Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Egg Rolls

Our Chinese New Year party was how shall we say...not quite what we had planned.  The influenza invaded our house over the weekend.  So, we had to postpone our grandiose plans for Sunday evening.  By last night we were doing a little better but still not great.  The problem is that most of the groceries that I had purchased for this party were perishable and needed to be used sooner as opposed to later.  We ended up scaling down our menu considerably.  We scaled down our guest list even more.  Pretty much just the family attended with a few exceptions.  We had a great time nonetheless.  And we definitely made egg rolls.

Egg rolls are the quintessential element in my Chinese dining experience.  I love them.  I could go to a restaurant and just order egg rolls and be completely content.  So, no Chinese New Year party is complete without egg rolls.  This recipe is delicious.  I won't lie to you though...it is a time commitment.  Totally worth the effort and not difficult at all.

Let's get to it, shall we? 

You will need to buy some fresh vegetables from your favorite produce place.  You will need celery, a medium sized onion, mushrooms (8 oz package), green onions, bean sprouts (1 pound), and napa cabbage.

 You will also want to pick up some ground pork sausage, egg roll wrappers, and some water chestnuts.  The first thing we need to do is to prepare our vegetables.  Separate your cabbage leaves and rinse them well.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Slice into thin slivers and then chop them into one inch lengths.  You will need 1/2 pound of sliced cabbage.
Wash two celery stalks and slice thinly on the diagonal.  Wash and slice two green onions.  While you are at it, chop up the yellow onion.  I only used about half of it.  Put the celery and onions together in a small bowl and set it aside.

Chop up the chestnuts.  Rinse the bean sprouts and wash and slice the mushrooms.  Place them in a bowl and set aside.

Crumble and cook the pork sausage in your wok.  When it is completely cooked, set it aside in a bowl and wipe out your wok.

There's just one more thing you need to do before we start to bring all of this goodness together.  You need to make the gravy.  Measure out 4 tablespoons of water, 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce, and 1 tablespoon of corn starch in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve.  Set aside.

Now for the fun part.  Heat your wok over medium-high to high heat.  Add a couple tablespoons of oil for stir-frying.  When the oil is ready add the celery and onions and stir-fry.  Add pinch of salt and sugar if desired.  Remove from the wok and place in a large bowl.

Clean the wok and stir-fry the mushrooms, bean sprouts, and water chestnuts.  Add salt/sugar if desired.  Remove from wok.

Stir fry the napa cabbage.  Cover the wok and cook for about 1 minute.  Add all of the ingredients back into the wok and gently mix.  Push the vegetables up against the sides of the wok.  Add the gravy in the well that you have created.  Cook until thickened.  Mix well.  Set the filling aside and allow to cool before wrapping.

 Before you assemble your egg rolls, drain the vegetable/pork mixture well.  Otherwise you will end up with very soggy egg rolls.  I like to put my mixture into a colander over a bowl.

At this point everyone was hungry and things were getting crazy in the kitchen.  So I neglected to take photos of assembling the egg rolls.  I always follow the instructions on the egg roll wrapper package.  Orient your wrapper so the point of the square is facing you.  Place a heaping tablespoon of mixture in the center of the egg roll.   Fold the bottom corner up over the mixture.  Fold each side corner towards the center.  Using your finger, put a little bit of "glue" (1 tablespoon water mixed with 2 teaspoons of corn starch) on the top corner (this will help to seal it all up).  Then roll it closed and press to seal.

Deep fry your egg rolls until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  I like to line my serving platter with the extra cabbage slivers.  Serve warm with sweet and sour sauce.

 Happy New Year!

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