Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crispy Fried Goodness: Egg Rolls!

I was craving some good, crispy egg rolls the other day, but I remember what a production making them was from watching my mom when I was little.  It was a lot easier to just watch someone make the egg rolls and then eat them!  However, since my mom wasn't here to make some for me and I didn't have any classes for a few weeks, I relished the opportunity to spend a few hours making egg rolls.

We have a deep fryer, but the husband (a.k.a. the person who has to clean up after my cooking escapades) requested that I just deep fry on the stove top instead. I agree that was easier for this recipe since the egg rolls fry up so quickly. I can't really see in the window of our deep fryer, and the egg rolls really do require frequent monitoring. It was pretty fun flipping them while they were floating in oil and seeing them get darker!

A few recipe notes:
  • If you don't have a whole afternoon to prep and cook, I would recommend making the filling the day before. It's a lot of chopping!  
  • The original recipe called for celery, but I didn't have any and didn't miss it.  
  • My mom used to serve egg rolls with a vinegar sauce, but I opted for a 50-50 mix of water and soy sauce heated in the microwave.  
  • If having a dinner party, I probably would use wonton wrappers and make mini egg rolls!

Chinese Egg Rolls
adapted from

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 4 cups peanut or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 bunches scallions (about 10), white and pale green parts cut into 2-inch lengths, then cut lengthwise into very thin matchsticks (2 1/2 cups)
1 medium carrot, cut into very thin matchsticks (1 cup)
8 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced 1/4 inch thick (3 cups)
1 lb medium shrimp in shell, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/4 lb ground pork
1 (1-lb) package Asian egg roll or spring roll wrappers
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Make filling
  1. Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add 2 tablespoons peanut oil, swirling skillet to coat. 
  3. Stir-fry ginger, garlic, and scallions until scallions are wilted, about 1 minute. 
  4. Add carrots and mushrooms and stir-fry until vegetables are softened, 4 to 6 minutes. 
  5. Push vegetables toward edge of skillet, then add shrimp and pork to center and stir-fry until shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  6. Add oyster sauce mixture and stir together all ingredients in skillet until combined. 
  7. Season with salt and transfer to a large shallow bowl. 
  8. Cool, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Make egg rolls
  1. Put 1 wrapper on a work surface, arranging wrapper with a corner nearest you and keeping remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap. 
  2. Spread a scant 1/4 cup filling horizontally across center of wrapper to form a 4-inch log. Fold bottom corner over filling, then fold in side corners. Brush top corner with egg and roll up wrapper tightly to enclose filling, sealing roll closed with top corner. Transfer roll, seam side down, to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Make more egg rolls in same manner, transferring to baking sheet as formed (you may have some filling left over).
  3. Heat 1 to 2 inches of peanut oil in a wide heavy pot (at least a 4-quart pot) until it registers 350°F on an instant thermometer
  4. Fry 2 egg rolls (don't crowd pot), turning with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined colander and drain rolls upright 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Fry remaining egg rolls in batches, transferring to colander.
  6. Serve immediately.
Yield: 12 to 14
Total time: About 2.5 to 3 hours

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