Many years ago, one of my dinner party recipes was a nori-lined spring roll stuffed with marron we’d caught while visiting a local dam, the heads poking out of the end of the spring roll for presentation.
It’s an recipe easily adapted to prawns and asparagus or, in this case, to shitake mushrooms and asparagus to make the recipe vegetarian.
Use fresh spring roll skins, kept moist by covering with a clean damp teatowel while you are working.
I shallow fry my rolls, but they can be flash fried. Make sure the oil is hot enough so the rolls don’t become soggy.
Cut on the cross and serve one upright for presentation.
Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the shiitake mushrooms in a single layer and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden. Turn and fry other side. Repeat with other batches. Remove from the heat and add 2 tsp soy sauce to each batch while still hot. Toss to coat mushrooms. Allow to cool. Drain excess fluid.
In a small bowl, mix Kewpie mayonnaise with sriracha sauce and set aside.
Lay out chilli mayo mix, mushrooms, asparagus, sliced carrot, Thai basil, chives and spinach in a row ready to make your rolls.
To roll, have the short edge of the nori closest to you, the long edge running away from you. Spread a small amount of chilli mayo across the nori sheet 1cm in from the near edge. On top of the mayo strip, lay a small amount of each vegetable and herb evenly across the width of the nori. Pick up the edge of the nori closest to you and roll up the vegetables and herbs as tightly as you can in the nori, leaving both ends open.
Take a spring roll skin, placing a corner in front of you and a corner away from you. Place the nori roll on top of the spring roll skin close to your nearest corner. Roll the spring roll skin around the nori, stretching it slightly as you go and folding in the side edges like an envelope to enclose the nori roll. (For presentation, you may choose to leave the asparagus top outside the nori sheet, folding that corner of the spring roll sheet in as you complete this step.)
Repeat Step 4 until your vegetables have been used. (A damp tea towel or Chux will stop your spring roll skins from drying out.)
Heat the oil in a large pan. (The width of the pan must be greater than the length of the rolls.) Shallow fry the rolls over moderate heat, taking care not to break the skins when turning them. Drain on absorbent paper and cut diagonally.
Serve immediately with two sauces: Kewpie sesame soy dressing and Kewpie roasted sesame dressing or Mae Ploy sweet Chilli sauce. (Kewpie sesame soy dressing could also be used.)
NOTE: This recipe uses 4 sheets each of nori and spring roll skins, making 4 rolls. It serves two with sides as a meal, or 4 as an entrée.