Saturday, May 7, 2011

Baked Shrimp & Veggie Egg Rolls with Dipping Sauce

I'm not too sure where the inspiration to make egg rolls came from, but I sure didn't fight it. Wrapping up food in other food is one of my favorite pastimes, so I guess it was just a matter of time before I tackled these crispy, tasty Asian treats. I remember making gyoza (potstickers) with my Dad when I was a kid, so I felt up to the challenge, even if I hadn't the slightest idea how to roll an egg roll.

These are not your typical egg rolls. In my opinion, they are much better - lighter, and just as crispy-flaky, but baked, not deep fried. This means less oil, which means less fat, and also much less cleanup. I chose to use carrots and bean sprouts with a bit of green onion, but you could also use Asian cabbage or even a cup and a half of an Asian bagged salad mix, like the kind with broccoli matchsticks in it. (That's a good idea, why didn't I think of that before?) You can use ground chicken, beef, or pork, or go all-veggie.

YUM. Also that is some sort of reflection in the sauce, not a foreign body.
I used Nasoya egg roll wraps, but you can use any brand of Asian style egg roll wraps. They provide a decent-looking recipe on the package, but I made a few changes. Instead of ground pork, I used shrimp, and I think I skipped a couple of ingredients altogether. No matter! These were delish, and MUCH easier than I was expecting, though I wouldn't really call this a "quick" meal fix. Most of the time of cooking these went into chopping carrots!

This recipe makes 6 egg rolls. Of course, if you use mini wraps, it will make more.

6 egg roll wrappers - Nasoya or other brand
12-15 shrimp, shelled, and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated ginger root
2 T olive oil, and another T later
1 T sesame oil
About 1 cup bean sprouts

1. Combine 2 T olive oil with sesame oil in a frying pan or wok. Add garlic and ginger. Heat on low for 1-2 minutes, then turn off heat. (This gets the oils from the garlic and ginger to mingle with the olive oil, making the flavor richer and more evenly infused).

 [This is a good time to chop your veggies.]

2. Stir-fry shrimp in oil mixture until JUST cooked - entirely pink and white, and opaque. This should take about three minutes. Add veggies and stir-fry for another two minutes, then let the mixture cool.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. This is the fun part - really!
Lay the wrap on the counter with one point facing you. Spoon the filling across the wrap from left to right, leaving a bit of space from either side for wrapping. Take the bottom point of your wrap and fold it over top of the filling. Fold the sides in towards the middle and roll the filling towards the top point of the wrapper. The biggest threat to your successful wrapping will be bits of carrot trying to poke through, but this is easily fixed.
To prevent the egg roll from unwrapping, dip your finger in a little water or oil and use this as glue to seal the top point of your wrap and any openings where you feel the wrap needs to be glued together.
The risk of unwrapping is much greater if you're frying these, but it is still a good idea to make sure there aren't any major gaps in your wrapper. It's just not as critical.

5. Place egg rolls seam-side-down on a greased baking sheet, brush with olive oil and bake for 10-15 minutes. Ours took 12 minutes to get lightly golden and crispy. They definitely need a minute or three to cool down before they can be eaten, but they should be eaten as soon as possible thereafter for maximum deliciousness.

[While they're baking is a good time to throw together a salad, if you want to.]

Then there's the dipping sauce.

I can't claim much responsibility for the sauce, as fantastic as it was. I combined about half of a 7.5 oz. jar of Asian plum sauce (in the Asian condiment section of your grocery store) with about a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a half teaspoon of chili oil for just a little bit of heat. It. Was. So. Good. These even got a wordless, semi-comatose-looking mouth-full thumbs-up from Brady!

Plum sauce: The secret to maximum deliciousness.
These took about an hour from start to finish, and were well worth the effort. I will readily admit that mine looked more like "egg packets" than "egg rolls," so I guess I just need more practice! I served them with a green lettuce and radish salad with sesame ginger dressing.

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