A funny thing has happened to egg rolls. They have become the stars of stir-fry and one of the most delicious “new” appetizers around.
CHINESE CHICKEN EGG ROLLS
Although it departs from the usual shrimp and cabbage, this recipe produces a smooth, moist filling easily adapted to variations.
FOR STIR FRY
1 lb. shredded velvet chicken
2 tsp. peanut oil
6 large medium-dried black Chinese mushrooms (presoaked)
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
VELVET COATING FOR CHICK BREAST
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1 large egg white
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp oil
Dice chicken breast,
Bring 1 quart water to a boil, add 1 Tbsp oil and lower heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Scatter in chicken, gently stir to separate until coating turns white. Immediately pour into a strainer to drain.
Set Chicken aside on a platter,
Soak mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Rinse, squeeze dry, remove stems and shred
Have bamboo shoots (canned are okay) ready
Rinse bean sprouts and have at hand.
Heat large wok over high heat until hot; add 3 Tbsp oil, swirl, and heat for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and stir rapidly to sear; add bamboo shoots and bean sprouts and stir in tossing motions for about 2 minutes. Add salt and soy sauce and stir. Give dissolved cornstarch a big stir, pour over vegetables and stir until glazed. Add sesame oil, give the contents a few fast turns and pour over the chicken on the platter. Stir to mix, divide in 14 portions and let them cool completely before filling the egg rolls.
Dissolve 1 Tbsp cornstarch in 2 Tbsp water. Add egg yolk left over from velveting, stir until smooth
WRAP EGG ROLLS
1 pound commercial egg roll wrappers, usually found in supermarkets, near produce. You want the square, Cantonese wrappers which resemble thin noodle dough.
Turn wrapper so that you see a diamond shape when you look down upon it. Take one portion of filling and place a little below the center. Fold the bottom, using sealing mixture on each fold, and continue until the wrapper looks like an open envelope. Roll to the far point, pressing lightly to seal into a firm roll. You need to deep-fry immediately, at least partially.
Heat wok or heavy pot over high heat, add 4 cups oil and heat to about 375 degrees. Slide in the rolls and deep fry, turning constantly.
If you do this in advance, even the day before, deep fry about 3 minutes, until very lightly browned. Drain, cool, cover and refrigerate. Refry until golden brown just before serving.
Cut each egg roll into 2 or 3 sections before serving. Use a serrated knife, cutting across the roll. Serve with small dishes of hot mustard, plum sauce and soy sauce mixed with a little vinegar.
Replace chicken with pork or beef (either Chinese barbecued or poached and seasoned).
In place of bamboo shoots, use shredded string beans, snow peas, cabbage.
You might decrease chicken and add a little diced shrimp or flaked crab meat.
A little finely shredded or diced cooked Smithfield ham, and coriander or scallions, could be added for a stronger flavor.
It almost seems it takes longer to read this recipe than make it, but once you go through the steps, you will find the recipe quick, easy and delicious.