1-2 minutes or until peppercorns begin to pop and become aromatic. Allow to cool, then coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. Set aside. (Makes 2¼ tbsp; will store in an airtight container for several weeks.)

Place dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Drizzle dressing over snapper and garnish with a pinch of Sichuan pepper mix, if using. The chilli-lime dressing works well with any type of seafood.

 

DEEP-FRIED SCHOOL PRAWNS WITH CHILLI SALT AND LEMON

These tiny prawns are best eaten while they are hot and crisp. They are so small that you can eat the entire prawn, head and all.

CAPTION

SERVES 4

2 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 tbsp salt flakes

1 cup vegetable oil, for deep-frying

200g green (raw) small school prawns, patted dry

1 lemon, halved

For chilli salt, dry-roast chilli flakes and salt in a heavy-based pan over medium heat, tossing occasionally, for 1-2 minutes, or until salt changes colour and mixture becomes aromatic. Allow to cool, then coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. Set aside. (Makes 1½ tbsp; will store in an airtight container for several weeks.)

In a wok, heat enough oil for deep-frying to 190°C or until surface shimmers. Carefully, add half the prawns and deep-fry, turning occasionally, for 1½ minutes or until golden and crunchy. Drain on kitchen paper. Return oil to 190°C and repeat with remaining prawns.

Arrange prawns on a platter, sprinkle with a good pinch of chilli salt and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Recipes from Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking Class, with photography by Earl Carter, published by Lantern ($59.95).

From: Sunday Life