Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fried rice, wonton soup and egg rolls

I made dinner for a couple in our neighborhood last night. We're both subscribers to an on-line forum where neighborhood issues are discussed. In a post regarding good Asian markets in the area, I happened to see her ask about places to buy chicken fried rice. She was lamenting an expired Costco membership, where she used to buy it frozen. I explained that chicken fried rice was very easy to make at home, but she wasn't convinced - so, seeing an opportunity to get to know a neighbor better and show off my fried rice prowess I invited them over for a casual dinner.

Fried rice is great by itself; but I had made wonton soup before and it turned out really well, and I've been itching to try my hand at egg rolls - so that was the menu plan.

I'd have rather done shrimp egg rolls and pork wontons, but since I didn't know if they had any issues with those foods I took the easy route and went chicken across the board.

The soup was my own home made chicken stock, seasoned. The wontons I filled with dark meat left over from one of the last times I made chicken picatta and had only used the breast meat. I cooked the meat, removed it from the bones, then left the bones to simmer to augment the frozen stock I had on hand. To complete the wonton filling I used ginger and some panko, a little salt and ponzu sauce and then processed it smooth. I thought they tasted very nice; I it the ginger level right where I was aiming for.

I was most worried about the egg rolls. I'm very picky about egg rolls, and I knew exactly how I wanted them to taste, but I wasn't 100% sure how to get there. I had studied several recipes and videos, and there was conflicitng advice. I knew I wanted a very crunchy cabbage. I knew I wanted the nuttiness of bean sprouts, but did the filling need to be cooked prior to being fried? Two videos I watched had both pre-cooked the filling, but I didn't think I wanted to. Fortunately I had plenty of time, so I did a test roll, and was very happy with the result. So my filling (thin sliced cabbage, sliced carrots, bean sprouts, chichen, leftover wonton filling, an egg, sugar, salt) was not pre-cooked. Everyone said they were very good, and I was certainly happy with them.

The fried rice was just how I always make it, rice, butter, scrambled egg, chicken. onions, carrots, peas, soy and oyster sauce. I thought it was a good batch. Had a ton left over so I sent them home with a package of it. I'm about to eat mine for lunch in a few minutes.

Sorry I didn't take any pictures, but if it's any consolation everything looked pretty much like you'd expect.

Are you in favor of irradating food?