Lebanese Cheese Rolls
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Unlike most of the recipes I have shared with you so far, this is not a dish that I technically grew up eating at home, but, rather one that I would always eat in restaurants in Lebanon during my visits. I remember me and my siblings would always fight over the last one, especially my cheese-obsessed brother. They are just that hard to resist!
Lebanese inspired cheese rolls are also one of the most popular appetizers made during Ramadan. I love to make a large quantity of these rolls before Ramadan and freeze them. They freeze wonderfully, and can be deep fried straight from the freezer.
Type of Cheese Used
Cheese rolls are nothing new to the appetizer world, but what distinguishes the Lebanese version is the type of cheese and wrappers used. The cheese used is ‘akawi’, which is a firm salty white cheese famous throughout the Middle-east. I buy mine from my local middle-eastern grocer. The cheese is a bit too salty so, before you shred it, soak it in a bowl of water for 20 minutes to remove some salt.
If you cannot find akawi cheese, you can use another white cheese such as queso blanco or quest fresco. Both substitutes are mild in taste so, you would need to add to salt or use a natural saltier option like feta or halloumi. I like to mix the akawi with mozzarella as the mozzarella tames the saltiness and add the cheesy, stretchy factor to the rolls.
Cheese Roll Wrappers
The wrappers in this recipe, are so thin and when fried, so crispy! There are a couple of different wrappers that work wonderfully in this recipe and the first one is phyllo. Phyllo dough is most known for its use in baklava. It is stored in the freezer so you will need to let is defrost at room temperature for about an hour before using. It also dries up pretty quickly, so cover with a damp towel or paper towels while you are preparing them.
Another wonderful option for dough which I recently have been using more than Phyllo is spring roll pastry. It is different than egg roll wrappers, as it does not get bubbly when deep fried but, retains its smooth texture on the outside. I have only been able to find these spring wrappers at international store like my Middle-eastern grocer, Indian grocery stores, and Asian grocers. The brand is “Spring Home.”
I really hope you enjoy this Lebanese version of a mozzarella/cheese roll as much as I do! If you try this recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you took any pictures, share it with me on Instagram, so I can repost it on my stories.
Soak the whole akawi cheese in a bowl of cold water for at least 20-30 minutes before using. Shred the akawi cheese and place in a medium-sized bowl.
Add the shredded mozzarella, chopped parsley and black pepper and mix well.
Set up a large plate or tray to roll the cheese rolls on.
Mix the teaspoon of flour with a little bit of water to make a paste to use as your glue.
If using phyllo dough, cut the sheets in half and turn it so a pointy side is facing you. Spread 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling on top. Fold sides in first, then the bottom over.
If using spring roll pastry, use the whole sheet and roll using the same technique.
Transfer the cheese roll onto the plate seam side down.
If you are not frying immediately, freeze them for about 30 minutes and transfer to a freezer-safe storage bag. They last a few months frozen and make a great easy snack when your short on time!
Heat up the oil to 350F degrees and drop about 4-5 cheese rolls at a time. Fry until golden, about 3 minutes.
Air-Fryer (Alternate Method)
Set the air-fryer to 375F. Spray the cheese rolls with cooking spray on all sides. Place the cheese rolls in the basket of the air fryer, without over crowding. Air-fry for 2 minutes. Flip the cheese rolls over and air-fry for 2 more minutes.
Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Serve hot.
Lebanese Cheese Rolls
- 12 Spring Roll Wrappers (or 6 sheets of phyllo dough)
- ½ cup Akawi (Shredded)
- ½ cup Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded)
- 2 tb. Parsley Finely Chopped
- ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp. Water
- Vegetable Oil for Frying
- Shred the akawi cheese and place in a medium bowl. Add the chopped parsley and black pepper and mix well.
- Have a large plate or baking sheet set aside.
- Mix the teaspoon of flour with a little bit of water to make a paste to use as your glue.
- Cut the phyllo dough in half and turn it so a pointy side is facing you. Spread 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling on top. Fold sides in first, then the bottom over.
- Using your fingers or a pastry brush, dab a little of the ‘glue’ on the triangle bottom and fold the rest of the roll. Repeat until you run out of filling.
- Transfer the cheese roll onto the plate seam side down.
- Heat up the oil to 350F degrees and drop about 4-5 cheese rolls at a time. Fry until golden, about 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Serve hot.
- Air-Fryer (Alternate Method) : Set the air-fryer to 375F. Spray the cheese rolls with cooking spray on all sides. Place the cheese rolls in the basket of the air fryer, without over crowding. Air-fry for 2 minutes. Flip the cheese rolls over and air-fry for 2 more minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Serve hot.
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