We do love our spring rolls, right? I like the fresh spring rolls with their chewy translucent wrappers or the delicate crepe-y ones. Fried spring rolls are a favorite of mine too — savory, crunchy, and satisfying. Whether they be filled with meat, vegetables, or seafood, they have this wonderful Asian awesomeness, all wrapped up in lovely little cylinders.
But those sheets of rice paper aren’t just for spring rolls. They are so versatile, they can wrap around other things too, to make a myriad other yummy things — going as far as your creativity can take you.
I’ll let you in a few ideas to get your imagination rolling.
But before anything else, we’ve gotta get our technique down pat, or at least decent enough so that our rolls stay together. It’s pretty easy, with a little practice. Jaden from Steamy Kitchen has an excellent wrap-and-roll tutorial included in her spring roll recipe (you’ll have to scroll down quite a bit).
These ideas require deep frying, and thus an important reminder is to make sure the oil is hot, or else the wrapper will absorb all that grease like a sponge — blech, not good. Most of these fillings don’t require much cooking — the main objective really is to brown the wrapping to a crisp, so hot and fast is the key.
Banana and Jackfruit
It is called turon in the Philippines, and is a well-loved snack or dessert. The banana and sliced jackfruit are rolled in brown sugar before they’re wrapped up. The banana is a local variety that is usually enjoyed cooked, but it’ll work with another kind of banana, say cavendish, and will be reminiscent of bananas foster.
This is also quite a treat where I come from, and is enjoyed as an appetizer or bar chow. Cut your choice of cheese into sticks and wrap them up and fry them. They’ll turn out crunchy on the outside, and cheesy and gooey on the inside. When making this, it’s extra important to make sure the wrapping is well-sealed, or else the melted cheese will leak out and end up at the bottom of the fryer.
This is delicious with a tomato based dip, such as marinara or salsa.
This one is fairly novel, one that was encountered during a recent dinner out. Refrigerate the custard first so it’ll be firmer and easier to slice and wrap. Deep fry and drizzle with caramel sauce after.
Crab Stick and Basil
My sister is the only person I know who does this, but it really is exceptionally scrumptious. Make a slit along each crab stick and insert a sliver of basil and a dab of minced garlic.
And if you want to go hard core and make the wrappers from scratch, here’s a tutorial.