Here is a delightful vegetarian version of Thai spring rolls. They make a perfect starter for a Thai meal or can be served with drinks for a large crowd.
1 cup mushrooms
4 oz tinned bamboo shoots
1 small zucchini
2 celery stalks
2-3 green onions
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2–3 tablespoons plain flour
2–3 tablespoons water
1 packet small rice paper wrappers
14 oz favorite cooking oil
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried chili powder or flakes
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
Peel and cut the carrots into 5 cm (2 in) long, fine strips. Cut the bamboo shoots and zucchini into 2 in fine strips also. Finely slice the celery, green onions and mushrooms.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the 1½ tablespoons of oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the garlic and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Then add the carrots and stir-fry for another minute. Now add the remaining vegetables, the soy sauce, red curry paste, and black pepper and stir-fry the mixture for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro. Allow the mixture to cool thoroughly.
In a small bowl, mix the flour and water together into a paste.
When you are ready to make the spring rolls, fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one of the rice paper rounds in the water and let it soften. Remove and drain it on a linen towel. Put about 2 tablespoons of the filling on the softened wrapper. Fold in each side and then roll it up tightly. Seal the ends with a little of the flour-paste mixture. You should have a roll about 7.5cm (3 in) long, a little like a small sausage.
Repeat the procedure until you have used up all the filling.
Heat the remaining oil in a deep-fat fryer or a large wok until it is hot. Deep-fry the spring rolls, a few at a time, until golden brown. They have a tendency to stick to each other at the beginning of the frying, so only fry a few at a time. Do not attempt to break them apart during frying: you can do this after they are removed from the oil. Drain them on kitchen paper. Serve at once with the dipping sauce.
This sauce may be made well ahead of time. Combine all the ingredients together in a blender, mixing them thoroughly. Let the mixture sit at least 10 minutes before using.