Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chai Risotto Dessert Egg Rolls

So how many of you checked this out just out of morbid curiosity? The what in the heck did she go and do now knee jerk response that made you click on over and take a look see.. hopefully this will not disappoint.

The origin of this dish is simple. It was high time to fill up the fridge and pantry once again as they were beginning to echo if you shut the door too hard. Yet another epic Costco trip commenced.

Surveying our purchases, we were now the proud new owners of roughly 5 lbs of kiwis. As you know those little stinkers aren't all that big, and that's alot of kiwi. The quest for a kiwi laden dish began.

This was supposed to be a healthier, non fried version, specifically a spring roll. Turns out in my haste I grabbed egg roll wrappers... hmmpph. Well, egg rolls it is. After poking around the old interweb for awhile, I realized I wasn't quite sure what I was making. What's the difference between and egg roll and a spring roll? I found a vast amount of variances. For your reading pleasure, here's what I learned.

An egg roll has meat and is typically thought to be Chinese, while a spring roll is mainly vegetable and noted as Vietnamese cuisine. Egg rolls are wrapped in square wonton like skins, while spring rolls are wrapped in lighter rice paper rounds. Egg rolls are wider, thicker, and typically fried, while spring rolls tend to be more delicate and slender, and can be fried or raw. So what exactly is it that I made? A blintz? Lumpia? Final verdict seems to be that I made a fried, square wonton wrapped, fruit and risotto filled... hybrid roll? Who knows. At least I've learned the difference between the two, and that next time I'll make sure to get spring roll wrappers.

Chai Risotto Dessert Egg Rolls (Adapted from Vegetarian Times)
4 chai tea bags
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 1/2 Tbsp agave (or honey)
1 vanilla bean
4 kiwi, finely diced
6 strawberries, finely diced
1 package egg roll wrappers
Oil for frying

Vanilla Orange Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup milk
1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
Zest of 1/2 orange

Boil 4 cups of water, and steep tea bags. After 5 minutes, remove tea bags and set aside.

Place rice in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Slowly add hot tea, allowing rice to absorb tea after each addition. Make sure to stir risotto continuously. Add agave and scraped vanilla seeds into pan before adding last 1/2 cup tea. Cook until rice is tender, and remove from heat. Cool for five minutes. Fold in diced kiwi and strawberries.

To make rolls, carefully lay wrapper flat on work surface, and place 1 kiwi slice and 1 strawberry slice side by side in center. Spoon 2 Tbsp of rice mixture atop the fruit. Fold in sides of spring roll wrapper, and tightly roll up. At each fold, moisten edges with water and smooth down together. Moisten edge of wrapper with water to seal the roll shut.

Heat oil over medium high heat in large, high sided pan for 3-5 minutes. Carefully place egg rolls in hot oil, and cook until golden brown on each side (4-6 minutes). Remove rolls and place on paper towel lined plate to cool.

For sauce, combine all ingredients in saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes, stirring until thickened. Cool and place in refrigerator, covered. Serve rolls with small bowls of the dipping sauce or one communal bowl, depending on your company.

A few afterthoughts...

Frying is NOT my thing. The extent of my frying knowledge is limited to wontons and funnel cakes, both made on the same day we purchased a small fry daddy on a whim. It's been collecting dust since. Fried turkey, however, is something not to take lightly and a magical entity of its own right. Never made one myself, but have absolutely polished off my fair share.

A large part of the appeal of this recipe for me (not my creation, the original linked above) was its healthiness and visual appeal. Sadly both went down the tubes a tad with my egg roll skin blunder. I'd remake this in a heartbeat with spring roll wrappers. Visually I'm not jumping up and down excited about the brown tint that the chai gives the risotto... I mean who really wants to eat a brown dessert that isn't chocolate? Jasmine or another flavorful light tea might solve that, but the subtle undertone of spice and fragrance of chai really is rather warm and enticing. The strawberries took on a bit of a tartness after cooking which was disappointing. This as well could be avoided with using this recipe with spring rolls.

Feel free to check out the links below to assist with spring roll and egg roll making.. enjoy!
How to Roll a Spring Roll
How to Roll an Egg Roll
(Note: In the demo these are rolled on a diagonal, I rolled mine as a square)



Life and Kitchen said...

These look amazing! I will definitely have to try them sometime.

Cookin' Canuck said...

Very innovative recipe and such a pretty photo!

NOELLE said...

I agree! Very interesting dessert. great pic!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Interesting combination of ingredients - but they do sound really good!

Anonymous said...

This is super-creative and really, it makes sense! Love it!

Carol Egbert said...

I admire your sense of adventure but I don't think these are for me.

Laura said...

I am loving all the thoughtful euphemisms for "hmmm, that's a little different" :) Thanks for the comments everyone!

Claire (Culinarygoddess.com) said...

beautiful picture :) ps I love how you go to Costco because I lovvve Costco

bonnie said...

Great combo, costco nice...

Jenn said...

I think this is brilliant! I love chai and I think this idea is capital. I'll definitely have to try. I've never deep fried on my own yet. It'll be a good opportunity to try :) Thanks for sharing, Laura!