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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time-Saving Double-Duty Prep: Recipes For Egg Rolls And Pot Stickers

Both of these recipes are from "The Take-Out Menu Cookbook," by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds.  It's one of my favorite cookbooks.  It's a good jumping-off point for dabbling in ethnic cuisines.  The recipes are easy to prepare and yield delicious results.  I've posted the recipe for Fried Rice from this cookbook before.  I recommend preparing the Egg Rolls and Pot Stickers at the same time because, one, they use many of the same ingredients so you can easily prep the ingredients for both recipes at once, and two, you can freeze the extras from both recipes to prepare later and have homemade Chinese takeout night anytime.

Don't let the long ingredient lists for these recipes deter you.  Most of the ingredients are easy to find.  Nowadays you can even find egg roll wrappers and dumpling wrappers at Walmart.  You might need to visit an Asian market for a few of the specialty ingredients, such as oyster sauce or toasted sesame oil.  Just go down the lists of ingredients for the two recipes, prepping each ingredient and portioning each into prep bowls.  Then you're ready to begin cooking.


2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (1-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 rib celery, minced (1/2 cup)
1 carrot, minced (1/2 cup)
10 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
1/2 head of napa or Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced (2 cups)
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and diced
1/2 pound ground pork
1 (16-ounce) package egg roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten
2 to 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
Chinese mustard, plum sauce, or sweet chile sauce, for serving

Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.  Add the ginger, garlic, green onions, celery, carrot, and mushrooms and saute for about 3 or 4 minutes, or until they soften.  Add the cabbage and saute for another minute or two.  Add the shrimp and pork and cook, tossing and stirring vigorously, for about 2 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

Add the reserved sauce and toss to incorporate.  Remove from the heat and set aside until cool to the touch.

Cover the egg roll wrappers with a piece of plastic wrap.  Place 1 wrapper on a work surface with one point facing you.  Spread 1/4 cup of the filling horizontally across the lower third of the wrapper.  Fold the bottom point over the filling, tightening the wrap over the filling, and fold in the side corners.  Brush the top corner with the egg wash and roll up the wrapper tightly, sealing the roll closed.  Transfer the rolls as they are made to a parchment-lined sheet pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Fill the rest of the wrappers in the same manner.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a wide, heavy pot, heat 2 inches of oil to 360 degrees over medium heat.  Carefully add 4 egg rolls to the oil and fry, turning them with a slotted spoon after about 2 minutes as they brown on the bottom.  Fry on the second side for another 2 minutes, or until they brown.  Transfer the egg rolls to a sheet pan lined with a double thickness of paper towels.  Fry the remaining egg rolls in batches of 4.  When they are all browned, the egg rolls can be kept warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes.  (Kearby's Note:  When we prepared these, we heated 5-6 inches of oil to 360 degrees and deep fried the egg rolls.  We fried them for about 4-5 minutes, until golden brown.)

Serve hot with Chinese mustard, plum sauce, or sweet chile sauce.

MAKE AHEAD:  The egg rolls can be assembled but not cooked, covered, and refrigerated for up to 8 hours or frozen for up to 1 month.  Thaw at room temperature for 3 hours before frying.  (Kearby's Note:  We have frozen, thawed, and cooked leftover egg rolls and they were awesome!  Freeze in a single layer on the parchment-lined pan, not quite touching.  Once frozen, remove to a ziplock bag, label, and return to the freezer.)


1/2 head of napa or Chinese cabbage, finely chopped (2 cups)
1 pound ground pork
1/2 green onion, minced (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 (1-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon Asian toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (12-ounce) package dumpling wrappers or wonton skins, cut into rounds
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 cup chicken stock

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon chile oil
1 garlic clove, minced

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, pork, green onion, soy sauce, cilantro, ginger, chives, rice wine, sesame oil, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Work the ingredients with your hands until completely mixed.  Heat a frying pan over medium heat and fry a tablespoon of the mixture to check the seasoning.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Cover the dumpling wrappers with a damp towel.  Place one wrapper on a work surface.  With a finger dipped in water, dampen the edges of the wrapper to help it adhere.  Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each wrapper and fold it into a half-moon-shaped pouch.  Make 3 or 4 pleats at each edge to gather the dough around the filling, and then pinch around the top of the dumpling to seal it tightly.  Arrange the dumplings on a parchment-lined sheet pan.  Assemble the remaining dumplings in the same manner.

Heat a large frying pan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat and add the oil.  When the oil is hot, add the dumplings to the pan and fry them on one side until browned, about 3 minutes.  Shake the pan to move them around during cooking and keep them from sticking.  Add the chicken stock to the pan and cover the pan tightly so that the pot stickers steam and cook through.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated from the pan.

(Kearby's Note:  It's important not to overcrowd the pan during the frying/browning step.  Fry in stages if necessary, removing any stuck-on bits from the pan and adding additional oil between batches if necessary.  After all pot stickers have been fried, then return all to the pan and proceed with the steaming step.)

To make the dipping sauce:  Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Let the sauce sit for at least 5 minutes to let the flavors blend.

Transfer the dumplings to a heated platter, garnish with chives, and serve with the dipping sauce.

MAKE AHEAD:  The dumplings can be frozen, uncooked, for up to 1 month and cooked directly from the freezer.  Any unused sauce should be refrigerated and discarded after 2 days.  (Kearby's Note:  Use the same instructions for freezing these as the egg rolls.)

Stuffed Mushrooms

These are hands-down the best stuffed mushrooms ever, and once you make them for family and friends they'll be requesting them for every event!  It's really easy to do most of the prep the day before, in fact you'll achieve the best results if you do.


1 1/2 pounds medium-size fresh mushrooms (all approximately the same size)
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup minced bell pepper
1/2 cup minced onion
6 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup bread crumbs (homemade or store-bought bread crumbs or Panko crumbs)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

The Day Before Serving Day:

Put the bacon in the freezer to firm up.  It's easier to dice that way.  Remove the cream cheese from the fridge to soften.

Clean the mushrooms and let them dry well on paper towels.  Trim off the very ends of the stems (throw the trimmings in your veggie freezer bag for veggie broth later) and separate the stems carefully from the caps.  Line a gallon-size ziplock bag with a paper towel.  Gently lay the mushroom caps on the paper towel in the ziplock in a single layer.  Use more than one ziplock bag if necessary.  Seal the bag and put the mushrooms in the fridge.

Finely dice the mushroom stems.

Remove the bacon from the freezer.  Use a very sharp knife to dice the bacon.

Cook the diced bacon, minced bell pepper, and minced onion in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon is partly cooked but not crisp and the bell pepper and onion are crisp-tender.  Pour into a strainer and drain off grease and liquid.  Transfer bacon mixture to a storage bowl (with a lid), add diced mushroom stems, softened cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well while still warm.  It's easiest to mix with a fork.  Put the lid on the storage bowl and refrigerate the filling.

Serving Day:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Remove mushrooms and filling from fridge.  Arrange mushroom caps in a single layer on an oven-safe platter (not your final serving platter).  Fill mushroom caps with the filling.  The easiest way to fill them neatly and evenly is to use a cookie scoop.

Put the platter of filled mushrooms in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, checking them every 10 minutes.  You'll be able to see and smell when it's time to remove the mushrooms from the oven.  Their texture will look different, they'll release some moisture, and they'll start to smell like, well, mushrooms.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter.  Stir the chopped parsley into the bread crumbs.  Add the melted butter and mix well using two forks.

When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, gently press a small palmful of the bread crumbs to the top of each mushroom, covering the filling with a mound of crumbs.  Place the mushrooms on an oven-safe serving platter.  Return to the oven and bake just until bread crumb topping is golden brown and crispy, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Keep a close eye on them; the difference between golden brown and shrieking smoke alarm is about 2 seconds!

Note:  If you want to prepare the mushrooms at home and serve them somewhere else, after putting the bread crumbs on the mushrooms, wrap the platter tightly with plastic wrap.  At the serving location, remove plastic wrap and heat mushrooms at 350 degrees until the mushrooms are hot and the crumbs are golden brown and crispy, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Again, keep a close eye on them.

And One More Note:  We always intentionally increase the measurements of the filling ingredients so that we have extra filling left over.  The extra filling is decadently good rolled up in an omelet.