It’s the Easter holidays so my daughters have some wonderful leisured weeks ahead of them. They love to cook too so we decided to make these spiced aubergine, cavolo nero and mushroom spring rolls together. Rolling spring rolls is a great communal activity and actually rather calming and therapeutic. It is very satisfying to make a tightly rolled and neat spring roll – seriously you’ll know what I mean when you give this recipe a go.
I hope that it gets a big thumbs up from all my vegetarian and vegan followers. The filling is deliciously tasty and even if you do like your meat I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how tasty these little spring rolls actually are.
Once the filling has been prepared and roasted the actually filling of the spring rolls is relatively quick. You can make them ahead of time and then leave them in the fridge until you are ready to fry them. Equally you could freeze them to use in the future – they are pretty versatile.
I adore cavolo nero and added to the aubergine, mushrooms and the spiced sauce, it makes for a very tasty filling.
The trick to rolling spring rolls is to keep the rolls tight and well folded so that none of the filling escapes when frying. Don’t overfill or you may find the rolls cannot be rolled tight enough – I know it’s tempting but do restrain yourself ;o)
Frying takes a couple of minutes and I tend to do a few at a time. Once they have bronzed, remove from the oil and place on some kitchen roll to cool and to soak up any excess fat. Diving in too quickly will burn your mouth, so let them rest for a short while before feasting. I like to dip them in tamarind chutney or some chilli sauce – the recipe for the former is noted below.
Spiced Aubergine, Cavolo Nero and Mushroom Spring Rolls
Inspired by a similar recipe from Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me by Denis Cotter
Makes 22 rolls
1 aubergine (weighing 300g), diced
200g cavolo nero (black kale), chopped and stalks removed
100g mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp tomato puree
2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp caster sugar
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 large red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
1 tbsp coriander seeds
pinch of fresh nutmeg
22 spring roll pastry sheets
vegetable/sunflower oil for frying
1. In a roasting tray layout the aubergine and mushrooms and scatter with a little olive oil. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, tossing at intervals so that all the ingredients cook and soften.
2. Whilst the aubergine and mushroom are roasting, heat a pan of boiling water and submerge the cavolo nero within it. Cook for 1 minute before straining under cold water and squeezing out the excess water from the cavolo nero. Place to one side on some kitchen paper to dry out thoroughly.
3. Mix the soy sauce, light soy sauce and caster sugar together and when the aubergine and mushrooms are sufficiently cooked transfer them to a bowl and mix in the sauce using a spoon.
4. Using a spice mix or pestle and mortar grind the coriander seeds and cloves together and add the nutmeg. Transfer these and the sliced spring onions and finely sliced red chilli also to the bowl along with the now dry cavolo nero.
5. Lay out a spring role pastry sheet and using your finger or a brush lightly wet the sides of the square. Add a tablespoonful of the aubergine, mushroom and cavolo nero mix towards the bottom of the sheet and then fold over tightly once and then fold in both ends so that the roll is tightly packaged and then roll until the sheet has been used up. The water that you place on the end will sufficiently hold the spring roll together when cooking.
6. Once all the filling has been used up, heat a deep pan with sunflower/vegetable oil and when it is hot (drop a pinch of flour into it and if it fizzles it is ready) add a couple of the spring rolls at a time. They should take around 2 minutes each to cook. Once they have lightly bronzed place on a plate with kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil.
Makes half a ramekin full
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds, ground
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp tamarind concentrate
500ml boiling water
45g palm sugar
1 tsp salt
1. In a pan dry roast the cumin seeds for 30 seconds so that the aromas are released. Place in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder.
2. In a deep pan add the oil and when it is hot add the ground cumin and move around the pan.
3. Add the tamarind concentrate and boiling water and stir so that the concentrate is dissolved. Keep on a medium heat.
3. Add the palm sugar and salt and allow to dissolve into the liquid.
4. Simmer for 25 minutes by which time the liquid will have thickened, although it will still be relatively runny. As it cools it will begin to harden.
5. Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to two weeks if not consuming immediately.