It's the start of Chinese New Year today - the Year of the Snake. The celebration starts today and goes through the Lantern Festival in 15 days.
To honor the new year, I decided to make homemade Chinese egg rolls. Something I've never attempted before.
I made my own Chinese BBQ pork or Char Siu, to add to the filling. I bought about a pound of 'country style' pork ribs and slow roasted them in the oven. I marinated the pork overnight and cooked the pork yesterday and proceeding with the rest of the egg roll recipe today. It's a process but so worth it! Also great for when the weather outside isn't so nice.
If you don't like pork, you could also add shrimp or chicken or even leave them vegetarian. The filling consists mainly of cabbage and carrots, green onions, re-hydrated mushrooms and fried egg.
After the filling is cooked and cooled, the egg rolls are wrapped. As you can see above, I placed about 1/4 cup of filling at the far end of the egg roll wrapper. An egg white wash is brushed on the two sides closest to you and then you start by wrapping from the far end toward you. Once you get half-way (keep tucking the filling in with your thumbs), bring the two side corners to the center and overlap them. I like to tug the edges together as in picture #5. Then you finish rolling toward you. The egg wash keeps the wrapper together beautifully. I didn't have any break apart during deep-frying.
I deep-fried mine in my old Presto Fry Baby but you could also spray the outsides with cooking oil and roast them in a very hot oven. I haven't done that but when I share the link to the recipe there will be lots of comments telling you how.
I read that the cooked egg rolls can be frozen very successfully and they reheat beautifully in the oven.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Chinese Egg Rolls
Adapted from Allrecipes
Notes: I purchased cole slaw mix as a time saver and added a little extra shredded carrot. Also, I did not use MSG and did not miss it. I used bean sprouts instead of bamboo shoots. My egg rolls cooked faster than the 5-7 minutes stated in the recipe so watch carefully.
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 medium head cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 carrot, julienned
1 (8 ounce) can shredded bamboo shoots or bean sprouts
1 cup dried Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced thin
1 pound Chinese barbequed or roasted pork, cut into matchsticks
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon monosodium glutamate
1 (14 ounce) package egg roll wrappers
1 egg white, beaten
4 cups oil for frying, or as needed
Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Pour in beaten eggs and cook, without stirring, until firmed. Flip the eggs over and cook for an additional 20 seconds to firm the other side. Set egg pancake aside to cool, then slice into thin strips.
Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in cabbage and carrot; cook for 2 minutes to wilt. Add bamboo, mushroom, pork, green onions, soy sauce, salt, sugar, and MSG (if using); continue cooking until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in sliced egg, then spread mixture out onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
To assemble the egg rolls, place a wrapper onto your work surface with one corner pointing towards you. Place about 3 tablespoons of cooled filling in a heap onto the bottom third of the wrapper. Brush a little beaten egg white onto the top two edges of the wrapper, then fold the bottom corner over the filling and roll firmly to the halfway point. Fold the left and right sides snugly over the egg roll, then continue rolling until the top corners seal the egg roll with the egg white. Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers, covering finished egg rolls with plastic wrap to keep from drying out.
Heat about 6-inches of oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Fry egg rolls 3 or 4 at a time until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels
Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue Pork)
1 lb pork butt (cut into 4 pieces)
3 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
Char Siu (Char Siew) Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons maltose (I used Agave Syrup)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rose wine (I used Rice Wine mixed with a few drops of Rose Water)
3 dashes white pepper powder
3 drops red coloring (optional)
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Add all ingredients in the char siu sauce in a sauce pan, heat it up and stir-well until all blended and become slightly thickened and sticky. (It will yield 1/2 cup char siu sauce.) Transfer out and let cool.
Marinate the pork butt pieces with 2/3 of the char siu sauce and the chopped garlic overnight. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil into the remaining char siu sauce. Keep in the fridge.
The next day, heat the oven to 375 degree F and roast the char siu for 15 minutes (shake off the excess char siu sauce before roasting). Transfer them out of the oven and thread the char siu pieces on metal skewers and grill them over fire (I used my stove top). Brush the remaining char siu sauce while grilling until the char siu are perfectly charred. Slice the char siu into bite-size pieces, drizzle the remaining char siu sauce over and serve immediately with steamed white rice.
My Note: I slow-roasted 'country style' ribs in a covered enameled cast iron pot for about 90 minutes. I then placed them on a baking sheet, brushed them with the remaining sauce and broiled them until nicely charred.
Soy Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar (or red wine or black)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small clove minced garlic
1 minced green onion
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Stir until blended and serve