Sunday, July 6, 2008

Meat Egg Roll (Chinese Hakka 'Chun Ken')

This meat egg roll is found in my hometown in the State of Sabah, Malaysia and I have never seen it anywhere else. Everytime I hear an egg roll, it will be the deep fried American version served at Chinese restaurants, where a wheat made dough is used as the wrapper to contain and roll up a combination of meat and vegetables and then dipped into an egg mixture and deep fried till brown and crispy. I prefer my hometown version as it is healthier with almost no oil added at all and the filling consists of one main ingredient of minced pork meat rather than too much of everything at the same time which can render the food simply edible but not enjoyable.

I cannot say for sure if this is a truly Chinese Hakka dish but more of a Sabah specialty. Since the Hakka uses the same meat filling for their stuffed tofu dishes and the majority of the chinese ethnic in Sabah is Hakka, I shall assume it is Hakka until someone confirms with me. I remember that I was assigned to bring these rolls to my aunt and uncle in Singapore whenever I visited them and therefore it must be very special and unique.

Although the ingredients and the look of this dish is simple, I have been pondering for months on how to make it. Minced meat is readily available at the grocery here but I was hoping that I should at least attempt the meat filling from scratch to make everything authentic . And for the egg part, I was skeptical throughout as I have trouble in flipping an egg perfectly and this egg wrapper looked so delicate and appear to be fluffy and solid at the same time. But as always, the desire to eat something that reminds me of my hometown gives me all the guts to proceed and so I did.

The preparation of the meat filling was not rocket science but definitely a test of the wrist and and arm's muscles as I used both the cleaver and another knive in both hands to continuously chop and mince the pork loin cut for almost 10 minutes. Then I let the mixer do all the messy work in beating the minced meat into a sticky texture on medium speed for 10 minutes. For the egg part, I started the pan on very low heat and slowly poured and swirled it to coat and cover every part. For the first attempt, the egg wrapper turned out to be smoother on the outside surface while the inside part is fluffy and a bit undercooked. As for the second attempt, I turned the heat up a little and sure enough, the egg cooked faster but appeared to be more rippled and thinner in layer. The wrapping and rolling part was easier after the egg is cooled down a bit and as long as you don't overstuff it with too much of the meat filling.

After the steaming process, the color of the egg turned pale but after cooling down to room temperature, the bright yellow returned. Normally, I get this egg roll, all cut diagonally into small pieces and served in clear broth with noodles. At times, my mom would buy the whole long roll, which normally is more than 1 foot in length, far superior than my humble homemade weeny 5 inches ones! The taste is very subtle with the meat filling all firm and chewy at the same time, complemented with a little coarse texture of the egg part. I like to eat mine dipped into a bit of soy sauce with chopped scallion.


400gm pork loin cut, minced and beaten with mixer or kneaded by hand till sticky
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 slice of ginger, finely minced
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp cornstarch, added to 3 tsp water

1)Add all other ingredients Except the egg and cornstarch mixture into the meat and mix.
2)Turn on medium heat and drizzle 1 to 2 tsp cooking oil in frying pan. Slowly add in the egg and swirl to coat all side of pan. Do in 2 to 3 batches, aiming for 1/2 inch layer thick.
3)When the bottom part begins to set and firm enough to be lifted, flip over and release from pan when both parts are firm but not totally cooked through. Let cool a little. Continue with the next batch.
4)Scoop the meat mixture and pile up from the edge side of the egg wrapper (see picture). Start to roll until meat is all contained inside the wrapper itself and seal the enclosing edge with cornstarch. Grease a steaming plate with a little cooking oil before placing the uncooked egg rolls inside. Continue with the rest.
5)Boil the water in the steamer and put in the plate with the egg rolls and steam for about 20 minutes on medium low heat.
6)Remove and let cool totally before cutting. Serve with soy sauce or any sauce that you like.

Serves: 3 persons (produces three of 5 inches rolls each)

1 comment:

Agnes said...

Jie!!! You made it~~ What a success!!! :D I'm impressed