Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls

Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls

Pretty much throughout the entirety of our time in Cleveland, there were spring rolls either being made, freshly baked out of the oven, or in the fridge ready to be reheated in my mom's magical air fryer. Can’t life always be like this? This scenario is not too much different than the fist 10 years of my life, because growing up in your family's Chinese restaurant meant that you could hop on into the kitchen and ask your grandpa to make you an egg roll as an afternoon snack at any moment. I would then proceed to cut the egg roll in half lengthwise, scoop out almost all the filling because cabbage was a scary thing to me in the 90s, and then aggressively cover the crispy and slightly veggie flavored egg roll skin with sweet and sour sauce. Ah, I miss my youth.

You'll notice that I'm switching between egg rolls and spring rolls. That's intentional because during my restaurant life we ate blistery egg rolls, but then my mom would always make crispy and crunchy spring rolls at home. I'm not sure why! Spring rolls have definitely become a staple at our house for whenever we have the whole family over for dinner, a birthday, or a barbecue. In recent years, my mom has adjusted her own recipe and developed a pretty fantastic baked spring roll. The baked version is awesome and still has a great crunch (that’s because my mom goes through the extra effort of squeezing all the liquid out of the cabbage by hand like a superhero)! Since they are baked you end up being able to eat a million of them without feeling like butt afterwards. They are simply filled with chicken and cabbage. I've gotten over my irrational fear of cabbage in the last 18 years, thankfully. I recently helped my mom make spring rolls and we added bean thread noodles. It adds a great texture to the filling and also helps absorb any excess moisture to ensure an earth shatteringly crisp crunch when you bite in without spending your whole afternoon squeezing cabbage. If you can’t find bean thread noodles, which are likely found at your local Asian market, you can omit them and they will taste just as good! You just might have a few less spring rolls to fry up.

The recipe I'm sharing with you guys requires frying the suckers, because I'm ignoring all the "healthy start to the new year" propaganda and I also haven't had a fried spring roll in ages! Oh, it was soooooooo worth it. Baked spring rolls are amazing, but freshly fried ones are incredible and such a treat!

Chinese New Year is also about 3ish weeks away and I feel like it is my duty to fry up all these delicious treats for you guys : ) 


Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls

makes 25 spring rolls

materials:

1 small head of green cabbage - shredded

1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders (breast works too)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp oyster sauce + 1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 heaping tbsp cornstarch

salt

white pepper

1 bundle of bean thread noodles

3 green onion stalks - chopped

1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 water + 1/4 flour

25 spring roll wrappers

oil for frying

steps:

  1. Slice chicken into thin bite sized pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, cornstarch, pinch of salt, and a heavy dash of white pepper. Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

  2. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shredded green cabbage and cook for 4-5 minutes until cabbage has slightly softened and the edges are slightly golden. Remove cabbage from the skillet and allow to cool in a large bowl.

  3. With the skillet still on, add about 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add chicken, stir to evenly disperse chicken. cook in water for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Water should have mostly evaporated by now. Remove chicken, avoiding scooping up any excess water, and add to the bowl of cabbage.

  4. Place bean thread noodles in a heat proof bowl. Pour just boiled water over the noodles until they are fully submerged. Let noodles sit for 2-3 minutes until noodles are cooked. Drain the noodles well. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the noodles into slightly smaller pieces. Add noodles to the bowl of cabbage and chicken.

  5. Season the spring roll filling with another pinch of salt, dash of white pepper, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Add chopped scallions and toss everything until evenly combined. Allow the filling to completely cool.

  6. Mix equal parts water and flour to form a paste for assembling the spring rolls.

  7. Place spring roll wrapper on your work surface, positioned like a diamond (see images above). Place about 1/4 cup of filling in the bottom third of the wrapper (closer to you). Fold the bottom tip of the wrapper over the filling and tuck over the sides. Smear a bit of the flour paste around the edges of the wrapper and continue rolling the spring roll tightly. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

  8. Heat enough oil for frying in a heavy bottom pot or deep skillet. Heat to 360 degrees. Add a few spring rolls into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove spring rolls from the oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. After about a minute, place on a wire rack to allow to cool. Repeat with remaining spring rolls.

  9. Enjoy once cooled to a safe eating temperature with sweet and sour sauce!

Fried Chicken Bao Sliders

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Hello hello hello! I'm back from a long weekend in the desert! It was full of best friends, a fur cladded pool, lots of sun, and a prickly cactus that got stuck in my shoe. I just downloaded my photos and will work on a little Joshua Tree post to share with you guys soon! I'm back home in chilly San Francisco burrito-ed up in my blanket trying to fend off icky germs from flying. I have 5 more flights to take over the next 2 weeks, so I'll be chugging emergen-c and ginger shots for the near future.

Let me see... what is there to update you on??

1. Reuben and I watched The Office in it's entirety in just 5 weeks. Is that insane or impressive? Both? The Office was something I just never got into before, but now it is my favorite show of all time. It's the most perfect show. It's hilarious, it's offensive, it's real, and it's so incredibly sweet. Gosh. I just tear up thinking about how much Jim and Pam love each other. After we watched the last episode it was weird... like, what is there even to watch now?

2. Reuben got me hooked on the latest season of American Idol. So we quickly found something new to obsesses over. The production value of this season is so impressive! Lionel Richie is such a pleasant person! Plus there are countless touching contestant stories, so I still have something to keep me crying every other day. Not that that is hard.

3. Our apartment is going to be the home to a banjo soon. Our neighbors are going to love us.

4. I'm a confident bao maker now. The first time I ever steamed bao dough it was not good. It was bad. They had a weird flavor and didn't really fluff up. Who knows what happened. But after some practice, I got it down!

These fried chicken sliders were inspired by a recent trip to Chick-Fil-A (lol) and a fancy dinner at Liholiho Yacht Club. Just like The Office, I never really got into the hype of Chick-Fil-A. But there is one right by one of my projects, so after some really stressful days it was the perfect eat my feelings pit stop. The bao sliders at Liholiho Yacht Club are filled with grilled beef tongue, peanuts, pickled cucumbers, and some spicy sauce. Their buns are also crusted with poppy seeds, which adds a nice texture but also an awful mess to clean up later. You have been warned that if you go the poppy seed route, you're going to be finding poppy seeds everywhere for the next 3 days. So I guess you could say these sliders are a Chick-Fil-A and Liholiho Yacht Club lovechild!

To make these sliders, you can purchase your own buns at your local asian market or bakery. But I really do love a freshly steamed bun! The buns are super light and fluffy, but have the integrity and structure to support a crispy slice of fried chicken. I highly recommend that you add some kimchi, slice cucumbers, hoisin, and Sriracha for that crunchy, sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy thang. SO GOOD. How do I get in contact with Chick-Fil-A product development reps?!

Have a happy rest of the week! I'll be reporting back after a quick trip to Cleveland and Chicago this weekend : )


Fried Chicken Bao Sliders

makes 12 bao sliders

steamed bao buns:

1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
oil for brushing
Poppy Seeds (optional)

fried chicken:

2 large chicken breast cut into 12 large strips
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of paprika
dash of garlic powder
1/8 tsp baking powder
canola oil for frying

kimchi
sliced cucumbers
hoisin sauce
Sriracha
 

to prepare steamed bao dough:

1. Mix yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. You should see a few small bubbles. Whisk in oil and set aside.

2. Combine baking powder, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Create a well in the middle of the flour and slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or with you hands. Keep stirring until you have a ragged dough. Add a few teaspoons of water if the dough still feels a little dry. Gather your dough into a rough ball on a clean work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic.

3. Grease a large bowl with a bit of oil. Place dough ball in the bowl and over with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place (in the oven with the door left ajar) to proof for one hour. Dough should double.

4. Punch down the dough. Place on a clean work surface and shape into 4"x12" log. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Take one piece of dough and roll into a 4"x6" oval. Place oval on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover the tray with a wet kitchen towel and allow to proof again for another 30 minutes. While these proof again, cut out 12 4"x3" sheets of parchment paper

5. Bring a lot pot (that perfectly fits your bamboo steamer) of water to a boil. 

6. Lightly brush each piece of dough with oil. Fold in half. Brush the top with oil and press into a plate of poppy seeds. Place the bun on a sheet of parchment and then place into a bamboo steamer. Repeat with remaining buns.

7. Place the bamboo steamer on top of the pot of boiling water and steam for 10 minutes. Once steamed, remove from the steamer and allow to cool on a wire rack.

to prepare the fried chicken:

1. Marinade the chicken in buttermilk for 30 minutes.

2. Beat eggs in a small bowl and combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and baking powder in a shallow dish.

3. Dip slice of chicken in flour, then in the egg, and then back into the flour. Place on a dish and repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Add canola oil into a heavy bottom skillet until hot (350 degrees). Add in chicken and fry for 5 to 7 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Repeat with remaining chicken.

to assemble the bao sliders:

1. Place a piece of fried chicken in a bun, smear on hoisin and Sriracha, add a bit of kimchi and sliced cucumbers, and enjoy!

Taro Fritters (Gateau Arouille)

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Before I dive into these balls, I'm going to start off on a serious note for a minute. It seems like the Bay Area is falling apart. You've probably seen it covered over the news, but wine country is being devastated by wildfires right now. It's pretty heartbreaking to see so many homes and buildings completely destroyed. And the fires are still burning. I'm not really sure what to do. Do we donate money? Do we physically drive up there and jump in to help out? I also found out this morning that one of my mentors/favorite person from my last job had a giant tree crash into their home in the Oakland hills last night. Gosh, Mother Nature, will you let up a little?! How terrifying though. A huge tree crashing in on your bedroom while you're sleeping?! Thank heavens he and his wife are okay. So glad. I want to help. But what is the best way to help and not get in the way during situations like this? If you have any suggestions I would really love to hear them. For some reason I really want to make everyone a warm tray of lasagna, but I'm not sure if that's the best action plan. Okay, back to the story...

I was introduced to these balls about three years ago. Every year, Reuben's office participates in this sandcastle building competition at Ocean Beach, where they partner up with some little kids and create really insane sand art creations. Part of participating in the competition includes fundraising for the little kiddies. To be honest, collaborating with an opinionated child that I did not give birth to on an art project sounds incredibly stressful to me. BUT. Every year they have a bake sale and auction full of fancy prizes. I love me a bake sale! And it's usually paired with alcohol, making it a dream come true. Among the trays of homemade cupcakes, sugar cookies, and the occasional skillet cookie cake, are always Sandy's Balls. They are so amazing. Oh, right... context. Reuben works with a lovely woman named Sandy. Every year for the annual BCJ bake sale she makes these taro fritters. They are also know as taro balls, Sandy's balls, or Sandy Balls. 

Sandy is from the teeny tiny country of Mauritius. Have you heard of this place before? I literally never heard of this country before I met her. It is a little island off the coast of Madagascar! How cool! When I met her I gained my first friend from Mauritius and I gained about 5 pounds from eating all the taro fritters, which are a common street snack in Mauritius.

If you've never had taro before, it is a super tasty root vegetable! I think it is technically toxic (or something) if you eat it raw... but we are not going to do that. The flavor of taro is really hard to explain. It's slightly sweet, which makes it easy for it to toggle between sweet and savory recipes. My grandma roasts them whole to eat during the Mid-Autumn festival. Taro is my absolute favorite bubble tea flavor. When my family goes out for a large Chinese family dinners the dessert is typically this taro tapioca coconut pudding soup thing. It sounds slightly gross and it looks a little grey... but it's delicious! Trust me. Then there is the classic fried taro dumplings you get at dim sum - my grandpa's favorite! Taro is great. You're going to love taro if you haven't had it yet.

I'm adding these taro fritters to my long list of preferred ways to eat taro. They are super crispy on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside. The ginger adds a little heat and zing. Do you like tater tots? Of course you do. These pretty much like the best Asian tater tots you've ever had. I don't fry things that much (trying to be healthy here) but sometimes you deserve to bring out the big bottle of vegetable oil in the back of your cabinet and fry yourself up some balls! It's fine, just eat a ton of fruit afterwards and it will counteract the fact you ate a whole tray of taro fritters. That's how health works, right?

It turns out that the castle building competition is this weekend... I volunteered two years ago and I had to run up and down the beach carrying large buckets of ocean water for 4 hours. My body has never been so sore in my life. I'm going to try and snag a passive position on the lunch crew instead this year. Seems more like my style, don't you think?


Taro Fritters ( Gateau Arouille )

makes about 16 balls

Materials:

3 medium baby taro roots

1 tbsp grated ginger

3 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt + more for seasoning

vegetable oil 

Step:

1. Peel the taro root. I prefer to use a paring knife because the root exterior can be a little hairy and gets stuck in the peeler. With a damp paper towel, wipe away any dirt off the peeled taro root. Shred the taro with a metal grater and place in a vessel. You can thinly cup of the nubs of the remaining taro.

2. Add grated ginger, cornstarch, sugar, and salt into the bowl of shredded taro. Mix to combine. It should get pasty and thick.

3. Grab about 1 tbsp of the taro mixture and gently press it together in your palms to form a ball. You really shouldn't have to press it too hard for it keep it's ball shape. If the taro mixture is a little loose, add some more cornstarch. Line a platter with formed taro balls.

4. Fill a skillet for enough oil so that it is about 3/4" deep. I like to use a small but deep skillet so I don't have to use so much oil and just work in batches. Heat the oil over a medium heat. You want it hot enough so that it starts to sizzle immediately, but not too hot that it burns the exterior of the fritters before the interior is cooked. Gently add the taro balls into the oil and fry for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until they have an even deeply golden brown color. 

5. Remove the balls from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt immediately and allow to cool for a few minutes. Enjoy with a side of sweet and sour sauce!

*** IMPORTANT NOTE : Handling taro can cause skin irritation, only after you have peeled the hairy outer layer off. You can opt to wear rubber gloves if you want. However, the key is to not get the peeled taro root super wet. So don't wash it. My instructions say to use a damp paper towel to wipe away any extra dirt. I personally, did not get any skin irrigation, but just be careful while making your balls!