Simone Appetit: Papasan-sized Father’s Day egg rolls
Why is it we always almost miss Mother’s Day, running around and grabbing some tie-dyed carnations (that’s all they had left Mom!), yet we are so ON IT when it comes to Father’s Day?
Is it because our mothers are so selfless and unassuming, thinking only of our happiness and keeping their own needs on the back burner, that we take them for granted?
No. I don’t think so. I think it is because our fathers generally have more transferable frequent flier miles. Whatever the reason, this year I am organizing a nice Chinese dinner for my father, the highlight of which will be my monster egg rolls.
There are three things I hate about ordering restaurant egg rolls. Number one, they are too small; two, there are never enough and they are too small; three, you have to share them and they are too small.
Whenever I am driving south, I pull off at Old Town Folsom and head straight for Hop Sings, a classic Chinese restaurant that has been serving manly-sized (as big as the length of my hand) sensational egg rolls since 1957. It has taken me awhile to get my egg rolls close to Hop Sings’ heavenly perfection but, fortunately, I did master the recipe in time for Pop’s big day. And about those frequent flier miles…
Big Egg Rolls
You can find the egg roll wrappers in most grocery stores either in the frozen aisles, deli area or the organic food section. Make sure you get the biggest ones you can find.
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 pound Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water chestnuts, chopped
20 large egg roll or spring roll wrappers
1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon water, mixed together
Peanut oil for frying, 1-2 cups
Mix the pork and chicken in a bowl with cornstarch, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, pepper. Set aside. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok. Sautė the onion over high heat for about one minute. Add pork and chicken mixture and sautė stirring quickly until meat is cooked and in fine crumbles.
Lift mixture out of the skillet and spread onto a platter to cool, leaving liquid in the skillet. Add a little more oil to skillet if necessary and then add cabbage. Sautė two minutes until softened. Turn off the heat and mix in the flour and water chestnuts with the cabbage. Transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate meat and cabbage mixtures until cool. Combine when ready to make egg rolls.
1. To assemble: Place a wrapper in front of you, one corner pointed at you. Keep the stack of remaining wrappers on a plate covered with a damp towel so they don’t dry out Spoon about 1/3 cup mixture into the center of the wrap and shape the filling into a rectangle about three-inches long.
2. Fold the bottom corner up and over the filling, then fold in the sides over that. Gently pack the mixture inside. Rub some of the flour and water “paste” along the edges of the top corner and roll the egg roll closed to seal. If you are using round wrapper, place 1/3 cup of filling in the center of the wrap. Fold the bottom of the circle wrap up, then the top of circle down.
Then take the right side of the wrap and fold it in, towards the center. Then roll to close. Place the egg rolls on a plate, seam side down, as you roll them. Don’t roll more than you are able to fry in 10-15 minutes or the filling will begin to soak through the wrappers. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a heavy skillet to about 365°. Fry egg rolls 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Drain rolls upright in a bowl lined with paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour sauce or Chinese mustard mixed with soy sauce, all available in the Asian section of your local grocer.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news @ firstname.lastname@example.org.