Australia 2024

We return to taste the delights of people who live upside down. 

Previous years have made us add things to burgers, cover perfectly good cake with coconut and force down avocado. Generally we've found that Australians lack in original ideas for creative cookery, and in this year's savory snacks they haven't ventured much from their external inspirations either. After trawling through ideas lists of barbeque this, barbeque that, barbeque a salad (I kid you not), Heidi found a branded savory snack that we could replicate.

'Chicko Rolls' are a commercially created variant of a Chinese spring roll, to which we thought we could have a go. Apparently, these are available to buy hot at sports events and in fish & chip shops, like a side dish that doesn't make any attempt to complement your main course. We found a replica recipe and then deviated as and how we found fit - it looks similar to the pictures at least.

Various green vegetables accompany beef mince with barely any seasoning, glued together and wrapped in a fine crispy pastry. Vegetables are cooked in oil, the beef is a higher fat variant and then it's deep fried. What's not to love.

None of us objected, even Tally ate a good portion. Heidi and I made sure there weren't any leftovers to go cold. It won't be one we'll repeat immediately, but with adding more flavorings (chili, black pepper, cardamom, cumin or five-spice perhaps) we might venture into these again for a bigger event. Perhaps the blandness is intentional to be an all-rounder, but it has the appeal of factory-produced bread - no one loves it, but there's not much taste to complain about.

Chop everything as fine as you can (but not to Siân's level of fine chopping). Carrots remaining in perfect little cubes give an interesting surprise in the final thing.

Cook it down

Add a roux (though made with water, not milk) to make this into a congealed gloop

Wrapping (we cheated and brought pre-made wrappers in the Chinese supermarket)

Fry, trying not to burn yourself in splashing oil, whilst willing them not unroll during cooking.

Serve with a cold beer, and kitchen roll to clean your fingers.

Recipe - Heidi's Chiko Rolls

2 tablespoons duck fat
2 1/2 cups of savoy cabbage (measured after chopping and without pressing it down much)
6 spring onions
1 stick of celery - this could be increased to make it noticeable
5 green beans
1/2 teaspoon of mild curry powder - add more and various other spices if you have a desire for flavour
1 beef stock cube, crumbled dry
100g beef mince 20% fat
6 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 pack (only 5 needed of about 50) spring roll wrappers 250mm square, from the Chinese supermarket - where everyone wants to tell the white people where to find things they weren't looking for.
40g butter
40g plain flour
sunflower oil for frying

1. Spend ages chopping the veg satisfyingly small. 
2. In a saute pan, melt the duck fat and cook the vegetables until they are moderately soft but not brown.
3. Add the curry powder, salt and stock.
4. Add the beek, breaking up and mixing through, until cooked.
5. In a separate pan, make a roux from the butter and flour cooking fully and then adding 150mm water.
6. Add 4/5 of the roux (it just seemed too much gloop to keep going) to the veg/meat and mix thoroughly to make a semi-solid blob.
7. Leave to cool in the fridge overnight.
8. Portion the mixture into 5 equal parts.
9. Make each portion into a sausage shape, avoiding the urge to squeeze it through your fingers like playdough, then place it on the wrapper near one edge.
10. Paint the wrapper in a thin coat of sunflower oil to help it stick and roll it up, folding in the ends halfway along.
11. Deep fry at 190 degC for 4 minutes, seeing that they go lightly brown and crispy. Avoid them unrolling after the first 2 failed attempts by keeping hold with the tongs, until they start to crisp up. They also want to inflate - but short of bursting them, I didn't find a way to overcome this, so they bob about like a rubber dingy in the pan.
12. While eating, don't dribble the oil down the inside of your apron, because that would be messy; wouldn't it Heidi?!


Popular Posts