Sunday, July 26, 2009
I am a sucker for strip mall Chinese food. I've had some good experiences and some not so good experiences, but I keep coming back for more. Since I have frequent cravings for this variety of Asian cuisine, I'm always on the look out for recipes that will allow me to re-create my favorite dishes in a healthier way at home. I've been successful just a few times at making restaurant worthy Chinese with Cashew Chicken, Beef and Onion Stir Fry, and Steamed Dumplings. And now I've got this egg roll recipe! I really enjoyed these little egg rolls. I liked that I could really taste the flavors of the filling; the ginger, the garlic, the heat of the chili paste, the freshness of the cilantro, the warmth of the toasted sesame oil, the crispy ham, and finally the crab. Rather than just biting into the strip mall version and tasting "fried" and the one-flavored-filling, I enjoyed recognizing the flavors in this baked version and tasted them working in harmony for a delicious result. Kudos to Lauren Kempees for a well-written recipe! That said, they are baked, not fried, so they are missing that greasy-fried element that makes an egg roll an egg roll. I can get past the absence of the fried texture because I love the idea that I can more healthfully enjoy an old favorite. My husband was not as big of a fan of the baked egg roll as I. If any of you make these, please let me know what you think.
Here's whatcha need for the filling: cabbage, a carrot, green onions, garlic, ham, cilantro, ginger, crab meat, sesame oil, soy sauce, Asian garlic-chili paste and rice vinegar.
Cook the ham in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions; cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped cabbage and shredded carrot.
Mix together the crab, cilantro, chili-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, the soy sauce and vinegar.
Stir the veggie-ham mixture into the crab mixture until combined. Put 1/3 cup of the filling onto each egg roll wrapper. The recipe instructs to fold in a narrow strip on each side of the wrapper before rolling up. This method makes a longer, skinnier roll. I made the first one according the the recipe instructions. It was a little tricky. The method that I used for rolling the remaining egg rolls came from Tyler Florence. I saw him on The View rolling egg rolls with Whoopi. He put the filling right in the middle and folded one corner up to the middle and tucked it in under the filling, then he tucked in the edges and rolled it the rest of the way up. This method was much easier. Don't forget to brush the edges of the wrapper with a little bit of water/egg white mixture to help it stick.
Place the egg rolls on an oven safe rack on a baking sheet and brush with a mixture of vegetable and sesame oil. Bake the rolls at 425 degrees until golden on top, about 15 minutes. Then, turn the rolls and bake until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 more minutes.
I served mine with Annie Chun's Pad Thai which is a kit for Pad Thai in a box. I added the limes, sesame seeds, cilantro, and a little egg. For Pad Thai from a box I was pretty impressed. It tastes good and costs a fraction of what I pay at my local Thai restaurant. I also made the egg roll dipping sauce included with the recipe below. I didn't care for it. I ended up just using some sweet and sour sauce leftover from our most recent Chinese take out. I was just as happy with this dinner as I would have been if I'd shelled out the big bucks for carry out.(Patting myself on the back.) Hope you all had a delicious dinner also!
Baked Spring Rolls
Recipe courtesy Lauren Kempees for Food Network Magazine
Prep Time: 25 min Inactive Prep Time: hr min Cook Time: 30 min Level: Easy
Serves: 14 servings
For the Spring Rolls:
1 2-ounce piece deli ham, finely diced
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 1/2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic paste
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
14 square spring roll wrappers
1 large egg white
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 teaspoon chopped peeled ginger
1 scallion, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Make the spring rolls: Cook the ham in 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions; cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
Toss the cabbage and carrot with the hot ham mixture in a large bowl. Add the crab, cilantro, chili-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, the soy sauce and vinegar; toss.
Wrap the spring rolls. Pierce each roll with a skewer in a few places to prevent bursting. (I forgot to do this. No worries, mine did not burst.)
Place a rack in a baking dish and brush with vegetable oil. Mix the remaining 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil; lightly brush on rolls. Place the rolls on the rack; bake until golden on top, about 15 minutes. Turn the rolls; bake until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with the warm spring rolls.