Friday, April 1, 2011

Baked Egg Rolls (v1) - a Work in Progress...

...and this is after I tried to "save" it in Photoshop.
You can use all the technology you want, but
if the pixels ain't there...

...as is my photography.

I was all set to photograph every step, show every ingredient, but the temperature in my (west facing) kitchen was approximate to that of the sun's surface after a day that reached 80 and I thought, "Screw it - let's just get this done".  I know - last week I was cleaving to a hot soup because it was rainy and chilly and this week I'm bitching about my too-hot kitchen. When I finally got around to taking a picture, it was dark and the light was bad - I didn't want to use a flash though and yes, my haste and inattention shows.


I've wanted to make a baked form (rather than fried) for a  while just to see if it was worth it and I had all of the ingredients I needed.  I started from a recipe I found on FoodNetwork.com but kept it vegetarian - at least for this round.

Are these JUST as good as the best fried egg roll?  No dude, they're baked. Duh.  Using egg roll wrappers, the dough got crunchy but it's a little tougher - as expected.  Are they worth it because they taste good?  Yes - the method is good - I just want to work on the tastiness of my filling.

Really, we're just wrapping food in dough - it's not rocket science, kids.

Just make sure your filling is not too juicy and you don't over stuff the wrapper.  Next round, I'm either adding tofu or meat - chicken, pork, or maybe shrimp because I think that the protein will 'fill out' the flavor and the texture of the filling and absorb some of the liquid given off by the vegetable ingredients (keeping it a little drier).
This is just how we roll.

In the sauce, I substituted a teaspoon of Agave for the mirin in the original and added a squeeze of lime as well. Because I did not use crab - or any other protein, my yield was 8 rolls rather than the 14 in the online recipe.

This is called a work-in-progress because I learned a few things but it's definitely something I'll come back to - there will be a v2.  In reading about storage, the recommendation is to freeze them and re-heat in an oven (toaster or otherwise) rather than storing in the refrigerator.  I'll be able to report on that as well in the next go-round.

Vegetarian Baked Spring Rolls
Makes about 8 rolls

Equipment: 
 - sheet pan, 
 - a baking rack that fits inside the sheet pan, 
 - small skillet
 - pastry brush for brushing the tops of the rolls before baking
 - Optional: Silpat to line the baking sheet.
Oven: 425 F / Rack: middle

Filling
  • 1.5 cups shredded savoy cabbage (napa works, too)
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 2 teaspoon chili garlic paste
  • 2 T cilantro, chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 4 scallions, chopped
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil (peanut, canola, etc.), divided.
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten (you'll need less than an entire egg white - you can freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray)
  • 8 egg roll wrappers
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil + 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil combined - to brush the egg rolls
Sauce

Make this first - just mix up all of the ingredients and set aside.  
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Prepare the Filling

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Combine the cabbage, carrots and all the ingredients through the fish sauce in a bowl large enough that you can comfortably toss them.
Sweat the scallions in the preheated skilled in one teaspoon of the oil, on medium for 2 minutes.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Don't let anything color. Let that mixture cool down for a few minutes and then add it to the cabbage and carrot mixture and toss well to combine. Taste it for seasoning.

Fill the Wrappers and Bake the Rolls

Set the baking rack into the baking sheet, on top of the Silpat (foil will work, or you can leave it bare if you get excited about washing stuff).  Brush the baking rack with a little canola oil.

Have you ever made a burrito?  You'll do fine with this step - just don't over fill. Check out the image above if you have questions.  Place two heaping soup spoons of filling horizontally across the wrapper just below the center line. Fold up the lower corner and then fold the sides across the top.  Roll it once and moisten the upper corner with a little egg white (I use my finger for this). Continue the roll.  Place seam-side down on the baking rack.Leave at least an inch around all of the rolls.  Brush the tops sparingly with the canola/toasted sesame oil mixture. Poke each one with a skewer a couple of times on the top, or with the tip of a sharp paring knife.

Cook for 15 minutes on the first side, then flip them over with tongs and back for approximately 8 minutes on the other side. Unlike fried rolls, they won't uniformly brown but they should be golden brown-ish with some darker brown spots.


Remove the pan from the oven and place the rolls on a paper towel.  Do NOT eat them right away - at this point they are really, really, mouth-burning old-school McDonald's Hot Apple Pie hot. I'd say a five-minute rest is good.

Serve with the previously-made sauce for dipping.

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