Good GF eggrolls, I mean. That’s one of the things I’ve really missed since being forced to eliminate gluten from my diet about 15 years ago. . .those dense little logs that you dip in a lake of hot mustard and sweet/tangy duck sauce, then cram one end into your mouth and *kee-runch!* and all the hot unidentifiable yummy bits come raining out all over the plate and the table and your shirt, and your eyes cross in ecstasy, and if you haven’t been able to exercise sufficient restraint, you end up with that annoying bubble blister on the roof of your mouth, but it’s worth it because even if they are a zillion calories from the deep frying they’re worth it.
I wish my sense memory wasn’t so good, because I can remember things like that vividly, and sometimes knowing that I’ll never have that experience again (at least, not without days or weeks of agony) can get downright maddening. I try to find substitutes, and there certainly are more halfway decent subs now than there were 15 years ago, but I don’t care what kind of bean/rice/whatever flour you use, no matter the gums you add, absolutely nothing will truly replace the texture that wheat gluten can give to things. Some GF things are acceptable; some crackers, a few brands of basic bread will make an edible piece of toast or grilled cheese sandwich, but there is no way on earth that anyone is ever going to make a true replacement for some things.There will never be a good GF bagel or baguette. Nothing will ever come near the nirvana I used to experience with the sourdough boules I pulled from the oven at 6 am when I worked as a baker, then pulled apart the brown, crunchy/chewy crust and inhaled the tangy steam that gouted from the soft, springy interior that I’d snork down as soon as it was barely cool enough. There will never be a GF eggroll wrapper.
However, I have come up with a fairly good substitute for that last. I’ve been eating a lot of spring rolls in the last decade & a half, using rice wrappers. If you’ve never tried them, they’re translucent sheets made from “sweet” rice (it’s not actually sweet, just sticky & can be used to make noodles & wrappers). You soak the wrapper briefly in warm water then wrap the warm vegetable/whatever mix in it. I’ve read in several places that you can then fry those, but that has never, ever come even close to working; the rice wrappers are the stickiest things on the planet when you try to do anything to them other than just wrap ‘n’ eat. I’ve tried shallow oil, deep oil, you name it, the things stick to the pan, stick to whatever utensil I try to turn ’em with, they always rip apart & dump the contents and make a horrible mess.
I had some of my usual spring rolls last night, and dragged out the rest of my veg mix this evening to do it again, but I was dreaming of eggrolls the whole time. Then I thought…what if I battered ’em?
So I put together the rolls, heating the oil as I did so, and I made some GF fry batter. Before dipping them in the batter, I rolled them in a 50:50 mix of tapioca starch/Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza Crust mix, tapped off the excess, then dipped ’em in the batter, then slipped the rather drippy roll into the hot oil. No sticking. I could even turn it over to brown both sides evenly, no stick to pan or slotted spoon. Dipped it out when golden brown, forced myself to let it sit on a piece of newspaper to drain a bit and cool off…it actually looked pretty good, so this wasn’t easy. Then I sloshed it through some hot mustard and duck sauce (both of which I made before I started the rolls), lifted it to my mouth, and…..
*kee-runch!* and hot yummy bits came raining out all over the plate and the counter (I was standing in the kitchen). It was GOOD!! If I’d paid more attention when I stir fried the veggie mix it would’ve rivaled the better eggrolls I’ve ever had in a restaurant! Can ya say hallelujah!
I wanted to make a small amount of batter since there’s only me (neither dog, cat, nor bird get eggroll). I scanned some GF frying batter recipes, and sorta took their essence, i.e. made it as short-cuttish as possible. As usual, I didn’t really *quite* measure things, but the batter was approximately:
Batter Mix to Coat Rice Wrappers:
1/3 c Bob’s RM GF All-Purpose Flour Mix
1/3 c corn starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
enough club soda to make sorta thin batter (approx pancake batter consistency)
Mix til smooth.
make a 50:50 mix of:
Bob’s RM GF Pizza Crust Mix
I used Bob’s RM GF pizza crust mix to dust the rolls first (with tapioca starch) for two reasons: (A) I had a teeny bit left in a bag and (B) I often mix Bob’s All-Purp GF mix with the pizza mix as a general GF flour substitute because sometimes the garbanzo bean flavor of his AP GF mix can creep out and taste too beany (this is starting to look like a report on something military, with all the letters). But I do like Bob’s GF mixes.
I actually took a pic of the second roll out of the pan…the first one was prettier, but I confess I snarfed it down too fast to even think about taking a picture of it. So,
I whipped up the duck sauce because I prefer to make my own stuff since it’s usually cheaper & I know what goes into it, to an extent –I don’t grow my own apricots & make my own jam, grow & harvest my own mustard seed, etc. Also, I have too many jars of condiments already; I can make just a little bit. (amounts below are very approximate; taste & correct):
Really, really basic ‘N’ quick Duck Sauce:
3 Tablespoons apricot preserves
3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
dash garlic powder
Simmer in small sauce pan about 5 minutes, taste, adjust as necessary (probably needs more vinegar, but check). Cool.
Egads, I’d better be careful, or this’ll turn into a cooking blog. Ha! Not too likely, since I don’t measure anything, but am more of a “seat of the pants” cook. ….Nooooo, that doesn’t sound quite right. Or appetizing. Call it an “intuitive” cook…that sounds so classy.
Hope I’ve helped a fellow Gluten Mutant out there achieve eating Nirvana. God knows it’s a hard place to find when you’re on a severely restricted diet!