Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Homemade Egg Rolls

Egg rolls can be filled with whatever foods you like. I have even had avocado egg rolls. I have to say, they were delicious. Traditionally they are filled with a vegetable and meat mixture. In this country it is usually Chinese cabbage, carrots and bean sprouts. Chicken or pork are sometimes included. Napa or Chinese cabbage is usually more expensive than I buy. I just pick up a small head of regular green cabbage. Any leftovers can easily be made into cole slaw. I can’t say I have a set recipe, but here is what I do:

For 15 egg rolls:

½ small head of cabbage, cut into small strips or shredded
2 carrots, shredded (or a bag of shredded carrots)
1 package shitake (or whatever) mushrooms, finely diced
1 package bean or broccoli sprouts
1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced (or thinly sliced onion)

Combine all of the above in a large bowl. Add marinade mix and let sit for one hour, stirring on occasion.

Marinade mix:

½ cup rice vinegar (or whatever kind you have)
½ cup sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (this is worth spending a little money on for egg rolls. Ginger root is cheap and you don’t need very much)
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
4 cloves garlic, crushed

After marinating for one hour, pour into a colander and drain for 15 minutes.

I usually make egg rolls when I have left-over chicken or pork from another meal.  I just dice the meat and add it to the veggie mixture just before I fill the egg rolls.

When it is time to assemble the egg rolls, drain the veggies, chop the meat and add to the veggies. Get a small amount of water in a custard cup to use for sealing the egg rolls. I usually buy 2 packages of egg rolls wrappers, but get what you can afford. Any left over veggie mix can be thrown into fried rice.

Take an egg roll wrapper from the package and fill according to the directions on the package. You set it down with a point facing you, pat about 1/3 c. of veggies into the middle and bring the corner closest to you over the veggies. Dab water on all edges.  Fold the sides in to the center and finish rolling. Dab a little water on the corner farthest from you to seal the egg rolls. Set on a platter seam side down and finish rolling all the egg rolls.  It is vital you seal all the folded edges with water.  You want the veggies to steam inside the egg roll.  You don't want oil getting inside.

When you are ready to fry them get a large fry pan with a high edge. Add vegetable oil and/or shortening and melt until you have about 1 inch of oil. Put the heat to medium and test the temp by dropping a bit of cabbage into the oil. When it sizzles quickly the oil is ready. Carefully place several egg rolls in the pan, but do not over crowd them. Keep an eye on them and turn them when the bottom is brown. Cook the other side until brown and them remove to paper towels to drain. Keep the finished ones warm in the oven while you cook the rest.  Finish cooking all of the egg rolls.

If I have any of the mixture left I usually use it to make some fried rice to serve as a side dish.

Fried rice is very easy to make. I always cook my rice ahead of time, or just use left over rice. You could easily use instant or boil-in-the-bag rice too. Dice up whatever veggies you like or use left-over veggies from the egg rolls. Take some peas out of the freezer to add at the last minute. Stir fry your veggies in a very hot pan with a little oil. When the veggies are starting to look a little cooked, add your rice. Continue you to stir fry until the rice is crispy. At this point you can add some soy sauce, garlic and ginger, or you can use a packet of fried rice seasoning with soy sauce. If you have pre-cooked meat, add it now and keep stirring it until it is warm. Add the peas at the end and cook them just until they are heated through. Take your egg rolls out of the oven and enjoy a wonderful dinner! I also make my own duck sauce for dipping.

Duck Sauce

1 jar peach jam or orange marmalade (watch for these to go on sale and keep on hand)
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

Heat all of them together on medium to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool and use for dipping. Keeps in the refrigerator for a week or more.

The beauty of doing this yourself is two-fold.  First, you get to use ingredients you like in your egg rolls.  Second, you end up with way more than you ever get when you go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant.  They reheat nicely in the toaster oven.