The immortal Asian spring rolls with a classic Mexican filling — whole chilies stuffed with cheese. And, yes, it is ovo-lacto vegetarian. These spring rolls were dipped in eggs and dredged in flour prior to frying to seal in the cheese and make sure it doesn’t seep out when it melts in the hot oil. So, these are probably more egg rolls than proper spring rolls. What’s the difference?
From what I’ve read and seen on countless TV food shows, Americans refer to fried spring rolls as egg rolls because the dough-wrapped packets are dipped in beaten eggs before frying. In Asia, dipping in eggs is not a requirement. Asian spring rolls are served fried or fresh, the wrappers can be a simple rolled dough, steamed and dried rice paper or soft and crepe-like. The variety of filling is endless from meat to seafood to vegetables with aromatics and herbs. Spring rolls are served as sweets too filled with fruits or sweetened mashed legumes.
But that’s really just trivia. You can call these crisp fried packets as spring rolls or egg rolls, the name won’t change just how delicious they are. Sam’s idea just like the spring rolls with bean and cheese filling. My daughter’s creativity for dreaming up good food is simply boundless.
Chili relleno spring (egg) rolls
- 6 finger chilies
- enough cheese to fill the chilies
- 3 spring roll wrappers cut in half
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or corn starch
- 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable cooking oil for frying
- Rinse the chilies and pat dry.
- Slit the chilies vertically to create a pocket. Using a teaspoon or a blunt knife with a round tip, carefully scrape out the seeds and membranes. That’s where most of the heat is. Unless you want the spring rolls exploding big time in your mouth (some people like it that way), I suggest scraping off the seeds and membranes. Sprinkle the inside of the chilies lightly with salt.
- A note here: The length of the chilies should be such that they can be wrapped with half of a spring roll wrapper. If the chilies are longer, cut off the bottoms.
- Cut the cheese into bars small enough to fit snugly inside the chilies.
- Stuff the cheese into the chilies. Be generous.
- Start heating the cooking oil in a frying pan.
- Wrap each chili in one half of a spring roll wrapper (see guide). The top of the chili with the stem should be aligned with the cut side of the wrapper.
- Dip each spring roll in the beaten egg. Pick up the spring roll by the stem of the chili and while it is upright, scoop a little egg with a teaspoon and pour into the open top of the wrapper. That’s the first step in sealing the cheese.
- Dredge the spring rolls in flour or starch. Again, holding a spring roll by the stem of the chili, sprinkle flour into the open top of the wrapper. You have now sealed in the cheese.
- Fry the spring rolls in hot oil (350F is the ideal frying temperature if you use a thermometer — I don’t) until golden and crisp.
- Serve at once with a dipping sauce made with equal amounts of mustard and honey.