Saturday, March 12, 2011

American Chinese Takeout Series - Eggroll

When I was in college, a good friend of mine came up to me one day during lunch break and told me that," You are so lucky growing up as a Chinese. Your mum must have make you Chinese food every day!" I chuckled when I heard that. Truth is, first of all, my mum doesn't cook. It was my grandmother, who was the good cook in the family. Secondly, by chinese food, he was obviously refering to American Chinese Takeout food; General Gao's Chicken, Sesame Beef, Pork Fried Rice, Eggrolls, Crab Rangoon, Chinese Spareribs and the likes. Grandma just doesn't make that at home. It will always be plain rice, tofu, vegetable stir fries, a lot of steamed dishes which has nothing in common with the Takeout menu.

Now that I am married, my husband and in-laws (all white) has the same take on Chinese food as well, the ChineseTakeout. If I try making the Chinese food I grew up with, chances are they will not eat it, except for dad. He likes everything. Which prompt me to start a new series of recipes on my blog. The American Chinese Takeout Food Series. Trust me, they are no where near the authentic Chinese food in Asia; whether you are from the mainland or like me from Southeast Asia. One thing I can say for sure, they are pretty darn tasty.

Chinese Takeout - Egg Rolls
(Makes 25 egg rolls)
200gm jicama or water chestnut, julienned
200gm bamboo shoots, julienned
1 small carrots, julienned
2 stalks scallion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 tsp Chinese cooking wine or sherry
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp black pepper or white pepper powder
3 cups of oil for frying

For Wrapping
25 egg roll or spring roll wrappers
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp hot water

For Serving
1/4 cup Chinese hot mustard
1/2 cup duck sauce or Chinese plum sauce


Step 1: Make the filling. Prepare the ingredients and set it aside. Heat a wok over high heat till smoking. Add a tbsp of oil in the pan. Stir in half the chopped garlic. Saute till golden. Add in bamboo shoots, cooking wine, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 tsp of black pepper. Stir till combined. Dish out in a bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Repeat with the jicama-carrot mix. Add in the bamboo shoots and sliced scallion. Toss to mix well.

Let egg roll filling cool completely.
 Step 3: Begin wrapping egg rolls. Mix cornstarch with water. Ensure that you have your egg roll wrappers, egg roll filling and cornstarch mix ready. Place a sheet of egg roll wrapper on the plate with a corner facing towards you. Place about 1 1/2 Tbsp filling on the egg roll wrapper.

Step 4: Fold the corner closest to you towards the center of the egg rolls. Roll to seal the filling in the center.
Step 5: Fold the left corner towards the center of the egg roll. Repeat with the right corner. Make sure that filling is completely enclosed.
Step 6: Roll egg roll all the way towards the edge, making sure the sides are completely tucked in. You want the egg roll to be tight. Loose egg rolls will result in oil seeping into the egg rolls while frying. Apply a little of the cornstarch mix at the corner and roll to seal the egg roll.
Step 7: Place egg roll on a clean plate, seam side down while you continue to make other egg rolls. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap to avoid egg roll wrapper from drying out.

Step 8: Heat 3 cups of oil over medium high heat till it reaches 325F or 162C. Set up a wire rack for the egg roll to drain after frying. Fry egg rolls till lightly golden.

Drain well before serving.

Serve egg rolls with Chinese hot mustard and duck sauce ~ the American way or use any dipping sauce that you like.
Here, egg rolls and crab rangoon are served as an appetizer together with pork fried rice and a meat entree - all part of the infamous Chinese takeout combos.

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