I grew up with a Thai chef and did not take as much advantage of this as I probably should have. One thing she did teach me though was how to roll spring rolls and I am very grateful for that. Spring rolls are fairly quick and easy to make and also very, very cheap. I can make 20 for less than $5. The main ingredient is cabbage and so it’s a good way to get kids to eat vegetables. My 7 year old loves them but he will not touch cabbage in any other disguise.
I was not able to find spring roll wrappers when I was in England. I’m sure they must be available but not at my local supermarkets. It may be something that one needs to get from an Asian supermarket. Most supermarkets sell them in Australasia.
Half a cabbage
one carrot grated
two spring onions
3 cloves of garlic
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
fresh basil and coriander if you have it
juice from one lemon
20 spring roll wrappers
a thumb-sized knob of ginger (I buy a large root of fresh ginger and store it in the freezer. It lasts forever and can be grated from frozen directly into the dish)
Chop up the cabbage and fry it in the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan with the garlic and ginger. Add all the other ingredients and fry until soft.
Now for the rolling. Here’s my four year old separating the spring roll wrappers:
Put some mixture onto one wrapper like so:
Start rolling by folding over the corner nearest the mixture and tucking it under as firmly and tightly as possible.
Roll just past half-way and fold in the side corners. Just before the you reach the last corner, dip your finger in a bowl of water and dab the pastry so that the spring roll sticks shut and doesn’t unroll.
Here’s my plate of rolled spring rolls. These can be frozen if you want to make them in advance.
To cook, fry them in a half-centimetre or so of vegetable oil until golden brown, or if you prefer, microwave them as is and avoid the oil altogether.
They taste great dipped in sweet chilli sauce.