EGG ROLLS WITH HUI MIN: (Hui Min is not a new Oriental Sauce, it is the name of my friend.)
I have to confess. I find egg rolls a bit scary. I never really knew what was in an egg roll, and therefore had some trepedation about ordering them. Now the kiddos love them and always order them, and I of course steal bites and love each bite. So when my friend Hui Min [Way Ming] invited me over to learn how to cook egg rolls, I was very excited.
Hui Min is a cook. Her father and mother owned a Chinese Restaurant in Arkansas for most of her growing up years. Prior to her parents move to the United States, her father had trained as a chef. He learned all the different regional styles of cooking in China. Just like the U.S. which has regional specialites– Texas BBQ, Maryland Crab Cakes, Maine Lobster Rolls, California Rolls, Boston Baked Beans, etc. . .–each region of China has their specialties.
Our kids play soccer together and are also in the Youth Orchestra together, so they all get along.
But before we begin cooking, let’s stop and have some tea–green tea.
Little Man helped himself to tea for the next hour. I was very surprised he would chug down unsweetened tea, so he must have been really thirsty!
Hui Ming instructed me on which package of rolls to buy. This package says “spring rolls”, but are not the spring rolls that we associate with Vietnamese food.
(photo from here.) These spring rolls wrappers are made of mainly tapioca starch and rice starch. There might be a way to fry them, but when I tried they were a sticky mess.
Now if you are truly crazy you will make your own egg roll wrappers. (Recipe here.) Or you can just buy them from your local grocery store. My local Kroger’s carries them in the Asian Food Section.
Hui Ming began by browning 2 pounds of turkey in her wok. She likes turkey rolls as they are a little more healthy. When I made my egg rolls, I used Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Pork recipe. The pulled pork in the egg rolls was excellent.
Hui Min [Way Ming] started by getting out her wok and splashing in some oil. Later when I made them at home, I just used my extra large skillet. While the oil is heating, chop up some celery.
. . .and some onions. Hui Min didn’t “dice” her celery and onions, but rather sliced them up into attractive slices. I don’t know how she did it, as her knife was flying.
When the ground turkey was cooked, Hui Min heated up some more oil, then sautéed the celery and onions together.
Now here is a truly time saving tip. Hui Min buys coleslaw mix!! She usually adds one bag for each pound of meat. (In this case two pounds of turkey = two bags of cole slaw mix.) She used to chop up a cabbage and shred several carrots until on day she realized that she could just buy the bagged cole slaw mix.
Add the cole slaw mix to the sautéed celery and onions to just soften the cabbage. Now wasn’t that easy!
Now if you are going to deep fry the egg rolls, you can skip this step–as the cabbage gets quite cooked in the hot oil. Hui Min didn’t deep fry her egg rolls, but rather sautéed them on the stove.
Add the meat you are using, and combine. This is a photo of the ground turkey. . .
. . .and this is a photo using the pulled pork.
To season the veggie-meat filling, Hui Min used some different looking jars. I got a general translation on all the ingredients and tried them at home. From back row left to right:
- Black pepper–easy enough.
- The next container is Granulated Mushroom Bouillon. Basically it is just like adding a bouillon to “up” the flavor. I don’t have “granulated mushroom bouillon” and didn’t use it when I made them at home. I think if you want a mushroom flavor you could easily just sauté up some mushrooms along with the celery and onions.
- Himalaya Pink Salt. Regular salt works just fine, but pink salt is just plain old fun.
- Fried Garlic–I minced my own garlic and sautéed it with the celery and onions.
- Fried Red Onion–This is a dehydrated onion similar to the onion flakes we can buy in the spice section of the grocery store. Add dried onion powder, dried onion flakes, or just add extra onions when sautéing.
Vegetarian Mushroom and Oyster Sauce. I don’t own any. However, I do use Oyster Sauce in several Thai recipes, so I do have it on my pantry shelf. You can find it in the Asian Section of most grocery stores. It contains oyster extract, some soy sauce, and other flavors. This ingredient really makes it taste like a Chinese Egg Roll, and not a cabbage roll.
Hui Min took a pinch to make sure the flavor was just right, then added some soy sauce.
HOW TO ROLL EGG ROLLS: Hui Min began by separating all of the egg roll wrappers. They just peeled apart quite easily. I noticed that coconut palm oil was a top ingredient in the wrappers, and I think the coconut oil made them quite pliable.
Next Hui Ming turned the wrapper so that it made a diamond (not a square). She added a spoonful of the cabbage-meat mixture.
She then folded the bottom of the diamond up over the mixture, . .
. . .and began rolling.
She used her index finger to kind-of pinch in the cabbage-meat mixture, . . .
. . .and then folded in the sides.
Then she rolled it up the rest of the way.
The last little end just stuck to the rest of the roll.
That is how you roll an egg roll.
We placed our rolled egg rolls with the ending side down and continued to roll. Our kids had just been sledding together and all seven of them were quite hungry–so was I!
Hui Min just sautéed her egg rolls in a lightly oiled skillet. Later when I repeated the recipe I deep fried my egg rolls. (See the first photo of this post.) Hui Min says that you can also bake them in the oven. I have several frozen in my freezer that I plan on baking, but I can’t tell you how it works because I haven’t done it yet. The deep fried egg rolls were delicious (as all deep fried foods are), but the sautéed ones were much healthier and almost as tasty. I don’t think I will deep fry my egg rolls again.
Now when you set the table, you set out silverware, but in this household, they set out chop sticks. Hui Min also uses chopsticks in cooking. She can manipulate most foods with chop sticks. Everytime I would have used tongs, she uses chop sticks.
After an afternoon of sledding (kids) and an Asian cooking session (ladies), we were glad to sit down and eat dinner at Hui Min and Dave’s house. What a fun afternoon. What a delicious dinner. Hui Min cooked up another Chinese dish, but I will save that for another time.
Thanks Hui Min! I’m ready for another cooking lesson.