The traditional way of making cheese sticks is to cut cheese into fingers, roll them in bread crumbs, freeze them then fry them. Until a few years ago, that method of making cheese sticks was unheard of in the Philippines. Instead of coating the cheese with bread crumbs, we wrapped cheese fingers in spring roll wrappers and fried them. Yes, like mini spring rolls with cheese filling. Commercial cheese sticks sold in the frozen section of groceries and supermarkets are still prepared that way.
Much as I love bread crumb-coated cheese sticks, I sometimes feel nostalgic for the old Filipino style cheese sticks. I used to have a recipe for it in the archive but since I could no longer locate the original photo, I decided to recreate the recipe with some modifications.
With the availability of so many varieties of cheese these days, there are endless choices for making cheese sticks. I like Pepper Jack which is flavored with chilies.
I use square spring roll wrappers which I cut into quarters.
For even added flavor and crunch, I throw in some finely sliced scallions into the filling.
When the cheese fingers have been rolled, I toss them in flour and freeze them for an hour before frying.
I serve my cheese sticks, Filipino style, with homemade chunky tomato sauce for dipping.
Cheese Sticks, Filipino Style
The prep time does not include the time for freezing the cheese sticks.
Cut the cheese into fingers about 2-1/2"x1/2"x1/2". That's two-and-a-half inches long, half an inch wide and half an inch in depth.
Separate the spring roll wrappers. Cut each piece into quarters.
Place a piece of cheese at the center of a quarter of spring roll wrapper. Sprinkle in some scallions. Brush the sides of the wrapper with beaten egg. Roll as you would regular spring rolls (see illustrated step-by-step instructions for wrapping spring rolls).
Toss the wrapped cheese in flour. Spread on a tray and freeze for an hour.
Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan.
Over medium heat, fry the frozen spring rolls just long enough for the edges to brown. DO NOT wait for them to brown all over. The cheese filling is white so the wrapper will appear light even though it is already crisp. If you wait for the whole thing to brown uniformly, the cheese will melt, ooze out of the wrapping and into the oil.
Drain the fried cheese sticks on paper towels and serve with tomato sauce for dipping.