Vegetable spring rolls by Rob Allison – recipe

Even my gran knows what a spring roll is, that’s how famous these crunchy cigars of joy are. They are also incredibly simple; so simple in fact that you can pretend to your children that helping you prepare enough for your dinner party is a fun way to spend the day. The rolls freeze very well once cooked, just ensure they cool completely before freezing on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Serve hot or at room temperature with sweet chilli sauce.

Makes 20 canapé-sized spring rolls
carrot 1, grated
spring onions 5, trimmed and finely sliced
garlic 4 cloves, finely diced
red chilli 1, deseeded and finely sliced
white cabbage ¼, core removed and leaves very finely shredded
beansprouts 200g
light soy sauce 2 tbsp
spring roll wrappers 5 (about 25cm x 25cm)
sunflower or vegetable oil about 1 litre, for deep-frying
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sweet chilli sauce to serve

Place the carrot, spring onions, garlic, chilli, white cabbage and beansprouts in a large bowl. Pour in the soy sauce along with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Give the ingredients a thorough mix with your hands.

Take one wrapper at a time and place on a chopping board. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the wrapper into 4 equal squares. Take one square, and place a heaped tablespoon of the mixture in a line across the middle of the square, leaving a 2cm border at each end of the filling. With a wet finger or a pastry brush generously moisten the edges.

Begin rolling your spring roll by bringing the two ends in over the filling. With fingers still holding the sides use your thumbs to pick up the edge closest to you, and fold over the filling. Tuck the edge under the pile of vegetables, and roll the pastry up into a fully enclosed cigar shape. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of pastry.

Heat the oil 180C in a deep-sided saucepan or wok. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can tell when the oil is at 180C by dropping a cube of bread into it: the bread should be golden brown in about 30 seconds.

Carefully lower a few spring rolls into the hot oil. Let them bubble away for about 4 minutes, by which time the wrapper will be perfectly cooked, crisp and golden. Drain the rolls on kitchen paper to remove excess oil. Repeat with remaining batches. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.