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This recipe is for cooked vegetables, but by all means add ground pork, chicken, or shrimp if you wish.
Makes 20 rolls
20 frozen egg-roll wrappers, 8 to 10 inches square, defrosted
1 egg white, lightly beaten
vegetable oil for deep-frying
FOR THE FILLING:
3 tablespoons peanut or sunflower oil
3 cups carrots cut into matchstick strips
1 ½ cups shredded white cabbage
7 oz (drained weight) canned bamboo shoots, rinsed and cut into thin sticks
2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, with stems removed
3 ¼ cups thinly sliced button mushrooms
2 teaspoons finely chopped gingerroot
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 oz cellophane vermicelli, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, drained, and cut into approximately 2-inch pieces with scissors
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 egg white
pinch (or more) of ground dried chili pepper
1. Make the filling: heat the oil in a wok or skillet. Add the carrots, cabbage, and bamboo shoots and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add both kinds of mushrooms, the ginger, and soy sauce and stir-fry for 3 minutes longer. Add the noodles and scallions and stir-fry over high heat for 2 minutes until the liquid evaporates, but the vegetables are still moist; season to taste. Remove the mixture from the pan and leave to cool.
2. Place an egg-roll wrapper on a flat surface so one corner is pointing toward you. Put 2 tablespoons of the filling on this corner. Press the filling down a little and roll the corner of the wrapper over it, away from you and toward the center. Fold in the twocorners that lie to your left and right. Brush the far corner of the wrapper with a little egg white and roll up the wrapper filling to make a neat cylindrical, well-sealed roll. Repeat with the remaining filling and the wrappers, making your egg rolls as even in weight as possible.
3. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer, wok, or pan to 350 F. Put four egg rolls into the oil, turn down the heat a little, and deep-fry for 6 to 8 minutes, turning them several times until they are golden brown. Remove the egg rolls with a perforated spoon and drain on paper towels.
4. The egg rolls should be kept warm in a slow oven with the door ajar until you are ready to serve them all. Alternatively, let them cool, then refry them for a minute or so in hot oil just before serving.
5. Cooked egg rolls can be frozen for up to four weeks and reheated straight from the freezer. Heat the oil to 300 F and deep-fry the frozen rolls for 6 to 8 minutes so the filling is heated right through and the wrapper is crisp. If the oil is too hot, the wrapper will blister before the filling has defrosted and become warm.
Szechuan Shrimp Chow Mein
Serves 4 as a one-bowl meal
24 uncooked jumbo shrimp, shelled, cut in half lengthways and deveined
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup peanut oil for frying
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped gingerroot
1 teaspoon sugar
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Szechuan pepper, crushed in a mortar with a pestle until fine, or 1 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 red tomatoes, skinned and chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 to 10 oz egg noodles, cooked
2 tablespoons chipped cilantro leaves
1. Rub the halved shrimp with salt and keep them in the refrigerator while you prepare the spice mixture.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a wok. Add the shallots and ginger and fry for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute longer. Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, noodles, shrimp, and cilantro leaves, and continue stir-frying for 2 minutes.
3. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet. When it is hot, add the shrimp and fry, stirring them all the time, for about 2 minutes. Remove them with a wire scoop and transfer to a tray lined with paper towels.
4. Reheat the noodles as described on page 16. Stir them into the contents of the wok and mix well. Add the fried shrimp and cilantro leaves and go on stir-frying for 1 minute longer. Serve immediately.