Everyone who has had the chance to try Lebanese mezzeh, has certainly come across cheese rolls. I don’t know what it is that I like about rolls, whether it was spring rolls, cheese rolls, grape leaves… Maybe it is the fact that it is a little like a surprise and that you won’t find out what is there till you actually try them.
Cheese rolls are similar to spring rolls in shape, only they are thinner. The variety of the kind is actually huge, as huge as there are cheeses. I have tried several fillings that differ from region to another and sometimes even from a home to another.
I am not going to post a recipe here per se, but cheese rolls can be filled with any cheese that can melt but hold its body. The cheese of choice for the cheese rolls is Accawi, but several others have been used successfully such as Halloumi, Feta, Mozzarella…
Some people even add chopped onion or parsley or both. The options are endless really and the only limit is your imagination.
Unlike spring rolls though, the Phyllo is cut in triangles and the rolls are finger like in thickness. So to differentiate them from spring rolls you have to keep them thin.
The twist in the tale here is that on Sunday, I made my second attempt at my Bulgarian Chicken Rolls. Only this time, I tried a different filling and tossed in some toasted pine nuts there. After stuffing all the chicken breasts, I had a problem. Some filling was left. And since we were raised on the idea of not throwing food, I had to find a way to “dispose” of the filling. We did not have any Phyllo dough in the freezer, we had to throw them away when our fridge broke down the other day and all melted in waiting for the repair guy. But “need is the mother of inventions” they say, so I had to find an alternative. And all of a sudden, Eureka!!! Saj Bread. For those who don’t know Saj bread, it is a Lebanese flat bread made on a special “oven” where it is cooked on it and not inside. The bread comes out paper thin and holds its shape well. I will try to write a post dedicated to it one day.
So I got myself Saj bread from the fridge where they were and using kitchen scissors, I cut a part and made triangles similar to those made for the cheese rolls and I had a solution for my filling.
Finally I deep fried the Saj Bread Cheese Rolls as you are supposed to make them (I never said these are healthy, did I?) and we got to try them. I may say that this was a great idea, they came out crispy as desired, did not hold as much oil as the Phyllo and were really good.
I think this is something I would repeat again, maybe with different fillings even. You might even try your own, if you do, keep the Taste-Buds posted…