I got this recipe from Chef Yan, who worked as the executive chef at Chiam’s in Chicago’s Chinatown. I grew up eating his wonderful eggrolls. When I got a bit older, I got up the courage to ask him for the recipe, and he responded with: When I retire, I’ll give it to you. I don’t think he ever expected to see me again… but he did. Let’s just say that I LOVE a good eggroll.
Chef’s Note: Making eggrolls can seem a bit complicated; but in reality they’re pretty straightforward. What I thought I would try for this recipe is to divide it up into Stages, and then work through each one. If your knife skills are good, you’ll have these prepped in 30 minutes, and cooked in 10.
PREPPING THE INGREDIENTS
Julienne the pork, and reserve separately.
Chef’s Tip: Cutting the pork that thin presents it’s own problem, but a way to solve it, is to have a very sharp knife, and to put the pork into the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm it up a bit and make it easier to cut.
Shitake mushrooms have a thick woody stem, remove the stems, then julienne, and reserve separately.
Shred the cabbage (if you can’t find napa cabbage, try savory, or regular),
Julienne the diakon, and carrots, slice the scallions on the bias, and place into the bowl with the shredded cabbage.
Chef’s Note: diakon is a variety of the radish family (if you can’t find it, you could substitute a red radish), and has a pepper taste. The diakon has a lot of water, so to keep the eggrolls from getting soggy (I HATE it when that happens), lay the julienned diakon between two paper towels and press out the additional water.
Mince the garlic and ginger, and reserve separately.
Chef’s Note: What is julienne (pronounced: joo-lee-ehn)? To julienne something is to cut it into long, thin strips, like matchsticks that are 1/8 inch thick by 1/8 inch wide. Since we’re doing a quick stir-fry on the veggies, this will help them stay crisp and maintain their bright colors.
Chef's Note: Do you have to julienne the veggies? The answer is no... you could save time by simply grating all the vegetables. However, the end result would not be the same.
In a small prep bowl, whisk together the tamari, water and cornstarch, and reserve.
Have all the Additional Items at hand.
Stage 1: Add all the ingredients from Stage 1 in a bowl and set aside. This will give the pork a quick marinade.
Stage 2: Add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to a sauté pan over medium-high to high heat, and then add the mushrooms. Stir fry until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and then set aside.
Stage 3: Add a tablespoon of oil to pan and return to the burner. Add all the veggies from Stage 3, and stir-fry until they begin to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove veggies from the pan, and add to the reserved mushrooms.
Stage 4: Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan, and then add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for about 15 seconds, and then immediately add the pork and marinade from Stage 1. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until the pork begins to turn opaque.
Stage 5: Add all the veggies back into the pan, plus the reserved sauce from Stage 5, and allow to heat through, about 1 minute.
Remove the mixture from the pan, and spread out on a baking sheet. This will quickly cool the mixture, and prevent the veggies from over cooking. Tilt the baking sheet slightly to drain off any excess liquid.
Once they have slightly cooled down, place the mixture into the refrigerator, and allow to thoroughly cool.
Chef’s Note: Never work with hot ingredients. It will cause your egg-roll wrappers to become soggy.
Chef’s Note: One of the secrets to a good eggroll is the wrapper, and not all eggroll wrappers are created equal. To be honest, the most common ones that you find at the local food store are some of the worst. The best wrappers are defined as: Spring Roll Pastry. Three excellent brands are: Spring Home, Wei Chuan, or Lily. Check for them at a local Asian market. It’s a little more trouble but totally worth it.
Place a wrapper on a dry surface with one of the points toward you, like a baseball diamond.
Add about 1/3 of a cup of filling to the bottom third, and spread out into a cylinder shape.
Roll the bottom edge over the filling, and make it as tight as you can, without tearing the wrapper.
Moisten the left and right edges of the wrapper with some of the beaten egg.
Fold the corners in toward the center.
Add some more egg wash to the top portion and keep rolling up. Keep it as tight as possible.
There you go… a perfectly wrapped eggroll.
Cover with a piece of cling wrap, or a clean dishtowel (so it won’t dry out), and repeat for the other eggrolls.
Add enough peanut oil to a large skillet to cover the bottom to a depth of 1/2 inch.
Heat the oil to 375f (190c).
Depending on the size of your pan, add two or three of the eggrolls to the hot oil.
Chef’s Tip: The best way to accomplish this is with a good pair of tongs.
Cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn the eggrolls over and fry the other side until golden brown, about an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Drain on paper towels, and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Andy’s favorite dipping sauce:
Combine all the ingredients and then allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
1/4 cup tamari, 2 tablespoons filtered water
2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar, table variety, 1 scallion, thinly sliced