Wok's up man?
So I know its been a while since my last post and believe me I have been meaning to post more often but you know,...life gets in the way. Now this happens to everyone, things we intend to get done end up being left undone due to time constraints, work, socialization, life emergencies and the like, the trick is to try to manage your time in such a way that it doesn’t happen or at the very least happens a lot less often. Now how can a blog about cooking help me with this you ask,...well simple feeding ourselves takes time and if we can find a way to get food made that is more conducive to our schedules it would obviously help in such matters.
Often what happens in our lives is we get stretches of time where we don’t really have that much to do coupled with other times when we seem to be so overwhelmed with various tasks that we have no idea what to do next. One of my solutions to help mitigate this is from time to time, when I am in the midst of one of those too much time on my hands periods, I make large batches of food that will store well so that I can eat on the run later when I am busy if need be. Many different types of foods are ideal for this such as meatloaf and mashed potatoes as you can portion them out into freezer containers, freeze them and keep them for months on end but everyone makes meatloaf and quite frankly I personally get kinda bored with the same American style comfort food all the time.
BAM! The Chinese come to the rescue...
Whats wonderful about simple Chinese style food is that not only is it delicious but is is fairly simple to make and usually doesn't make too much mess either but you really need a wok to cook it properly. A great deal of Chinese food especially that which we as North Americans are familiar with is stir fry based and simply no cooking pot or pan can compare to the wok when it comes to making stir fries. Two major things I like,...no make that love about stir fries is that, A)They are absolutely fantastic for stretching out your meat (proteins) and B)For the most part they lend themselves fairly well to semi long term storage. On top of all that due to the fact that you use a lot of veggies and very little oil (most of the time) stir fries tend to be quite healthy.
The thing is a stir fry doesn't have to be a stir fry in the end, there is so much more you can do with it. You can use a stir fry as the filling for a mushu style dish, you can put it into steamed dumplings, but my personal favourite is you can put it into eggrolls!!!
Not quite Chinese Egg Rolls
Note- This recipe makes about 36 egg rolls so you either are going to have to store them or have a lot of friends around to help you eat them.
Prep time for this one is a bit longer than previous recipes at about 30-40 minutes. Cooking time comes in at about 20-30 minutes.
Dishes dirtied- 1 large Wok, 2 Steel Spatulas, 1 Cutting board, 1 Chef's Knife, 1 Grater, 1 large Frying Pan, 1 small bowl, and 1 Fork.
2 lbs. Ground Pork (Beef, Chicken or Turkey can be used instead if you wish)
3 Baby Bok Choy Chopped
2 cups Grated Carrots
8 oz. Chopped Mushrooms
8 oz Bean Sprouts
10 Thai Hot Chilies Finely Chopped
10 Cloves of Garlic Finely Chopped
3 Tbsp. Of Grated Ginger
3 Tbsp. Soya Sauce
2 oz. Sesame Oil
2 cups Vegetable Oil
2x 1lb. Packaged Egg Roll Wrappers (Aprox. 34-36 Wrappers)
First things first you need to prep all your ingredients because once you start cooking things go fairly fast. So to this end make sure you have grated the carrots and ginger, chopped the bok choy, mushrooms, chilies and garlic, basically make sure everything is actually ready for cooking.
Now you take your Wok and put it on a medium-high heat say about 6 or a bit more on a stove top that goes to 10.
Once the wok has heated up a bit pour in the Sesame Oil then put in the Chilies, Garlic, and Ginger.
Once the garlic has started to brown (about 10 sec) Throw in your Mushrooms and Carrots. Toss them in the oil using your spatula to stir it around until all the mushrooms are starting to turn a little darker.
Now we add in the Ground meat and Soya Sauce once again stirring everything in the wok and trying to break up the ground meat into smaller pieces in the process. You will notice as the meat cooks a small amount of water and grease will begin to pool at the bottom of the wok we will let this cook for a bit constantly stirring until that pool begins to reduce a bit.
Next comes the chopped Baby Bok Choy which we will add to the mix and continue stirring for another half minute or so.
Finally we add the Sprouts at which time just toss everything together so its all well mixed take off the heat and cover as the heat of the wok and the rest of the food will be enough to insure the sprouts are cooked enough.
This has to be allowed to cool for a while and any excess liquid that may have pooled in the bottom of the wok needs to be syphoned or spooned off.
We now have our Egg Roll filling,...YAY!!! Next comes the egg rolls.
We now will take Egg break it into our small bowl and beat it with the fork until the Yolk and White are thoroughly mixed together.
Take a single egg roll wrapper place it down then take some of the egg mix and with your finger or a brush put a little smearing of it around the perimeter of the egg roll wrapper.
Then take a small amount of the filling say about 2 heaping tablespoons or a bit more and place it into the centre of the wrapper in an oblong shape running lengthwise along the wrapper. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the filling and squeeze the ends shut and you finished forming the egg roll.
Once you have formed your egg rolls you then have to cook them to fry up the wrapper so we take our large frying pan and get it up to heat on a medium to medium-high heat (about 5-6).
Once the pan is up to heat we put in the vegetable oil (the oil should be about 1 cm deep) and wait a few minutes for it to heat up.
Then one at a time put in an egg roll using the 2 spatulas to flip it in the oil until the wrapper has turned a nice bubbly golden brown.
The Egg Rolls are now done and can be served either by themselves or as part of another dish with some plum sauce or chutney as a side for dipping.
If you are planning to store the egg rolls as soon as they are completely cooled (important not to do this before they are completely cooled) place them in covered containers. They will freeze well but really have to be reheated from frozen in the oven or refried when reheating. They will also store for about 3-4 day in the refrigerator but once again you will want to put them in the oven or refry them for reheating. Do not try to reheat egg rolls in the microwave as the wrapper will end up kinda spongy and very rubbery.