When I feel alone, lonely and horrible, I often turn to my kitchen. Indeed, it is a veritable laboratory where I am the Frankenstein who creates a perfect monster, and gulps it down with gusto. Sometimes, the food makes me gulp with fear too. One of these days I was puttering around with the concept of Arancini Balls, or what is basically Risotto wrapped around cheese or meat or ragu sauce and fried, and I finally came up with something that I adored and ended up being quite fabulous and ultra delicious. You would need enough oil to drown your food in, so be warned. And a swift hand.

What you need is rice paper for spring roll wrap (preferably round spring rolls). I got mine from a brand called Real Thai. It was available. I moistened it till it was pliable, as shown in the pictures here. Trust me, no more is necessary. A lot of people also make spring rolls from scratch. I bow to their daring, and choose the rice paper way. I bought these for about 40 rupees, which is a steal (the original price was 80 rupees, but there was a buy one-get one free offer going, and I did not resist the call of the Sale).

Then, mix up a batch of finely shredded pieces of raw chicken with some finely shredded cucumber, dash of lemon juice/good quality balsamic or wine vinegar, garlic mince and thinly sliced spring onions, and mix in a bit of pepper and a pinch of salt, just to flavor it all. Put this in the side of the spring roll wraps and then put in a little dollop of butter (about 3 gms, or half teaspoon). Trust me, this little dollop will go a long way. Now roll it up, from one side, then roll it spring roll style, moistening and sealing the edges as you go.

Then I whisked one egg with a tablespoon of cornstarch and a teaspoon of water, and a hint of baking soda, and then quickly gave my rolls a dip into the batter and fried them in hot oil over medium low heat for about 6-7 minutes, upping the heat to high during the last one minute of frying, unless your spring roll is Golden Brown and Perfect. I let it rest for about 4-5 minutes before tucking in, with a side of lettuce leaves that I scattered around to add the extra crunch to the food.

I had them hot, and observed the following:

1. The butter inside is perfectly melted and it complements the flavor imparted by the vinegar/lemon juice.
2. The outside actually cooked up soft in the inside and perfectly crunchy on the outside. The baking soda gave the batter that extra puff that was much required.
3. The moist rice paper was meltingly soft thanks to the frying, and the chicken inside it was cooked to perfection. I do not as a rule like over/undercooked chicken. For me this was perfectly done.

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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