Tuesday nights always seem to throw me. Especially if I’ve been lax with the meal planning. Wednesday night is bin night, it’s also the day I do my shopping at the fruit & veg market, so Tuesday often sees me staring into the fridge poking at limp and unexciting leftovers trying to create a meal that will use up insipid veggies before I’m forced to clean out the fridge the next day. It’s like my own weekly stocktake sale.
This week I was faced with a baby cabbage and multiple carrots of varying freshness. My first thought was coleslaw but I didn’t have anything else to serve it with (we had been enduring pouring rain for days and I wasn’t going anywhere) so I had to figure out a way to bulk these ingredients up to make a meal. I turned to the pantry to see what I could rustle up there and came across half a packet of rice paper circles. My husband has been bugging me to get rid of them as our toddler loves to pull them out of the packet one by one and break them into little shards all over the kitchen floor. Most annoying. I previously used them to make cold rice paper rolls but little Willa Rose doesn’t like them so I haven’t made them for ages. It was time to use those suckers up.
I remembered seeing Sarah B of My New Roots use rice paper to make baked samosas so a quick google later and I had her recipe on the screen for guidance and away I went! Obviously I didn’t have exactly the same ingredients as her but it worked well all the same. I was lucky enough to have all the spices so the flavour was there and I just swapped out ingredients according to what I had on hand; slivered almonds and pine nuts instead of cashews, cabbage instead of green peas and spinach etc. I served them with homemade mango chutney as I still have a couple of jars on the shelf from last summer and mango season is quickly approaching again, something else I need to use up!
The actual process of making the rolls is quite nice and repetitive, good for slowing down and great for putting a restless toddler to good use (did I mention the rain and resulting cabin fever?). Willa loved dipping the rice paper in the bowl of warm water- that kid loves anything to do with water- and passing them to me when they were soft. I had already cooked and cooled the filling so the production line was very simple. I rolled the samosas into spring roll shapes as it was more straightforward and meant Willa could pick them up to eat easily. A sprinkling of sesame seeds and coconut and they were ready for the oven!
Whilst this recipe was very easy it was time consuming. I started preparing and cooking at 4pm and dinner was ready at 6pm. That time would be shorter if I didn’t have a toddler assisting me at every stage along the way, from pressing the buttons on the food processor to shred the cabbage and grate the carrot, to sprinkling sesame seeds indiscriminately over the baking tray. It means the process takes a hell of a lot longer but Willa loves it and I think it’s a great way for her to learn about food and keep her busy! Do you have a favourite meal to make with kids? Or a reliable leftover recipe? Please share below!