So last Friday, I was hanging out with my good friend Megan. Her husband works shifts at a local factory, so when he’s on nights, it’s girls’ night for us. Since they often order in Chinese at work, we wanted to compete and order in Chinese for ourselves. We also recently had a conversation lamenting how our Chinese food doesn’t come in those cool traditional takeout containers (is this universal in Canada, or just here in Simcoe….anyone?). Another factor was that Friday came at the end of a week of lots of eating out, so as much as I love Chinese food, I wasn’t feeling up for the added calories and sodium that come with it. My solution? Purchase some adorable takeout containers (see photo, they’re from Bulk Barn) and make my own delicious swaps!
I remembered seeing a Hungry Girl recipe for egg rolls and thought that would be a fun swap to try at home. You can purchase the egg roll wraps at the grocery store…they are usually in the refrigerated section in with the produce (there are a lot in that package, so maybe I’ll have to make some more egg rolls or get creative with them ). I tweaked the recipe a bit…Megan and I aren’t shrimp lovers, so I eliminated the shrimp and instead browned 4 oz lean ground chicken in a nonstick frying pan, let it cool, then proceeded with the recipe as directed, swapping the chicken for the shrimp. I skipped out on the bean sprouts, because I’ve bought them before and they go bad FAST! It’s nasty….they get all slimy and smell awful. Since the recipe only called for 1/4 cup, and you can only buy them pre-bagged in quantities much larger than I need at my grocery store, I didn’t think it was worth it (I would have bought them if I could have gotten them in bulk/picked the quantity myself). I just bumped up the quantities of the other veggies.
Final verdict on the egg rolls? They were really yummy….loved the filling….but not quite as crunchy as restaurant ones, probably because they are baked and not fried (next time I might try flipping them over during baking).
To go with the egg rolls, I made a delicious stir fry. Sort of a take-off on Hungry Girl’s chicken lo mein. The veggies I used were celery, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper and leftover water chestnuts and coleslaw mix from the egg rolls. Side note: I LOVE water chestnuts…I never buy them unless I’m using them in a recipe but they are super-crunchy…and the snow peas as well. I put them both in a salad the next day and loved it…I need to buy both of them more. I thinly sliced up 2 chicken breasts (tip: to thinly slice meat for stir fry, do it while it’s partially frozen…I’ve seen this on tv. I was using frozen meat anyway, so I just didn’t thaw it all the way). And of course there were a couple of cloves of chopped garlic in there too!
I started off by sauteing the chicken and garlic in a tsp of olive oil in a large nonstick wok until almost cooked, then adding all the veggies. I seasoned with salt, pepper and soya sauce. I let cook until the veggies were tender-crisp, then added 2 packages of tofu Shirataki noodles, spaghetti shape (rinsed, drained and patted dry first) and 1 tsp of Sesame Oil (love the flavour of sesame oil for Asian cooking, but it gets lost if you add at the beginning of cook time) and about a tsp of cornstarch dissolved in a little bit of water, just to thicken things up. Doesn’t that look tasty?!?
This was a fun and delicious swap for take-out. Megan and I both enjoyed it all, and for a fraction of the calories that we would have consumed had we ordered in (and no MSG). Ok…I’ll admit…we did order chicken balls to go on the side….how was I going to swap those? And the sweet and sour sauce that comes with them was perfect for dipping the egg rolls (as much as I love sweet and sour sauce, that stuff sort of freaks me out…I mean, that colour isn’t natural! It seems almost radioactive…anyone with me?). And our containers were much cuter than the takeout ones, to be sure. I will definitely do this again (and will have to, with all those egg roll wrappers).
Have you ever tried to make Chinese/Asian at home? If so, what dishes?