A few days ago I finally bought the egg roll wraps I've been eyeing for awhile the way most normal people eye a pair of Christian Louboutin's (and I had to look up the correct spelling for that FYI). A lover of egg rolls since I've been able to bite into food, learning to make my own has been on my activity list for awhile. I remember being a little girl in Queens Village and always looking forward to having a taste of my grandmother's egg roll whenever I visited her and my grandfather during their lunch break. I had already been tagged as "la niña que no come na", which means the "the little girl who doesn't eat anything". Therefore, I didn't have the luxury of being ordered such exotic and fine foods such as egg rolls. I got Chinese chicken wings and french fries each-and-every-time...I guess the fact that I would empty out most of the egg roll that they'd let me try and re-stuff it with other things wasn't much of an indicator that I deserved such a fine appetizer of my own. Now, a thousand years later, the one thing that hasn't changed is that I still like to recreate things, especially food.
Today, for the first time ever, I finally made my very own egg roll without having to bite into it to empty out all of its contents in order to fill it with something else. My sister (the middle egg) came by for a visit and was starving. Evil raised eyebrow, light bulb went on above the head, I was inspired; I had an assistant! Without much of an idea what I was going to cook the chicken with, I just started grabbing contents out of the refrigerator and got to work, giving my assistant the chopping assignments while I got to boss her around and micromanage her. I don't have any picture of the prep stage since I wasn't planning on blogging about it, but my sister requested I do it so she can claim her fame. There's no recipe, no measurements (because I haven't a clue) but here is an outline of what we did.
While I cleaned and seasoned the chicken I had my sister do the fun work: dicing fresh garlic to itty bitty pieces. I seasoned the chicken with adobo and garlic powder then raided the fridge for some marinade. "I can't believe we have no Asian sauce!!!", I lamented, as if we really ever have any Asian seasonings. No problem! There was Archer Farms Mango Curry sauce from Target. I took only a tablespoon of that to keep the flavor light (remember, I had no idea where I was going with this-and yes, I do realize that now there is in fact a measurement here). I then tossed it into the chicken. Or tossed the chicken into the sauce... :/...whichever. I heated up some olive oil in a skillet and then threw the chicken in there letting each side whiten before putting the flame on low so it would be tender. The one thing I knew is that I wanted to dice the chicken. I then realized that the red peppers in the fridge would be a nice addition, and while retrieving that from the fridge I grabbed some Goya Mojo on the way back to the stove. I don't know what it is about Puerto Ricans and mojo, but it was there and this Puerto Rican Cuban girl's hand attached to it like a magnet. With the mango curry and mojo and everything in between, the only thing that was asian about this dish is "bok choy" and "egg roll". Hence the name Latina Caribena Egg Roll, which due to International Keyboard failure will be temporarily changed to "Caribbean Egg Rolls" for this post. SOO original, but that's the best I could come up with at this point.
Next, I turned to the garlic chopper to find she had not yet finished. While helping her complete this tedious mission, I felt it best to use the garlic for the bok choy, my "spotlight" veggie of the week. I threw the garlic in a skillet with cold olive oil and started cooking it on medium flame. I learned recently that this is the best way to cook garlic so that it doesn't burn too quickly and give off a bitter taste. When prepared this way, the garlic flavors the oil much better. I threw the bok choy in my aromatic unburnt garlic oil just as the garlic began to brown up and tossed it so that the garlicky oil caressed each leaf. Read Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende and you just may start speaking of food that way too! I then poured in some Nature's Promise Organic Chicken Broth and an "I don't know how much" amount of Brummel and Brown butter alternative, but keep it light. While I was doing this my lil elf was chopping up some parsley and my mom joined the crew and began dicing the now cooked chicken for me. I then removed the bok choy, diced it all up and mixed it with the diced chicken and fresh parsley. And what the hell, I poured the butter garlic chicken broth concoction over it too, why not? Tip: Studies show that a little bit of butter is essential for us to fully benefit from the nutrients in veggies. I can't find the article I read, but this blog article makes mention of it and offers recipes, though you may not want to use as much as they like to!
|Dreams can come true. Here I am thousands of years later, finally making my own egg roll stuffing. Totally a West Indies meets Latin Caribbean meets China deal here.|
Then we stuffed the egg roll wraps with our creation and began rolling up them egg rolls while the oil heated on the stove. When you get your package of egg roll wraps, you will find a picture tutorial on the back to teach you how to complete this difficult task. It's kind of like wrapping a gift (which it is btw) and then you just throw it in the heated up oil with the flap down so it seals. Well, don't "throw" it, place it. Tip: I recommend using 2 layers of the wraps for each egg roll; they are insanely thin and flimsy. The wraps will absorb less marinade and your stuffing less oil with two! The egg rolls in the photo are using just one, but my second time making these was so much easier with this tip.
|The final product, Latina Caribeña Egg Rolls, or simply, Caribbean Egg Rolls. YUM|
Well, there ya have it my loves! I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed eating these egg rolls and thank you for reading :)
Besos, Beijos, Filakia, Kissies!
Chef Goya Lisa xo
P.S. The photos were edited using Instagram for iPhone.