Thursday, April 21, 2011

Egg rolls from food storage?

Several years ago, a friend wanted me to go to a Chinese food cooking class with her. Let me just say up front that I really didn’t want to go. I don’t love Chinese food, mostly because of some of the weird ingredients. Now not to offend anyone, I just had never had Chinese food when I was growing up.

When I was in high school, we traveled around to several tournaments and competitions and because the upperclassmen always got to choose where we ate, it was always Chinese. It soon became obvious to me that I either had to learn to like Chinese or be very hungry. I always ordered fried rice and chicken egg rolls. So adventurous, I know. Skip ahead to the adult and adventurous me.

A few years ago I enrolled in some computer classes and traveled with three other ladies about an hour away to attend these classes. The three of them had talked in advance before they picked me up, about where they wanted to have lunch. Yup, Chinese. Every week for 8 weeks. Luckily I discovered that I could have sweet and sour chicken with my egg rolls and fried rice. I also discovered that I really love egg rolls, as in serious egg roll love.

So it was with reluctance I attended the cooking class. (These classes were before I discovered sweet and sour chicken.)I figured I could handle a few samples and maybe even learn how to make better fried rice. What I didn’t expect was that we would learn how to make egg rolls. That got my attention, especially the fact that we were making the egg roll wrappers from scratch as well.

I’ve bought several different kinds of egg rolls over the years but they were often tasteless or too chewy, though occasionally they wouldn’t be too bad. Now I have over the years made egg rolls a couple of times but I always hesitated to make them because it was always a big deal to get the oil out and fry them and not have them turn out greasy.

I recently bought some 6” egg roll wrappers thinking I should make egg rolls again. I wanted to bake them this time so I searched through all my recipes and read up on how to bake egg rolls, and finally combined 2 recipes and made the best egg rolls I’ve ever had. Modest, I know. I loved that these were baked instead of fried, which was a big plus for me. I kind of expected them to not be as crunchy because they were baked but the crunch was perfect. I froze the leftovers and have heated them for lunch a few times (almost every day since I made them) and they are really good reheated as well.

The, the point of this long story is that I was thinking how nice it would be to make egg rolls from food storage. So I tried it. It worked great. I have shredded cabbage and carrots and dried onion and celery as well as soy sauce in my pantry and they all worked great. The food storage egg rolls I made had canned chicken in as well it tasted great.

So if you are looking for a fun new food storage recipe, this could be it. Here is the recipe for the chicken egg rolls. I used a leftover chicken breast from a Honey Baked Chicken recipe (going to try some leftover Café Rio sweet pork in the next batch). I’m including the egg roll recipe I used as well as the recipe for the homemade wrappers, though you can buy wrappers if you want to save a step. If you love these as much as I did, you may want to dry some vegetables for your storage so you can include this meal to you food storage menus. (You just need to reconstitute the veggies before putting the egg rolls together if you are using dehydrated veggies.)

I also made a quick sweet and sour sauce for dipping. I tried to find the simplest sauce recipe I could using food storage items and this one was great with the egg rolls. The easy sauce recipe is at the end of the post.

Baked Egg Rolls
½ c. Chopped onions
½ c. Celery, diced fine
1 clove Garlic, minced
4 – 5 c. Shredded cabbage
1 ½ c. Grated carrots
¼ t. dried ginger (or more, fresh if you have it)
2 T. cornstarch
1½ T. water
1½ T. soy sauce
1½ t. veg. oil
2 t. brown sugar
Fresh ground pepper or cayenne pepper for more heat
1 c. cooked chicken finely diced (one chicken breast, seasoned)
Egg roll wrappers
Water to seal wrappers
Non-stick cooking spray
Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray; add the first 3 ingredients. Sauté a minute then add cabbage and carrots. Cook and stir over medium heat until vegetable are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add diced chicken. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, ginger and pepper until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes; remove from the heat. Spoon ¼ c. of chicken mixture on the bottom third of one egg roll wrapper; fold bottom up and fold sides toward center and roll tightly. Brush top corner of wrapper with water to seal. Place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Spray tops of egg rolls with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 425º 9- 11 minutes, until wrappers start to brown. Turn egg rolls over and bake another 9-10 minutes or until egg rolls are lightly browned and slightly crispy. Watch carefully the last few minutes of baking time. Serve with dipping sauces. Y:16-20 egg rolls

Egg Roll Wrappers
2 c. sifted flour
¾ c. cold water
1 egg
½ t. salt
Combine all ingredients with a fork and stir till the flour is moistened. Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside for 30 minute. Roll out on a well-floured board, 1/16” thick and cut into 6” squares. The thinner the wrappers the better they will be. To make egg rolls, place the square of dough with one point facing you and one point facing away from you, like a diamond. Put ¼ c. filling on lower third of dough. Fold up bottom corner over the filling. Fold in both sides then roll up, tucking edges in as you go. Dip fingers into water and put on top edges on either side of the top point and finish rolling up. Bake or deep fry in hot oil.

Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce
½ c. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
½ c. vinegar
1 T. ketchup
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add vinegar and ketchup and bring to a boil, stirring well. Mixture with thicken and become clear

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