Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rockin Chinese Egg Rolls

Almond Pressed Duck and Egg Roll
In my immediate family I am outnumbered when it comes to Chinese food. I love it and they hate it. Are we dysfunctional? You might ask. When it comes to food, most of the time the answer is is yes. My family just loves salads. I think that they were all gerbils in a past life. Don't get me wrong I enjoy a good salad once and awhile, but not every night. If we are having hot dogs they will want a salad to go with it. Cole slaw, baked beans, and fries okay. Not a salad. It's a lot like Dirty Harry's thoughts about ketchup on a hot dog. Never!
Egg Roll Hot Mustard and Sweet & Sour Sauce
When I was a much younger man I worked down the street from a Chinese restaurant. They had a fantastic lunch menu featuring an assortment of lunch entrees. The meal consisted of and egg roll, won ton soup, fried rice, and hot tea. At least once a week we would go there for lunch. The owner, was also the waiter, cashier, and occasionally the cook. When I or any of my co-workers walked in together he knew exactly what we would order. He would stop to formerly ask if we wanted the same thing and then proceed to serve us a bowl of soup, an egg roll appetizer, followed by our entree, and of course hot green tea. If you didn't finish the tea or drink it, he would use it to clean the table. It really works on a Formica table.
Sesame Chicken, Shrimp Egg Foo Young and Chicken Chow Mein
All of the food was good, but there was something about the egg roll, served with homemade sweet and sour sauce, and hot mustard. Why some restaurants use the single serve packets of hot sauce and sweet and sour sauce is beyond my comprehension. It wasn't just that I liked it, I'm talking an addiction.
Every now and then he would take me into the kitchen and show me how he cooked something, or give me a cooking tip. I had one question about the egg rolls and that taste. "What is that?" I asked. With a smile he replied "peanut butter." "What about the sweet & sour sauce? I continued. Again he smiled and said "apricot sauce." He told me that he gets it in China town in Chicago. He never actually gave me recipes, but did let me watch.
(Rockin Chinese Egg Roll)
1 bunch Napa celery cabbage, washed, dried, shredded
to taste bean sprouts, fresh, blanched
1 pound ground pork, browned
1/2 cup chicken, shrimp or pork, cooked, diced
2-3 stalks green onion, sliced fine
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 whole egg, beaten
2 teaspoon peanut butter, or more
1 package egg roll wrappers 
as needed peanut oil, for frying
NOTE: This is not for people with peanut or shellfish allergies.  
This is a "to your own taste kind of recipe." Take one bunch of the celery cabbage and wash thoroughly.Drain and pat dry with a paper towel, or if you have a salad spinner use that. Finely shred the cabbage and place in a bowl. Finely slice the green onions and set to the side. Blanch some fresh bean sprouts (not many) in boiling water and then shock them in ice water to stop the cooking process., Drain and set to the side. Beat 1 egg together with a couple of drops of water. Set this to the side.
Shredded Napa (Chinese) Cabbage
Brown the ground pork and drain. Chop small chunks of cooked chicken, pork or shrimp, or any combination of these and mix with the ground pork. Slowly mix in the sesame oil and the peanut butter, which acts as a binder, and as the secret ingredient for these egg rolls. Add the cabbage, onions and bean sprouts to the mix. This is an equal mix of most ingredients.
Bean Sprouts Drained
Set about 2 tablespoons of the filling on one side of the egg roll wrapper. Roll into a cylinder, tucking in the sides as you roll. Seal the egg rolls using the beaten egg mixture. In a deep fryer or deep sided pot bring peanut oil to 350ºF and slowly lower egg rolls into hot oil. Be careful that it does not splash. Cook both sides until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve with hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce.You're on your own for the sauces.

© TMelle 2014


Al Cerkan said...

Damn, now all I can think of is Pressed Duck and Egg Rolls...
My go-to place for Americanized Chinese food is Orange Garden on Irving Park Rd in Chicago. 83 yr old restaurant in same location with only 3 owners so far. Pressed Duck is amazing and their homemade sweet sour sauce tastes of fresh citrus, and folks buy it to go by the pint!
Great blog, sir! Recipe for chinese style pressed duck???

The Retro Cooking Guy said...

I like a place in Palatine called Heng Weng. Their egg rolls are good and they make their own sweet & sour sauce. I have asked twice and they gave me some to take home. But really their almond pressed duck is good and egg foo young isn't bad either. I think they're closed on Mondays.
I'm still looking for a good Americanized restaurant almond pressed duck recipe. If you have one,why not post it below.