Sam likes to have a crisp element in her vegetarian food. When I cook something that doesn’t have anything crispy in it, she’s likely to remedy the situation by throwing in things like pop corn or potato chips. I’m not kidding.
Last week, she caught a bug and, as usual, her appetite and taste buds went on hibernation. I so wanted to get her to eat a substantial meal so I thought long and hard about what would be so tempting that she wouldn’t be able to resist. She loves eggplants and she likes something crisp in her food so I decided that combining the two should be irresistible enough.
The fried spring rolls with rice filling was inspired by the burrito. Instead of wrapping rice and vegetables in tortilla, I went the Asian route and used spring roll wrappers. To go with the spring rolls, thick and garlicky eggplant caviar. Yes, Sam ate. She didn’t finish everything on the plate, but she ate and I was happy.
The rice filling is just plain rice cooked in broth with sautéed vegetables added. I chopped garlic, onions and carrots, sautéed them in butter, added finely sliced spinach and, when the vegetables had softened, I just added them to the rice in the cooker. I poured in the well-seasoned broth (homemade, naturally), stirred a few times, turned on the cooker and let it do its job. I cooked enough rice for everyone, not just for Sam. If you’re going to cook rice in a similar fashion, you’ll have to adjust the amount of vegetables and butter in proportion to the rice. And remember to cool the rice before wrapping. You can’t use anything hot as spring roll filling because the steam will make the wrappers soggy even before you can drop the spring rolls into the hot oil.
Will Chinese-style fried rice like yang chow work as filling? I have my doubts. Fried rice won’t clump together like newly boiled rice does and compacting the filling to make tightly packed spring rolls might be problematic. No harm in trying though if you’re up to it.
- cooled cooked rice, as described above
- 5 to 6 spring roll wrappers, separated
- enough cooking oil for deep frying
- eggplant caviar (get the recipe)
- Take about two tablespoonfuls of the rice, place at the center of a spring roll wrapper and wrap tightly (see illustrated instructions on how to wrap spring rolls). Repeat to fill all the wrappers.
- Heat the oil and fry the spring rolls. Remember not to overcrowd the pan. If your pan is rather small, cook in batches.
- Drain the spring rolls and serve with eggplant caviar.