Good fortune egg rolls
There's still time to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Stuff egg rolls with a chicken and veggie filling, and deep fry them for crispy treat to dip in a sweet and sour sauce.
The Lunar New Year celebration lasts 15 days so there’s still plenty of time to eat your fill of good-fortune and auspicious foods for a prosperous year ahead.Skip to next paragraph
Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Patricia Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens and has been published in numerous national and regional publications. Pat is also the creator of the “Asian Ingredients 101” iPhone and Android app, a glossary on-the-go that’s the perfect companion on a trip to the Asian market. Her first book, "The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens," will be available in paperback in September 2012.
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Egg rolls (also called fried spring rolls) are a favorite all year round but they’re considered an auspicious food during the new year because they resemble gold bars and thus symbolize wealth and prosperity.
If you’d like to see a demo of me rolling egg rolls as well as learn more about "lucky" new year foods, here’s a video of my segment on King5 TV’s New Day Northwest.
Here’s my recipe, enjoy!
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Fried egg rolls
Makes: about 25 egg rolls
Time: 1-1/2 hours
I’ve adapted this lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) recipe from "The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook." I used carrots because in Mandarin, orange carrots are called hong luo bo, i.e. “red carrots,” and red symbolizes good fortune, while the yellow carrots are close enough to a golden hue and gold symbolizes wealth.
Chinese chives are known as jiu cai which sounds like “forever vegetable,” and who doesn’t want a long life? Feel free to add or subtract whatever ingredients you’d like. Ground pork, glass noodles, cabbage, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, etc., are all great ingredients to add to the mix. The filling can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
3 medium orange and yellow carrots, shredded (1-1/2 cups)
1 cup (4 ounces) finely chopped green beans
1 stalk Chinese chives, finely chopped
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 package egg roll wrappers (usually 25 wrappers)
1 egg white, beaten, or water for sealing
3 cups (or as needed) vegetable oil for deep-frying
Sweet and sour sauce (recipe follows)
To make the filling, place the chicken in a medium saucepan and fill with water until the chicken is submerged by about an inch. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and cover. Let the chicken stand for 15 minutes. Test by cutting into a piece: it should not be pink. Let cool and shred the meat along the grain into tiny shards with your fingers, or chop into a confetti-sized dice. Reserve the stock for another use or discard.
In a small skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and light golden, four to five minutes. Add the chicken, carrots, and green beans, and stir to mix. Add the soy sauce, remaining salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste) and mix thoroughly. Add the Chinese chives and stir and cook until the mixture is heated through.
Allow the filling to cool completely.
To assemble the egg rolls, carefully peel one wrapper from the stack (cover the remaining wrappers with a damp cloth to keep them moist). Lay the wrapper on a dry work surface with one corner pointing toward you.) Place 2 tablespoons of filling just below the center line of the wrapper parallel to your body. Shape it into a mound 1 by 3 inches, leaving about 2-1/2 inches on either side.