What is the difference, you ask? The thickness of the skin! It turns out that Japanese spring rolls, the crunchier kind, is a lot thinner than the Chinese skin, which tend to blister when fried.
They still looked pretty good but they just weren't the same.
Anyhow, I wanted to recreate a dessert I had at Nobu Las Vegas years ago, although it now serves a difference version. Miami's location serves a similar one too.
The one I had was truly phenomenal. It was shiso leaf-wrapped bananas with dulce de leche in a spring roll, with a side of chocolate dipping sauce and sesame brittle ice cream. It was better than any of the sushi I had at Nobu's sushi bar.
Of course, I had to improvise because I couldn't readily find the brittle ice cream (Scoops makes it but didn't have it at the time and ordering a pint or whatever would have been too much) and used store-bought chocolate sauce, which wasn't the same but not too bad.
What I'm probably most proud of is making dulce de leche in my pressure cooker. That little can of condensed milk was simmering in water for hours on end and cooled for at least 24 hours. Wow! Call it dulce de leche or manjar, which I'm more used to from my South America days (still searching for some decent mil hojas), that camel colored goodness was dangerously addictive (gotta watch my sugar intake). I thought it'd be too sweet but I added a bit dollop for each roll and it was excellent, if I may say so.
I usually don't like shiso but it went well with the combination of the sweet and savory. I used hazelnut and vanilla ice cream, which was good albeit not the same.
One of the best parts was that I had some leftover dulce de leche and thanks to SC's suggestion, I decided to spread it on some really good baguette from Bread Bar. Heat up some bread and spread it on like buttah. Best snack in the world.
Here's the recipe for a version of the harumaki with passion fruit and merengue that I found online from Nobu:
Banana Harumaki from Nobu Las Vegas
Serves 8 (2 pieces per person)
4 fresh bananas, cut into quarters
16 spring roll wrappers (7-in square)
16 shisho leaves
2-4 tablespoons dulce de leche
1 egg yolk, beaten, for sealing the wrappers
vegetable oil for deep frying
4 passion fruits
sesame ice cream
- Lay a spring roll wrapper on a flat surface and spray with water. Place a shiso leaf, then a banana quarter on the wrapper. Place the dulce de leche in a pastry bag and pipe out, from left to right, 2 tsp to cover the top of the banana. Roll in the wrapper. Brush the egg yolk on the edge of the wrapper and seal. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers.
- Fry the rolls in 325 degree oil. Transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain any excess oil and allow to cool slightly.
- Cut each roll in half on an angle. Arrange two halves on individual plates, or arrange all rolls on a platter. Cut the passion fruits in half and squeeze the runny flesh and seeds on top of the rolls.
- Crumble the yuzu meringues in a plastic bag. Sprinkle around the sides of the rolls and top each roll with a scoop of sesame ice cream.
How to make dulce de leche
Makes 14 oz
One 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
Remove label from the can and put in a pot. Add enough water to cover the can by at least 4 inches. And bring water to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer for 6 hours. Do not forget to add water to keep the level above the can, or the can may burst. Leave the can in the water to cool, then remove from the pot. Leave for 24 hours at room temperature before use.
*My notes: If you use a pressure cooker under relately low heat, you can get away with simmering for 2.5-3 hours.
Enjoy and let me know how they turned out!
(photo credits: this blog and this site)