Chicken and eggplant spring rolls

Love spring rolls? The homemade version is easy to prepare and makes a satisfying thrifty snack or a perfect start to a feast. Making larger spring rolls means fewer are needed, which makes lighter work for the cook.  

Makes 6 large spring rolls

¾ cup rice bran oil (or vegetable oil)

1 large eggplant, cubed

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tsp finely grated ginger

1 small chilli, finely chopped

300g chicken mince

100g water chestnuts, roughly chopped

1 tsp sesame oil

1 bunch coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped

3-4 shallots, finely sliced

1 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra for dipping

200g rice vermicelli

6-8 large sheets frozen spring roll pastry

2-3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

  1.  Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy-based frypan over medium heat. Add eggplant and pan fry until golden and just cooked, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Add a little more oil and sauté onion, garlic, ginger and chilli until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase heat, add chicken and break up with a wooden spoon until cooked. Add water chestnuts and cook for a further 2 minutes, until warmed through.
  3. Fold in sesame oil, coriander and shallots, then add to bowl with eggplant. Add soy sauce and mix to combine.
  4. Meanwhile, place vermicelli noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to sit for 5-8 minutes, then drain and rinse. Fold into eggplant mixture.
  5. Place a damp tea towel over spring roll pastry and fill one at a time. Place 4-5 tbsp of mixture in the middle of the pastry in a 10cm-long, 5cm-deep line running diagonally, leaving at least 4-5cm at the corners bare. Fold one corner over the mixture, then fold in the sides, then tightly roll into a spring roll shape, making a large spring roll about 4-5cm thick and 10cm long. Repeat with remaining mixture and wrappers.
  6. Heat remaining oil in a medium deep-sided frypan until just below smoking point. Using metal tongs, carefully add 3 spring rolls to the oil and turn when golden, making sure all sides are cooked. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Repeat with remaining spring rolls.
  7. Serve spring rolls with your favourite sweet chilli sauce and extra soy sauce for dipping.


Top tip: For a vegetarian option, substitute the chicken mince for tofu. It’s also a great idea to double the filling and store half in the refrigerator for up to a week. Then, when spring rolls are needed, roll them and fry them in a matter of minutes. It’s literally homemade fast food!