Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Savory Sri Lankan Rolls

These savory Sri Lankan Rolls are always a favorite at parties.  They are our version of the Chinese Egg Roll.  But instead of using the egg-roll wrapper, a thin crepe like pancake is used to hold the filling and then breaded and deep fried.  The filling is always savory, but can be varied from meat to a vegetarian filling.  I made a combination of ground chicken and vegetable filling. 

The Filling:
1lb of ground meat  (see note)
2 carrots finely grated (optional)
4 boiled potatoes coarsely mashed
1 medium onion chopped
2 green chilies seeded and chopped
1-2 Tbs of grated fresh garlic
2 inches of fresh ginger grated
10-15 curry leaves (torn)
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 Tbs of finely minced fresh mint leaves
2-4 Tbs of soy sauce
1 Tbs of vinegar
1 Tbs of curry powder
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of chili flakes or powder
salt and pepper to taste (I used a lot of pepper)
juice of half a lime

Note:  you can use same flavorings for any ground meat (beef, pork, lamb) or with canned tuna/mackerel.  If you decide to make vegetarian rolls, add more potato and carrots.  You can also use peas, cauliflower etc... 

Directions.   Prior to making your filling boil your potatoes and coarsely mash them. Then saute your ground meat with the onion, garlic, ginger curry leaves, cinnamon stick and carrots.  Once the meat is cooked, add powdered spices and saute for another minute. Then add your soy sauce, vinegar, mint leaves and salt and pepper to taste.  Next add the mashed up potatoes and the lime juice as the final step and make sure you taste you mixture for seasoning.  Allow the filling to cool down before making the pancakes.

The Pancake:
2 cups cold water
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 cups of all purpose flour

Beat all ingredients together until it forms a thin pancake batter.

Heat an 8 inch non-stick frying pan and grease it with a little oil between each pancake. Pour a ladle full of the batter into the pan and swirl it around gently until it forms a thin pancake.  Cook until set without browning.  There is no need to flip the pancake. 

Place the cooked pancake on a plate and add about 2 Tbs of filling.  Proceed to roll the pancake like an egg-roll.

You will need to roll each pancake immediately so the warm pancake adheres together from it's own heat.  If you allow the pancake to cool, it will fall apart and not stay rolled. This is great if two people are making this dish so one can cook the pancake and the other fill and roll.  But if you are working alone, roll the prepared pancake with the filling while a new pancake is cooking on the stove and repeat. You can cook the pancakes on medium heat so it gives you some additional time to fill the pancake.

My Mother's skillful hand

Leave about 1/2 a cup of batter to use as a coating for the breadcrumbs to stick to the rolls.  Simply dip each roll gently in the batter and get it on all sides.  Then coat with some plain breadcrumbs.

Get all your rolls breaded and ready to fry.

Fry in hot canola oil in a deep skillet until golden brown (about 1 minute or less depending on how hot your oil is).  Note: You will want enough oil in the pan so the roll is submerged in the oil.  Allow to drain on paper towels.

You can enjoy these warm or at room temperature. If you are making them as a hors d'oeuvre you can cut them in half.  These do freeze well and you can reheat them in an oven until heated through. Enjoy.