Spring rolls are only as bad as we make ’em

Spring rolls, the undesirable, unasked for extra that gets in the way when you’re reaching into your take out bag to retrieve the main item, does anyone actually eat them? Between the tendency of take out establishments to stuff leftover cabbage and who knows what other leftovers into spring rolls and the predictability of finding one in your take out bag every single time, it has to be the most tiresome finger food that is still churned out in such copious quantities. Despite all the evidence to the contrary I continue to love and believe in spring rolls. Like UFO enthusiasts or Yeti trackers hoping for that sighting I kept looking for that “tasting” that would validate my faith. I religiously took a bite of every spring roll that crossed my path, sometimes I did so with a foot on the trash can pedal. I usually got a mouthful of stale or just insipid cabbage or at least what I thought was cabbage and managed to be disappointed every time. The husband having grown a little weary of my clucking over spring rolls not being spring rolls any more wondered if I couldn’t just make my own if I like them so much. Spring rolls  are fresh, crunchy, savory and nowhere near as greasy when they’re home-made.

Prep time: 15 min | Total time: 25 min | Servings: 4 – 6

Spring Rolls (Jay)

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Today’s-Special Shrimp Biriyani

The first time I introduced Sammie to a hard-core South Indian dish was back in late 2003. It’s a simple fiery shrimp masala (Yera Varaval in Tamil) that’s a favorite with my family and extended family. My mom, aunt Leela and my sister rock this dish with their own particular ways of making it. I introduced it to Sammie who by then was bragging about his increased tolerance for spicy food and his widening appreciation and knowledge of Indian food. He pooh poohed my advice to eat the shrimp masala in moderation and to eat it along with rice, vegetables and Sambar (lentil based curry) to balance the heat. He spooned the shrimp into his eager mouth, straight! He thought it was awesome and kept reminding me he was awesome as he wolfed it down. Let’s just say that he wasn’t feeling as awesome during the aftermath. I soothed the poor darling and agreed it was definitely my over spiced dish and not that he ate it like it was ice cream while claiming to know how to eat Indian food. Don’t worry his awesomeness is never going to actually read this. He looks at the picture and tells me he’s so happy he’s the one eating the food in the pictures.

Well, since the “Shrimp masala” incident when he heard the words shrimp and Indian he was on the phone ordering take out, he refused to touch my coconut shrimp curry which was really on the sweet side. We finally had a break through a few months ago when I made Shrimp Biriyani. He hemmed and hawed about ordering pizza as a back up. But considering his fondness for lamb and chicken Biriyani  and the aroma, he decided to give it a go. When I went back for seconds it was gone, every last grain of rice, every curled and browned shrimp had been carefully scooped onto his eager plate. I’m delighted he is finally cured him of ‘Indian shrimp’ phobia. He still won’t hear of trying Shrimp Masala which is one of my top ten favorites. Maybe some day we’ll get there. Meanwhile here’s the Shrimp Biriyani recipe.

Prep time: 30 min | Total time: 1 hr | Servings: 4 | Sammie scores it 8.5/10

Shrimp Biriyani (Jay)

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