Tuesday, February 8, 2011

247. Chicken Egg Rolls, Finger Food

I just love a good egg roll. The trouble with purchased egg rolls, however, is that you never know what you are getting until after the first bite. There are good ones and then, the other kind...barely edible. Sad to say, I have experienced more of the second kind in my lifetime and I don't know why.

I have tasted egg rolls where the outside is hard and greasy or thick and doughy and sometimes, the filling composed of things that taste terrible. Egg rolls are quite simple to make and because the filling is inexpensive, there is no reason for the poor quality sold to consumers.

If you want an outstanding egg roll every time...make your own. The skins are found in many grocery stores and easy-to-follow directions are in the packages. Egg rolls cook up quickly and do not take much time to assemble. The filling can be made well ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.

Hint: Do not fill the egg roll skins too soon before frying...sometimes the filling softens the skin and if the skin sticks to anything, it will  tear as it is picked up. You do not want that moisture to come into contact with the hot oil. If the skin does tear, simply break it open, remove the filling and put it in a new skin, discarding the first.

(Alternate veg. and meat: cabbage, mushrooms, green pepper, seafood, pork, celery, carrot).

Chicken Egg Roll

Two egg rolls and vegetables or fruit on the side make a filling, and inexpensive meal.

1 Chicken breast half, frozen
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
2 green onions and tops, slivered
1/2 C bamboo shoots, drained and julienned
1/4 C water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 C mung bean sprouts, washed and drained (use fresh if possible)
4 egg roll skins

1 T cornstarch
1 T soy sauce
1 T water

Brown mustard
Sweet and Sour Sauce (cranberry sauce pictured, post #179)

Cut up listed vegetables and set aside. Mix cornstarch, soy sauce and water until smooth. Set aside.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan lightly with oil. On medium high heat, add partially frozen chicken breast. Sear both sides to brown lightly and turn to continue the process which also defrosts the meat. When chicken is golden, remove to a cutting board and slice thinly. Add chicken slices back to pan, add a little oil if necessary, the garlic and salt to taste. Stir fry, until the pink color is gone. Overcooking will dry out the meat. Remove and set aside. Cut meat into slivers or small pieces

Mix prepared vegetables with chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Re-stir soy mixture and add to chicken mixture. Cook and stir to thicken. Immediately remove from heat to cool.* (Directions for filling skins, below).

*Always use cooled vegetables and meat for the filling. The meat should be cooked the day it is used. The filling should not be too moist. Taste and adjust before filling.

To fill egg rolls: Place 1/3 C or less of the mixture in the middle of one skin; don't overfill. Fold the corner nearest you over the filling and roll firmly to tuck corner under. Moisten the two side corners with beaten egg or water and fold them toward the center. Continue rolling and moisten the last corner and edges and seal. Set aside. Quickly fill remaining 3 skins. Do not stack.

Heat a pot of oil 1 1/2-2 inches of oil, 350 degrees. When oil is hot and using tongs, gently lower two egg rolls into the oil. Turn after first side is golden. Remove to a paper towel to drain and continue with remaining egg rolls. Again, do not stack egg rolls. Serve with sauce and mustard. Makes 4 egg rolls.

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