Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rosie Makes Egg Rolls.

Last weekend, when I was visiting with Maxine in Danville, I got a call from Daughter Hawthorne, who'd come home to house- and Dixie-sit for us. Somebody was knocking on the door and she was in the shower and couldn't answer it. She described the car in the driveway and I knew exactly who it was and what he had for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't answer the door. It was my neighbor across the canal with a batch of egg rolls he'd just made. And because Daughter Hawthorne didn't jump out of the shower and answer the door, somebody else got MY egg rolls. Sniff. Sniff. Naturally, I've been jonesin' for egg rolls ever since.
Rosie's gotta scratch that itch. I whipped up some pork and shrimp egg rolls with a variety of dipping sauces. This hit the spot. Deliciously so.
I always have frozen pork loin chops in my freeze.
I had a frozen piece of pork which I only wanted to partially thaw out. When you're working with slightly frozen meat, you can slice it paper-thin. As usual, I got distracted by something else and let the meat thaw out more than I wanted. Slice as thinly as possible. If you had ground pork, you could certainly use that, but I like the pork slivers.
First I sliced off a bit of my cabbage. I'm sure you know how to slice a wedge of cabbage but I happen to like this picture so that's why it's here. Rosie can be both instructional and artistic.
Part of my mise en place: shredded cabbage bean sprouts julienned carrots sliced scallions chopped onions
More of my mise: shredded pork pile o' shrimp
Mince the shrimp.
I used equal amounts of pork and shrimp. Maybe 1 cup each.
Seasonings for the shrimp/pork filling: Mirin Tamari sauce freshly ground salt and pepper
I probably poured in a tablespoon of each.
Possibly a little more.
Salt and pepper.
Mix well. Your hands are the most important tool in your kitchen. Use them.
Cabbage in.
Carrots in.
Onion in.
Bean sprouts and scallions.
Mix well.
Rosie's ready for assembly and Mr. Hawthorne is ready to assist. My ingredients: shrimp/pork/cabbage filling egg rolls water for sealing
Turn the egg roll wrappers on the diagonal and place filling in center.
Bottom triangle up. Brush water to seal.
Fold left side over.
Right side over.
And roll up.
Mr. Hawthorne did 4 rolls in the time it took me to do 2. Hmmm. Wonder how many rolls he could do AND shoot pictures at the same time.
Not to worry if you make a little tear.
Just wet and seal with another little piece of egg roll.
One thing I almost forgot ...
Flour whatever surface you put your resting egg rolls on. Else they will stick and tear. Instead of flour, I used a very fine cornmeal.
I have happy egg rolls now.
Next, a quick dipping sauce: Tamari sauce Mirin Sesame oil Toasted sesame seeds Garlic Imagine rice wine vinegar in the picture.
Mince the garlic. Two small cloves.
As for the amounts, I have no idea what I did. Let's say 1/4 cup of rice vinegar.
Perhaps 3 tablespoons of Tamari. You could substitute regular soy sauce. Both are made from fermented soybeans, but Tamari is richer, darker, and thicker. The flavor is smoother and more complex than that of the saltier soy sauce. Most soy sauces contain wheat and yeast. Tamari is gluten-free. For more information about the different types of soy sauces, please click here.
Perhaps 2 tablespoons of Mirin. Mirin is a clear, gold, sweetened Sake, or rice wine. Warm and richly flavored, Mirin is 8% alcohol.
Sesame oil is extremely strong and you could easily ruin a dish by being heavy-handed with the sesame. Start with mere drops, mix well, and taste test.
A few tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds.
Mr. Hawthorne and I both taste-tested and simultaneously said ...
... "It needs honey." About a tablespoon.
Next I made a wasabi paste. Just add water to the powder which has no wasabi whatsoever. I'm reading from the label on my Sushi Chef Wasabi: This high quality wasabi is a powerful, nose tingling condiment. Mix equal parts of wasabi and water to form a paste. Cover and let sit for ten minutes to allow the pungent flavor to mature. Ingredients: powdered horseradish, mustard, and artificial color (including yellow #5). I've been reading Jeffrey Steingarten's, The Man Who Ate Everything, in which he laments his difficulty in returning to Western food after a sojourn in Japan. Steingarten writes about experiencing his first true dashi, a Japanese stock fundamental to Japanese cuisine. After tasting Mr. Nagata's soup and explaining the process, Steingarten writes: That's it. The entire process takes twelve minutes. But only the most expensive restaurants in Japan still make dashi this way and my newly educated taste buds have not detected its presence in New York ... Mr. Nagata's simple, flawless soup sums up a traditional way of life in Japan that grows more remote with every passing day. Many modern Japanese have never tasted this central essence of their own cuisine. Or even tasted real wasabi. This is the pungent green Japanese "horseradish" you add to dipping sauces, broths, and the rice in hand rolls and sushi. Wasabi is a long root that grows only in the marshy banks of cold, fresh, free-flowing streams (and, it seems, only in Japan). The best wasabi grows on the Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo, is very expensive, and should be grated right before you use it. True wasabi has a mellow, sweeter flavor than the acrid paste we get in this country (and in much of Japan), which is mixed from a powder or squeezed out of a tube like toothpaste and contains very little wasabi. ... I tried a few favorite Japanese restaurants in New York, but missed the aroma of true dashi and the taste of real wasabi, the sprigs of kinome and the silkiness of sea bream. For an entire afternoon, I lost my appetite completely. ... Finally realizing that there is no way I can eat as I did in Kyoto, I slowly nursed myself back to health. I began by taking a spoonful of creme brulee now and then, a bite or two of pastrami on rye. Now, several weeks later, I can eat an entire small Western meal without much difficulty. But after dinner, I still feel a longing for a bowl of rice and two or three slices of fish. Where was I? Oh ... egg rolls! Here's Mr. Hawthorne's new toy he gave me for my birthday. He loves it. It's a laser thermometer.
I still use the end of a wooden spoon. See the bubbles coming out? It's 350 degrees. See the little laser on my spoon? Mr. Hawthorne confirms the temperature.
Egg rolls go into the hot oil. Do NOT CROWD the pan. It lowers the temperature of the oil and you get soggy and greasy instead of crisply fried. These cooked in about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes.
Assorted condiments: Citrus sriracha aioli Duck sauce Plum sauce Srirachi sauce Hot mustard "Wasabi" paste
I lurves me some egg rolls.


zzzadig said...

May I make a suggestion I know you will like? Next time, add a bit of your ginger in there somewhere, it really makes it zing. Now you done flung another craving on me.....

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I can't believe I forgot the ginger.
I'll just have to make more.
Problem solved.