As with most Chinese recipes, these spring rolls require a lot of preparation but the quantities make around 25-30 and they freeze well. As the vegetables are fresh the spring rolls taste good even if they aren't deep fried, which is great if you're feeling health conscious.
You can buy small or large pastries but I prefer large as they hold more filling. I've also found that takeaways don't often make large vegetarian spring rolls and the small ones tend to disappoint when you cut them open to find only a few beansprouts.
Some helpful tips from my mom who makes the best spring rolls I've ever tasted:
- Once the vegetables have been chopped and stir-fried, it's important to drain off the excess liquid, so that the spring rolls don't become soggy.
- Fry the vegetables in batches then combine them. There are too many vegetables to fry at the same time, even if you have a very large wok.
- If you choose to deep fry, make a paste out of a few tablespoons of corn flour/water and use this to glue the end of the spring roll shut so that it doesn't unravel during cooking.
- Before deep frying, cover the work surfaces around your hob with newspaper - this makes cleaning up much easier.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the vegetables.
- Chop the carrots into the size of matchsticks and finely slice the spring onions, green beans and cabbage.
- Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok on a medium heat then add a third of the garlic and a third of the spring onions. Fry for a few minutes but don't let the garlic brown.
- Add the green beans, stir fry for a few minutes then drain the beans in a colander before transferring them to a large bowl.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil, then fry another third of the garlic and spring onions as before. Add the carrots and cabbage, stir fry for a few minutes then drain in a colander and transfer to the bowl that holds the beans.
- Repeat this process with the last third of garlic and spring onions, this time frying the beansprouts. If you're using prawns add them at the last minute, drain and combine with the other vegetables, seasoning with salt.
- Open the pack of pastries and place them onto a plate using a damp cloth to cover them - the pastries mustn't dry out.
- Take one pastry and place it on a board - you can drizzle a little sweet soy sauce over it if you like (I only do this if I'm not going to deep fry the spring rolls).
- Take three to four tablespoons of the vegetable filling (depending on how thick you like your spring rolls) and place it near the end of the pastry that is closest to you, leaving a gap of about an inch and a half all around. Try not to overfill the pastry or it might break during cooking.
- Fold the end of the pastry over the vegetables then fold in the left and right side of the pastry.
- If you want to deep fry the spring rolls make a paste out of the corn flour and water and place a little along the far edge of the pastry so that when you roll it up the end is glued shut and won't open during frying.
- Roll the pastry tightly to form a tube shape. Repeat steps 8-12 until you have used all of the pastries.
- Give the wok a quick clean then pour in the vegetable oil until it is one quarter full and heat to a high tempurature. Once the oil has heated up, drop a small amount of pastry in and if it has turned golden brown after 10 seconds you're ready to deep fry.
- Carefully place 3-4 spring rolls into the oil seam side down but don't try to cook too many at once or they'll stick together.
- After a minute turn the spring rolls over - once they've turned golden brown remove them from the wok and place on some kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
- Serve with sweet soy sauce and sweet chili sauce or allow to cool and transfer to your freezer to enjoy later.