Saturday, February 24, 2007

Egg Rolls with Sweet & Sour Sauce

"I can resist everything but temptation"
Oscar Wilde.
And I say, I can resist everything but 'food temptation' !! An overwhelming desire to eat a plate of tantalizing dish Vs a strong determination to complete one month lent. Howzzat ?? I see many of you nodding your heads :) Yes, it is hard and I was caught on one such battle last October when CJJ came home, on the 16th day of my lent, with a packet of golden brown, crispy, not greasy, neatly wrapped beautiful egg rolls, gifted by his Vietnamese colleague!! I cursed the moment I turned down CJJ’s offer to join me in my lent! I thought the best way to escape temptation was to yield to it but suddenly my conscience began to prick me; How can I yield to a silly food temptation over my determination to continue lent, to thank God for one of His blessings?? I tried hard, resisted and resisted …… finally I DID it. I took my share of the food and locked it in freezer for the next 14 days!!!! And, I relished those little beauties the day I broke my lent successfully after a month :)

These are delicious finger foods loaded with ground meat, vegetables and basic seasonings. Though a bit time consuming, one can always prepare them in advance and cook them just before your party begins. Our friend was kind enough to share the recipe with me and I tried it today and it came out quite well. Here’s the recipe :-

Ingredients for Egg Rolls:-
  • 2 cups cooked and ground chicken
  • 2 cups cooked and ground shrimp (optional)
  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 oz bean threads
  • 2 eggs
  • One packet Egg roll skins or Spring roll pastry
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup oil for deep frying
  1. Pressure cook boneless chicken with some salt, ½ tsp pepper powder and 2 green chilies; once chicken is cooked and cooled, ground the meat in a mixer or food processor.
  2. Steam and cook the cabbage and carrot separately, adding a tinge of salt, until they re soft; drain them well and dry them on a paper napkin or a piece of cloth.
  3. Break the bean threads into small pieces and cook them as per the package instructions.
  4. Mix well the ground meat and shrimp, if any, finely chopped raw onions, cooked and dried cabbage and carrots, cooked bean threads and add sugar, pepper and salt and do a taste test. (One might require more sugar and pepper according to personal tastes). To this mixture, add a lightly beaten egg and combine well.
  5. To wrap, lay the square egg roll skins/spring roll pastry sheets in a diamond shape; place approximately 2 tsp of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Take the bottom point of your wrap and fold it over top of the filling. Fold the sides in towards the middle and tightly roll the filling towards the top point of the wrapper. Brush some beaten egg onto the top point as "glue" and seal it completely.
  6. Heat oil in a medium flame and slide egg rolls one at a time; deep fry in oil until they are golden brown and crispy, do not overcook the egg rolls; place the fried ones on a paper napkin to absorb the oil and serve them hot with Sweet & Sour dipping sauce. You get around 15-20 rolls.
For a step-by-step pictorial representation of folding the wrappers, click here.

Ingredients for Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce:-
Recipe Source: Rhonda Parkinson,
  • 1/3 cup white or rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch/all-purpose flour/maida mixed with 4 teaspoons water
Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce together and bring to a boil in a small pot. Mix together the cornstarch/all-purpose flour/maida and water, add to the other ingredients and stir to thicken. When the sauce is thick, strain it to the dipping bowl to get rid of the clots and lumps.

The egg rolls should be tightly folded to avoid the risk of a leaky filling while frying them. Also the cooked cabbage and carrot should not have any water content to prevent soggy egg rolls. Never stack the egg rolls on top of each other, before or after deep-frying. For freezing egg rolls before frying, wrap them in aluminum foil and seal in a plastic bag in the freezer - this will keep them moist. You may freeze the deep fried egg rolls too.

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Groom Berries with Bride Berries & A Dedication !!

Valentine’s Day is at the doorstep and my memory is flooded with all those pleasant recollections as well as some embarrassing moments associated with it; well, lets not get into the details of the latter ;-) The one that hovering on top is the V-Day I celebrated with some of my very close friends in college. It was the first semester of our masters program and the V-Day fever was high as usual. Some of us, I should say, a bunch of singles, were left alone with no exciting plans and hence, decided to have a girls’ day out. If my memory is not clouded, I think we decided to pair it with two of our friends’ b’day celebrations as well. We all got-together and had a bash; we went to the pizzeria in town for lunch, had softies for dessert, took a long walk in the breezy marine drive, peeped into Archies Gallery to have a look at those mushy-mushy cards and soft teddies which did evoke some sort of hope that “hmm…one day….someone….” but at the same time, we were all green–eyed monsters too :) The snapshots from that day bring back lots of smiles whenever I flip through the pages of my college album!! Happy to note that we were a lucky bunch as all of us are now happily married and settled with our Valentines :)

This was my first attempt at dressing up the strawberries in tuxedos and gowns and regardless of the imperfection it has, I would like to dedicate this post to all my friends, fellow bloggers for all their words of appreciation and encouragement and DT, LJ, MC, NG, TM and US in particular for those wonderful days we shared !! Here comes a Groom Berry and Bride Berry from miles away to knock on your doors and wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day !! :)

For dressing up Groom Berries & Bride Berries You Need: -
  • 1 ½ cups (Approx.) dark chocolate pieces/morsels
  • 2 cups (Approx.)white chocolate pieces/morsels
  • 1 dozen strawberries
  • Wax Paper
  • Toothpicks or skewers.

Melting Chocolate and Dipping strawberries
Wash and pat dry the strawberries with its green cap intact. Melt white chocolate, in small quantities, in microwave (or by the double boiler method) for 30 seconds. Take the bowl out and stir and again melt them for 15 to 30 seconds intervals, until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir well to make it creamy. Insert a toothpick or skewer on the center of the strawberry and dip them each in chocolate upto its stems .At this stage, giving the berries a little shake will help you get an even surface and leave them on the wax paper for 20-30min in room temperature until chocolate is dry and hardened. The toothpick/skewer will help you hold the strawberries correctly without breaking the stems or squeezing the fruit while trying to lift them from the melted chocolate.

Tuxedo Strawberries or Groom Berries
Once the white-chocolate-dipped-strawberries are completely hardened, start melting the dark chocolate morsels in the same way mentioned earlier. And dip white-chocolate-dipped-strawberries into the dark creamy chocolate from both the sides, in such a way that it forms a V shape jacket in the center. Place them again on the wax paper leaving it to cool. Meanwhile using a toothpick or skewer, draw small buttons and a bow-tie.

Bride Berries
To make your cute Bride Berries, dip strawberries only in the white chocolate from both the sides to form a U or V shaped gown necks and decorate with a toothpick/skewer to make a simple chain or a pearl chain with dots. When it is completely hardened, remove the toothpicks/skewers and serve them cold.

Tips for Berry Stylists!
Please make sure that there is not even a drop of water in the bowl while melting chocolate as water content can cause chocolate “seize” and make it a grainy mess. Also if the chocolate gets hardened while melting, adding a bit of shortening or vegetable oil (NO WATER, pls!) will help it to soften. The chocolate dipped strawberries are best if eaten within 24 hours - refrigerate for longer storage, but serve at room temperature for greatest flavor. For a step by step pictorial representation of dressing up strawberries, Click here

So what do you think, aren’t they all dressed up to go for the Berry Bash at Maheswari’s AFAM & Pooja’s Valentine’s Day party ? :)



No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Shortbread Hearts

It’s that time of the year again when we all search for those pretty cards, candied hearts, chocolate dipped strawberries, cute teddy bears and radiant red roses to celebrate love and friendship with our dear ones. Yes, Valentine’s Day is just two weeks away and I see lots of pink, red and white wherever I turn. This year, why don’t we Say It with Shortbread Hearts? Shortbreads, a Scottish favorite are “the ultimate expression of the four building blocks of baking: butter, sugar, flour and salt.” But modern cooks have come up with lots of variations by adding nuts, chocolates or any other dried fruits as well as cutting them differently. If it is yet to strike you, this is an EGGLESS recipe!! I found this recipe on Martha Stewart’s LIVING beautifully cut using heart shaped cookie cutters. So dear friends, let’s hit the baking corner and serve our Valentine’s with some extra love :)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour/maida
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries or cherries

  1. Preheat oven to 325° with the rack in center. With a hand mixer, combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt,(all at the same time) in a bowl, until it’s just incorporated; not too creamy. Stir in dried cranberries/cherries or fruit of your choice.
  2. Grease an 8 or 9 inch-square baking pan with butter and flour and pat dough firmly into the pan and bake until just beginning to turn golden. Though the original recipe calls for only 20 min, it took 50 min for me. Cool on a wire rack and unmold the Shortbread and transfer to a work surface. Do not cut if it's still warm and wait till it’s completely cool. Use a heart cookie cutter to cut out cookies and keep them at room temperature in an airtight container.

Tricks I learnt!
This was the first time I tried a Shortbread recipe and hence I did some reading before hitting the baking corner. Here are some tips: After transferring the dough into the baking pan, cover it with a plastic wrap, so it doesn’t stick to hands while pressing into a uniform thickness and before sliding the dough into the oven, prick all over with a wooden skewer. Experts do not suggest the use of forks, as its tines will pull at the dough. The holes keep the surface level and promote even baking. It’s also suggested not to substitute confectioner’s sugar with granulated sugar, to avoid grainy cookies. Please note that the original recipe calls for only 20 min baking time but it took 50 min for me. So it's better to keep in mind the variations of the oven settings. Bake until golden colour and firm in center.

You can either use cookie cutters or simply cut them into rounds or squares when it’s completely cool. I noticed that the flavour improves after a few days.

I think it's time for me to go for Monthly Mingle at Meeta's. :)

* This recipe is taken from Martha Stewart’s Living and for more information and recipes on Shortbreads, refer Martha Stewart LIVING, February 2007,Pg: 82.

No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.