When I was a little girl, I was quite the snacker (who am I kidding, I’m still a snacker!). Although potato chips and Planters Cheez Curls were readily available, I went for more “local” snack items like Chickadees and Twisties, or perhaps chili-coated tapioca crisps.
As a tween, I realized I required heftier munchies to sustain me throughout the day and that’s when I turned to curry puffs, fried fishballs on a stick, and my all-time favorite, sausage rolls.
Sausage rolls may sound like a strange snack to grow up eating in Singapore but it’s no doubt a colonial legacy. In fact, when we lived in England for a couple of years, sausage rolls and Devon cream teas were both staples in my diet, much to the detriment of my waistline. Sausage rolls used to be sold at just about every school canteen and roadside snack bar. Sadly, on a recent trip to Singapore I couldn’t spot them anywhere.
A few years ago, I picked up the “Singapore Heritage Food” cookbook and was excited to find a recipe for sausage rolls in there. However, the resulting product was not up to par with my taste memory—or perhaps nostalgia just made it murky.
Thankfully, my mother came to my rescue. Mum is good like that. Since we’ve moved to the U.S., she’s managed to recreate just about every childhood favorite (I’m talking about dishes that we used to go out to eat) from mee siam to chili crab. And every dish has been just as tasty, or even tastier.
One day, after I lamented about the disappointing sausage roll recipe, she decided to experiment and came up with a winner. Unlike the many sausage roll recipes I’ve seen, she uses nutmeg (it’s an Indonesian-Dutch thing) and lots of sugar to satisfy our Javanese taste buds I assume. Plus, she cuts them into smaller two-bite pieces so one is less likely to overindulge, a sensible precaution since it’s hard to stop at one. You have been warned, they are mighty greasy!
I don’t recall what my childhood sausage rolls taste like anymore. Nor does it matter as Mum’s version makes my family and I very happy–perfect for whenever we have an attack of the munchies. Amazing how fickle those taste buds can be!
Mum’s Sausage Rolls
Pork and puff pastry—I can’t imagine a more sublime marriage. My mum uses the Pepperidge Farm brand of frozen puff pastry but for some reason puff pastry isn’t always stocked at the neighborhood grocery store. I ended up buying Dufour brand at Whole Foods and that set me back a pretty penny–$10 for 14 ounces! Granted it’s made with real butter but still … That’s definitely an incentive to make my own puff pastry next time. If you have a good recipe let me know.
Makes: 20 pieces
Time: 20 minutes, plus cooking time
2 slices white or whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces
1/3 cup (2 percent or whole) milk
1 pound ground pork or chicken
3 to 4 teaspoons sugar (my family likes it sweet so add less if you prefer)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I use freshly grated, and feel free to substitute with a different spice, say sage)
1 (14 to 17 ounce) package puff pastry, thawed completely
Flour, for dusting
1 egg, lightly beaten, and diluted with a tablespoon or two water
Black or white sesame seeds for sprinkling, optional
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Soak the bread in the milk. Combine the ground pork with the sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and unfold the puff pastry, rolling out if necessary. Cut into half to form two rectangles measuring 8 x 24-inches.
Add the soaked bread to the pork mixture and mix with your hands.
Divide the pork mixture into half and shape a mound of meat (like a mountain range) along the horizontal of each puff pastry rectangle, leaving an inch or so on either side.
Brush the long edges of each rectangle with the egg, then fold the sides up and pinch together to seal.
Turn the rolls over so that the seams are on the bottom. Brush generously with the egg, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Cut crosswise into 1-1/2 inch pieces.
Arrange the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes, or until golden brown. (If using a different brand, adjust temperature and time according to package directions.) Remove to a cooling rack and leave to rest for a few minutes but devour while still warm!
Note: You can freeze the sausage rolls to keep them fresh for a later date. Just reheat them in an oven at 325 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes or in a toaster oven. I find this a good strategy as gobbling too many too quickly (and you will!) may be hazardous for your health.
This post is part of the monthly Let’s Lunch Twitter blogger potluck. This month we pay tribute to “The Marijuana Chronicles,” an anthology that features Cheryl Tan’s short story. For more Let’s Lunch “Munchies” posts, follow #LetsLunch on Twitter or visit my fellow bloggers below:
Annabelle‘s Scallion Pancakes at Glass of Fancy
Anne Marie‘s Pepper-Stuffed Tater Tot, Fried Pickle, Cheese Whiz and Garlic Bread Burger at Sandwich Surprise
Cheryl‘s Spam Fries with Key Lime Mayo at A Tiger in the Kitchen
Emma‘s Homemade Pizza Rolls at Dreaming of Pots and Pans
Grace‘s Fry Sauce, with an Asian Twist at HapaMama
Linda‘s Sam Sifton’s Trinidadian Chinese Five Spice Chicken at Spice Box Travels
Lisa‘s No-Time-To-Wait Nachos at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Vivian‘s Spam Bacon & Kim Chi Sandwich at Vivian Pei