As a child I got teased for being mixed race – I was very slightly different to my peers. For years I couldn’t understand where those differences came from – was it because I was a bit fatter, a bit taller or a bit camper than other boys around me? The answer’s no. My difference was expressed through food. Most kids, when hungry for a snack, reach for a salty packet of crisps or a generic chocolate bar, but I reached for something a little more unusual. When I was teased for snacking on a delicious spring roll, whilst it might have hurt on the surface, I knew I was loved and warm on the inside.
|vegetable oil, for deep frying|
|50g||firm tofu, minced into small pieces with the back of a fork|
|2||spring onions, very finely sliced into small rounds|
|1||small carrot, peeled and coarsely grated|
|½||a daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks|
|2||water chestnuts, chopped very finely|
|a 1cm piece of||fresh ginger, peeled and very finely diced|
|2 tbsp||oyster sauce|
|1 tbsp||light soy sauce|
|2 tsp||fish sauce|
|salt and ground white pepper|
|4||large, square spring roll wrappers, each cut into 4 small squares|
|a little water, to seal|
1. Preheat your oil to 180°C. If you don’t have a heatproof thermometer then you know the oil is ready when a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in about 10 seconds.
2. Thoroughly mix together all the remaining ingredients apart from the spring roll wrappers and the water.
3. Place one of the quartered wrappers diagonally on to a clean surface. Place a sixteenth of the mixture in a small horizontal line across the centre of the wrapper, leaving a 1cm border on each side. Dip your finger in some water and run it around the border of the wrapper.
4. Pull the bottom corner of the wrapper up and over the mixture, followed by each side. Roll the pastry, tucking the mixture in tightly until you reach the end. Press lightly to ensure the end has stuck properly. Put to one side on a dry chopping board and repeat with the remaining mixture and wrappers.
5. Once all your spring rolls are complete, fry them in batches of 4 to avoid the oil boiling over. Drop each batch carefully into the hot oil and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes or until they have turned a lovely golden colour.
6. Serve immediately with a little sweet chilli sauce as part of a larger meal.