Wednesday 9 August 2017

Leek and Cheddar Spring Rolls.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

I love a good spring roll!
When I was growing up the deep-fried snack of choice was usually either a samosa or a pakora.
The samosas were most often triangle and made with a homemade pastry. Then, the Asian stores started selling the Chinese spring roll pastry and my Mother and aunts began to use it as an easier shortcut. However, they would almost always fill the rolls with the classic samosa lamb filling.
It wasn't until recently when I started to experiment with recipes myself that I realised anything could go into a spring roll. I first went down the Chinese route and have now, tried my hand at this vegetarian filling. I came across it in June when I was cooking my way through Meera Sodha's excellent vegetarian book Fresh India

The book had a recipe for leek samosas. I made the filling and instead of baking in filo pastry as she did, I rebelled and deep fried in spring roll sheets instead. And, they were good. But then .... the filling wasn't enough for my pack of sheets. So, I did what my Mother always does whenever the samosa filling isn't enough.
I grated in a little (okay, a lot) of Cheddar. And, oh my gosh, the result was epic. The crispy pastry encasing a spiced leek, pea and mint filling was made even better with melted cheese. The rolls disappeared ridiculously fast and I vowed to make them again whenever time allowed. That time has come and I have the full recipe here to share with you all today. 

A Simple List of Ingredients:

1. Butter
2. Rapeseed Oil
3. Black Mustard Seeds
4. Red Onions
5. Ginger
6. Leeks
7. Salt
8. Ground Turmeric
9. Garam Masala
10. Red Chilli Powder
11. Ground Cumin
12. Peas
13. Lemon Juice
14. Cheddar
15. Fresh Mint
16. Spring Roll Pastry Sheets
17. An Egg
18. Water
19. Vegetable Oil

Bismillah, let's begin!

As with all spring rolls, we start with the filling. Into a pan, place 2 tablespoons Butter and 1 tablespoon Rapeseed Oil. 

Let them both melt over a medium heat.

Then, to flavour up the oil and butter, throw in 1 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds.

Stir fry until the seeds begin to pop.

Next, red onions!

Peel and thinly slice 2 Red Onions.

And, add to the hot oil.

Give them a stir.

Leave them to fry for 10 minutes or until soft.

Then, take a 3cm piece (30g) of Ginger.

Peel and grate it.

Add the grated ginger to the pan.

Stir fry for a further minute or two.

Next, it's time for the main event. The leeks!

I used 4 Leeks (500g).

To prepare the leeks, slice off the top and bottom.

Remove the papery outer layer.

Give it a slice.

Do the same to the rest. Then, give the sliced leeks a good wash to get rid of any mud or dirt that is trapped between the layers.

Let the leeks drain well.

And, add to the pan.

Give them a good stir. Don't worry, they will cook down.

Let the leeks cook for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Then, measure out:
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Garam Masala
3/4 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
3/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin

Throw them in!

Stir fry for a few minutes.

Then, add in 200g Frozen Peas, defrosted.

And, squeeze in the Juice of 1/2 Lemon.

Give everything a final stir and remove from the heat.

Allow the filling to cool completely.

If you prefer or are a nervous deep-fryer, you can use the filling as it is and leave out the Cheddar. If the spring rolls are not folded tightly and the cheese escapes when frying, things can get pretty messy!

Anyway, I've tried both versions and definitely prefer the rolls with cheese. 

Speaking of ...

Grate up 200g Cheddar.

And, add it to the filling. You want the filling to be cold when you add the cheese otherwise it'll just melt!

Finally, for a little freshness. Take a small handful (7g) Fresh Mint Leaves.

Thinly slice the mint and throw it in.

Stir the two in and we're ready to fill our rolls.

For which, we'll need defrosted Spring Roll Pastry Sheets. I usually have a couple of these in the freezer and like to just leave the packet to defrost on the kitchen counter.

To make one spring roll, peel off a sheet of pastry sheet. They're pretty delicate so be careful not to tear them. As you're working with one sheet, keep the rest of the pack covered with a damp cloth to stop them from drying out.

To brush the spring roll pastry, beat together 1 Egg and a little Water.

Grab the cold filling and let's roll!

Take a sheet of pastry.

Brush its edges with the beaten egg mixture.

Spoon a little filling towards one corner. I went with 1 tablespoon.

Begin rolling it up tightly.

Like so!

Fold over the corners.

And, tightly roll up.

One roll is done!

Be sure to roll it tightly as we don't want any of the cheese to escape!

Carry on the rolling the rest!

I ended up making 30 medium spring rolls with my filling but it all depends on how much filling you add to each roll.

To cook, heat Vegetable Oil to deep fry over a medium-high heat. Fry the spring rolls in batches until golden brown and crisp.

Drain on paper towels and serve immediately!

If you want to freeze the spring rolls, here is what I do. I freeze them in a single layer on a tray.

Once they're frozen solid, I divide them between freezer bags and freeze again. To cook, I deep fry from frozen.

Serve the rolls immediately as they taste best when they're hot and crispy!

Grab your favourite sauces!

And, cold drinks!

The perfect summery vegetarian spring roll! Enjoy!

Leek and Cheddar Spring Rolls.

Prep Time: About 1 hour.
Cook Time: About 45 minutes.
Serves: I made 30 medium spring rolls.


For the Filling
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Rapeseed Oil
1 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
2 Red Onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3cm piece (30g) Ginger, peeled and grated
4 (500g) Leeks, trimmed and sliced
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Garam Masala
3/4 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
3/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
200g Frozen Peas, defrosted
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
200g Cheddar, grated (optional)
Small handful (7g) Fresh Mint Leaves, finely sliced

For the Spring Rolls
Spring Roll Pastry Sheets, defrosted if frozen (I used the 40 pack)
1 Egg, beaten
Water, as needed
Vegetable Oil, to deep fry

Cook the filling:
Melt the butter and rapeseed oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add in the black mustard seeds and fry until they pop. Add in the sliced red onion and fry for 10 minutes until soft. Grate in the ginger and stir fry for a further minute or two.

Prepare and thoroughly wash the leeks as they can be quite muddy. Add to the pan and stir fry for 10 minutes until they've reduced in size. Throw in the salt, ground turmeric, garam masala, red chilli powder and ground cumin. Stir them in and let them cook for 2 minutes.

Finally, stir in the peas and lemon juice. Remove the filling from the heat and allow to cool completely. Once cold, stir in the grated Cheddar and sliced mint. The filling is now ready to use!

Fill the spring rolls:
Beat the egg and water together. This mixture will be used to brush the pastry sheets and will help in rolling. Fill the pastry sheets with the filling and roll tightly. Continue filling the rest of the sheets.

Fry the spring rolls:
Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan to deep fry over a medium-high heat. Test the oil with one spring roll. Once it's fried and out, fry the rest in batches until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Bake the spring rolls:
Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Brush the spring rolls with vegetable oil and place on a lined baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway, until golden brown and crispy. They won't be as golden compared to deep-fried but will still taste pretty good.

These spring rolls are best served fresh and hot. Serve with your favourite sauces!

Recipe Notes
  • The Cheddar is optional. Anyone who has ever put cheese into spring rolls will know that they can be pretty temperamental especially when deep frying. One split or tear in the pastry sheet can cause a whole lot of grief in the hot oil. So, if you're a nervous deep-fryer, bake them or leave out the cheese. These spring rolls will be just as good without the Cheddar.
  • Leftover pastry sheets? Be creative and fill them with anything that looks good in the fridge. Shred up cooked chicken and throw it in along with some seasoned cooked noodles and vegetables. Anything goes in spring rolls!
  • These spring rolls freeze really well. To do this, I place the raw spring rolls in a single layer on a tray and freeze. Once frozen, I divide the rolls between freezer bags and freeze. To cook, simply deep fry from frozen.
{adapted from fresh india}

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your spring rolls!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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