This is my favourite “I dunno what to cook tonight but I want something yummy and easy” dish. I have no idea how I came up with it originally, all I know is that when I first described it to my mom and started raving about how delicious it was, she stared at me with a wrinkled nose, the world’s universal sign of disgust. Indeed, when you read the ingredient list, you may raise your eyebrows a little, but I assure you – this is what fusion cuisine is all about!
- 1 can maple baked beans
- 1 tsp Zatarain’s Creole’s spice (or, if you don’t have access to Zatarain’s because it’s only available in the US, use any old Creole spice with a touch of salt)
- 1 tsp roasted sesame oil
- about 10 rice papers
- 1 tsp sunflower, canola or coconut oil
Blend or mash the baked beans, Cajun spice and sesame oil in a food processor or by hand. This is actually optional: I’ve never blended the ingredients before, opting instead to just mix them all together and pile the beans onto rice paper, but I discovered on a whim that it’s a lot more manageable once it’s blended, though it does increase the probability of oozage. I maintain that oozage is a word, or at least it should be.
Soak the rice papers until soft (about 10-20 seconds depending on the brand — don’t over-soak!), making sure warm water gets between each sheet. Put about 2 spoonfuls of the bean mix down the middle of each rice paper, fold one side all the way across, then fold the top and bottom up. The final step is rolling the bean spread pocket across to create something that looks like a spring roll. This page shows you how to create a spring roll, and we’re pretty much doing the same thing, so check it out if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Repeat until you’ve exhausted your supply of maple bean mixture (or rice papers), or cut the bean mixture in half to save for another day (to make more wraps or to use as bean dip for chips… The mix of sweet and salty is truly yummy).
Warm a large frying pan and add the oil. Make sure you use a large pan, because the wraps will tend to stick to each other, so it’s best not to crowd them. Sear them until brown, flipping only once. They’re quite delicate, so you may either want to double-up the rice paper, or just be careful when playing with them. I usually serve these little guys with a salad drizzled with my satiny salad dressing.
Variations: If you want to add a little extra pizzazz to your maple bean explosions, fold in about 0.5 cup of panko to the bean mix before turning it into wraps. This will add a bit of crunch to each bite. You can also lay a small piece of roasted nori over the bean mix before wrapping, which not only adds stability to the wrap, but added flavour as well. Another variation is skipping the frying process entirely! Yep, that’s right, you can eat them cold, which is actually quite nice as an appetizer on a hot summer day (or right out of the fridge at 1am during a bout of insomnia).