Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Dad's Egg Rolls...

During high school, my dad and uncle ran a Canadian Chinese take-out restaurant and I use to help out on the weekends running the cash and taking orders behind the counter. I will never forget the intoxicating smell of fried egg rolls wafting in the air. Mmmm.. the aroma of their crispy fried skin taking over the restaurant had me constantly salivating and waving a finger to my dad over the fryer to put in one extra. We use to have a customer who ordered 200 egg rolls for pick up every Sunday religiously. They were so-OO good!

Egg rolls should not be confused with spring rolls which are more widely produced. Egg rolls have a thicker, deep-fried wrapping typically filled with bean sprouts and meat, while spring rolls have a thin translucent wrapping, also deep-fried and filled with anything from a combination of vegetables, vermicelli to various meats. Egg rolls are mostly sold in Canadian Chinese take-out joints whereas different versions of spring rolls are ubiquitous in all types of Asian restaurants.

Whenever my siblings and I reminisce those good ol' times, our dad's egg rolls come top of mind. If the craving gets too strong, I just go out to buy their ingredients and make them at home. It is really easy to do. Egg roll wrappers can be found in the frozen section near prepared spring rolls in most Asian supermarkets.

My Dad's Egg Rolls
Makes 24 egg rolls

1 pkg. egg roll wrappers, thawed in fridge for four hours or overnight (I use Wing's)
4 large handfuls beansprouts
six dried shiitake mushrooms, hydrated for two hours covered and soaked in water, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 lb. of Chinese bbq pork (char siu), thinly sliced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
salt and ground white pepper
1/4 hot chicken broth, or 2 tsp. chicken seasoning in 1/4 cup water
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. corn starch in 1 Tbsp. water

Blanch bean sprouts in a skillet/wok with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil for one minute, then drain over colander and place into a large bowl of cold water to cool. This will rid the strong beany aroma and flavour, and boil out any unsanitary dirt. Drain well.

Heat a skillet or wok over medium high heat with 1 Tbsp. peanut oil. Sauté shiitake mushrooms for one minute, then add bbq pork, and cook for another minute. Add the bean sprouts, green onions, season with salt and ground white pepper and toss well. Pour hot chicken broth and soy sauce and cook until mixture is soft and the liquid is cooked in. Stir 1 tsp. corn starch in 1 Tbsp. water and stir to thicken and coat the mixture thoroughly. Set over colander to drain excess liquid and let cool almost completely before wrapping. 

Lay out your wrappers side by side Brush beaten egg over all four edges and place 1-1/2 Tbsp. of filling in its centre. Fold the long sides up with the egg brushed side to seal. Seal the ends by crimping down with a fork. Repeat until all wrappers or filling has been used. The Wing's Brand contains 24 wrappers.

When oil is ready (I use peanut or canola oil), slide each egg roll carefully into the sauce pan one at a time. Deep-fry in batches until they are golden brown (do not over crowd), then drain on paper towel-lined tray or rack set side-by-side. TIP: Oil is ready for frying when you dip in a wooden skewer and small bubbles form on its side.

 Serve with plum sauce and delight in this wonderful crispy savoury treat! Kids love 'em!

Dark specks formed due to some liquid emitted from wraps and fried. 
Avoid by making sure wraps are well sealed.

TIP: For leftovers, reheat them in the oven on low 250 F for 20 minutes.

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