One of the law school girl friend parties I went to over the Christmas holidays was hosted by my friend, Sol. We live in the same town although on opposite sides. One of the dishes she served was fried spring rolls with tinapa and itlog na maalat (salted eggs) filling. The spring rolls were made by her husband, Deo, and they were truly delectable. I may not have said so to Sol and Deo at the time (I was too busy chatting, attacking the fried chicken and refilling my glass with mojito), I wish I had, and I guess this is my way of saying that the spring rolls were so unforgettably good that I’m still thinking about them a week before Valentine’s Day.
For non-Filipinos, tinapa is traditionally eaten with rice with a side salad of chopped tomatoes and salted eggs. It’s an all-day breakfast dish and the best way to enjoy it is to have a piece of fish and a small portion of the tomato and salted egg salad with every spoonful. You get a flavor explosion with the smokiness of the fish, the creaminess of the salted eggs and the crunchy tartness of the tomatoes. So, for my version of this phenomenal appetizer, I decided to include all three ingredients in the filling. And some chopped herbs too. Verdict? Must make them again and again, ad inifnitum. Delicious.
Tinapa (smoked fish), salted eggs and tomato spring rolls
- Halve the tomatoes, scoop out and discard the seeds. Roughly chop the tomato flesh.
- Finely chop the chili.
- Halve the salted eggs, scoop out of the shells and roughly chop.
- Discard the skin, head and tail of the fish. Flake the flesh.
- Roughly chop the scallions, mint and cilantro.
- Mix together the tomatoes, chili, salted eggs, fish, scallions, mint and cilantro. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to blend.
- Wrap one heaping tablespoonful of the filling with the spring roll wrapper (see how to wrap spring rolls). Repeat until all the filling has been used.
- Heat the cooking oil and fry the spring rolls (in batches if necessary) until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve the spring rolls at once. Recommended dipping sauce: hot and spicy vinegar.