You might say I’m on a roll here, but truthfully I’m not married to the idea that certain foods and ingredients can only be used with the cuisines they’re synonymous with.
Take egg roll wrappers, for instance.
In reality, an egg roll is pretty much a pasta sheet. But we’re so used to associating them with Chinese food that we’re conditioned to expect every egg roll to have shredded vegetables, chicken, pork or shrimp, and to be served with plum sauce or some version of soy sauce.
And that’s all well and good, except for the fact that egg wrappers are such a great food tool for creating all sorts of terrific new recipes.
It’s not sacrilegious.
Some chefs call it fusion cuisine (some food critics call it con-fusion cuisine), but I’m one of those chefs who thinks it’s okay to pull ingredients from one cuisine into another, as long as the flavors meld.
To illustrate my point, I recently hosted a dinner party for a group of judges from The International Cat Association (TICA). There were about 25 judges from all over the country, so I thought it would be fun to include a dish in my buffet from each of the regions represented.
The U.S. Southwest area was one of them.
I made Chicken Enchilada Eggrolls with Guacamole Crème. They were a huge hit!
Before you get all roll happy, keep in mind that your liberation from thinking of egg rolls as Chinese also comes with the idea that they don’t have to be rolls at all. They can be squares, triangles, rectangles, or if you care to use a cookie cutter, round.
What you do want to remember is to moisten the edges with a little beaten egg before you glue two pieces together to make a sealed pocket (or roll). If you do a good job of that, you’re good to go.
- You’re basically making large raviolis with egg wrappers instead of pasta sheets (they’re related), so keep in mind that you want to:
- Use fillings that aren’t too wet and runny.
- Keep the filling mixture in small pieces no larger than ½” so that it binds together.
- Don’t overstuff them.
- Try not to leave any air pockets in your filling. The expanding hot air can blow open your carefully crafted seal.
- Leave about a ½” edge to seal properly.
- Fry them in neutral oil (canola, vegetable or peanut) at about 350 F to 360 F.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- BBQ Pork With Cheddar Cheese (You can buy the filling at Nino’s Gourmet to Go department.)
- Serve with Creamy Cole Slaw.
- Pulled Rotisserie Chicken With Roma Tomato, Roasted Garlic Cloves, Parmesan Cheese & Basil Pesto
- Serve with Nino’s Palomino Pasta Sauce.
- Chicken Enchilada (You can buy the filling at Nino’s Gourmet to Go Department.)
- Serve with Nino’s homemade guacamole mixed with a little sour cream.
- Chopped Shrimp, Scallop & Crab With Green Onion
- Wrap these warm rolls with crisp iceberg lettuce leaves and drizzle with teriyaki sauce.
- Italian Sausage n’ Peppers (You can buy the filling at Nino’s Gourmet to Go Department.)
- Serve with Salvaggio Marinara Sauce.
- Pepperoni & Mushrooms With Mozzarella Cheese Sauté mushrooms first, and then toss with chopped, sliced pepperoni and equal parts shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Serve with Nino’s Market Café Pizza Sauce.
So there you have it, a half-dozen ideas to spark your imagination. You just choose the shape.
Egg roll wrappers aren’t Chinese anymore; you can use so many different fillings to suit nearly any type of food you’re in the mood for. You can also cut them into cracker-sized chips and fry them to enjoy with your favorite dips.
Have fun and let me know how your creations came out!