Poll Results - What is Your Favorite Chinese Appetizer?
Egg Rolls: 20.0%
Crab Rangoon: 15.5%
Spring Rolls: 12%
Char Si Bao: 6.75%
Lobster, Shrimp, or Tofu Rolls: 6.25%
Chicken's Feet: 2.75%
Egg rolls emerged as the clear winner. While the egg roll - along with chop suey - is sometimes criticized as being "pseudo-Chinese," it is not entirely clear where it originated. Most sources state that egg rolls were invented by Cantonese immigrants to the United States, and that only spring rolls are eaten in China. (The main difference between spring rolls and egg rolls is the thickness of the wrapping). However, I've also read that the egg roll was actually invented in Canton, but took off in America.
Either way, westerners have clearly adopted the egg roll as their own. Below is a recipe for deep-fried egg rolls with a pork and shrimp filling.
1 package egg roll wrappers (4 1/2" by 5 1/2")
1 pound fresh pork (or barbecued pork)
1 medium onion (sliced)
2 stalks celery, cut diagonally
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
6 water chestnuts (fresh if possible), sliced
1/2 pound suey choy, sliced thinly, 1 inch lengthwise
2 green onions, diced
1 pound fresh bean sprouts
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
salt and pepper to taste
a bit (less than 1 teaspoon) cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
salt, pepper, accent (if desired) to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water*
2 to 4 cups oil for deep-frying
Mix seasoning ingredients together. Cut the pork into thin strips, add the seasonings and marinate the pork for between 10 and 15 minutes.
While the pork is marinating, prepare the vegetables, and the gravy mixture.
Heat wok and add oil. When oil is ready, add the celery and onion and stir-fry. Taste and add salt and sugar if desired. Remove from wok. Add the pork to the wok and cook until well done (place cover on wok). Remove. Clean the wok and stir-fry separately the mushrooms, water chestnuts, and bean sprouts. Check the seasoning while stir-frying the bean sprouts and add salt and/or sugar as desired. Stir-fry the suey choy, covering and cooking for approximately 1 minute, again adding salt and/or sugar if desired. Combine all the ingredients in the wok. If necessary, drain some of the juice from the vegetables out.
Add the gravy, pushing the vegetables up against the sides of the wok to form a "well" in the middle for the gravy, and stir to thicken. Mix thoroughly. Add green onion. Set the filling aside to allow to cool before wrapping.
Wrapping: Mix the cornstarch and water, slowly adding the water to the cornstarch until you have a "glue" which will be used to seal the wrappers.
To wrap, lay the egg roll wrapper out with the short (4 1/2") side directly in front of you. This will be the dry side. The two long sides will be called sides 1 and 3, and the other short side directly across from you will be called side 2. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper, spreading it out but not getting too close to the edges. Using your fingertip, spread a bit of the cornstarch/water glue along edges 1, 2, and 3. Fold over the dry side, then take side 2 and fold it over, making sure the two sides overlap. Press down firmly on sides 1 and 3, making sure they are well sealed.**
Deep-frying: When oil is ready, add the egg rolls, sliding them carefully in the wok one at a time. Deep-fry until they are golden brown, drain on deep-fry rack or paper towels. Keep on a tray lined with fresh paper towels until needed. Do not stack the egg rolls or reheat them in the oven.
*If desired, instead of cornstarch and water you can substitute beaten egg or egg white.
**Most recipes use the "envelope" method for wrapping. I prefer the method described: not only is it easier to learn, but you can put more filling in each egg roll, and the rolls tend to be crispier.
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