the appetizer:

Chinese cooking, like most of Asia, focuses first on a starch like rice or noodles, then adds an accompaniment of meat or seafood, rather than meat first, starch and vegetables second, as found in European-influenced cuisines. Recipes in China are as diverse as the language, with its 80,000 characters, and Chinese immigrants have brought this complex culinary heritage to almost every region of the world.

Global Destinations


Miniature Spring Rolls

by Martin Yan

Makes 24

Originally a Shanghai specialty, spring rolls are served in many parts of China on the first day of spring, which is also the Chinese New Year. Here's an easy way to miniaturized them for a year-round appetizer.

3 dried black mushrooms
2 ounces dried bean thread noodles or dried rice stick noodles
1 small carrot, julienned
1 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 pound boneless chicken or pork

2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon oyster flavored sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice

1 tablespoon cooking oil
12 spring roll or egg roll wrappers, cut in half diagonally
Cooking oil for deep-frying


l. Soak mushrooms in warm water cover until softened, about 15 minutes; drain. Trim stems and thinly slice caps. Soak bean threads in warm water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes; drain. Cut bean thread noodles into 4-inch lengths. Combine mushrooms and bean thread noodles in a bowl and add remaining filling ingredients; mix well.

2. Cut chicken into thin slices then cut slices into thin strips. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, swirling to coat sides. Add chicken and stir-fry for 1-1/2 minutes. Add filling ingredients and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Remove the chicken mixture to a bowl and let cool.

4. To make each spring roll, place a triangular wrapper on work surface with long side facing you; keep remaining wrappers covered to prevent drying. Place 2 tablespoons filling in a band along base of wrapper. Fold bottom over filling, then fold in left and right sides. Brush edges with water and roll up to completely enclose filling.

5. Heat oil in a wok to 360 degree F. Deep-fry spring rolls, a few at a time, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Reprinted by permission from Martin Yan's Culinary Journey Through China by Martin Yan (KQED Books).

More Spring Roll Recipes


Chinese Cuisines and Customs

Chinese and Lunar New Year Handbook

from Kate's Global Kitchen:

Chinese Cookbooks

Chinese Recipes


China on Wikipedia

Hong Kong on Global Gourmet's Destinations

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This page modified January 2007