“Chinese New Year” 5:2 Diet Fast Day Recipe:
Chinese Chicken Egg Roll Wraps
I remember cordite filled humid air, dragons and lions dancing through streets, little red packets filled with money, flowers and firecrackers, hot fried food eaten on the side of the road, red, the rattle of Mah Jong pieces, the “Beggar’s Market” at night, snakes in baskets, mosquito coils and the pungent smell of coriander with garlic, red, marbled eggs in bottles, air-dried red sausages (which we used to call willies as children!) hanging outside butcher’ shops, sweetmeats and wontons, paper lanterns swaying in the wind, flickering candles, paper-cut decorations, red, oranges, travelling on the Star Ferry, dumplings, Gods, Buddha and sticky cakes……I remember Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, where I lived until I was twelve years old.
It was a typical post-war colonial lifestyle – dinner parties, curry lunches around the “Club” pool, days at the beach, meals out most evenings, fish and chips at The China Fleet Club, The Noonday Gun, walks in the New Territories, club sandwiches at The Repulse Bay Hotel, sipping Green Spot on the roof garden at the YMCA in Kowloon, window shopping at The Ocean Terminal…….a life that is now lost, and a childhood that was rich with Oriental culture and excitement. I never understood that I was “British” until my early teens and hankered after my home of Hong Kong in the dampness of Hampshire, Lincolnshire and Berkshire, where we lived “between” postings abroad. I remember my parents listening to BBC World Service on an old Philips radio, wondering and worrying how their parents were faring during the snow of 1963; we had our own worries however, Typhoon Wanda was on her way out and the havoc she wreaked remains with me as a vivid and horrifying memory. (Typhoon Wanda: international designation: 6216, was the most intense tropical cyclone on record in Hong Kong)
For those readers who remember the heady days of the late 50’s and 60’s, there is a fabulous website I have discovered called Gwulo: Old Hong Kong. But back to the present, and Chinese New Year for 2013, which is on Sunday the 10th February is the year of the snake; in the Chinese zodiac, the Snake is listed after the Dragon, but its place and its significance as a symbol of worship is far less than that of the Dragon. It carries the meanings of malevolence, cattiness and mystery, as well as acumen, divination and the ability to understand herbs. In some places, people believe that a snake found in their court can bring delight. During Spring Festival, people like to paste onto their doors and windows the paper-cut ‘Fu’ character (happiness), combined with a snake twisting around a rabbit onto their doors and windows as a popular pattern indicating wealth. I am a dog, no really, so the year of the snake is of little importance to me! However, Chinese food is of GREAT importance as I love it, and it makes fabulous diet food, as I posted last week here: Getting Ready for Chinese New Year: Steamed Asian Fish Parcels Recipe for 5:2 Diet Fast Day.
The reason that Chinese food makes such great diet food is mainly due to lots of vegetables, very little meat, clever spicing and use of herbs and rapid cooking that keeps all the flavours and textures fresh and crunchy. I LOVE Spring Rolls/Egg Rolls, but, they are deep-fried and very fattening, so I set out to replicate all the flavours of a good egg roll with ingredients I had to hand, more of an egg roll “thought” than an actual authentic recipe! If the Trilogy in Cajun cooking is celery, onions and peppers, than the Chinese Trilogy has to be garlic, ginger and spring onions for me; if you have those three ingredients in any Asian inspired dish, then you have almost cracked the flavour code. So, for my second fast day this week, today, I gathered together my ingredients, as found in the pantry and the fridge, and there were the makings of another LOVELY Chinese meal looking at me. (I say another, I enjoyed some steamed Asian fish parcels the other day)
I was pretty pleased with my Asian fish parcels, but, I am even more delighted with this recipe – the “wraps” are made with and egg, NO flour, and the whole meal including all of the stir fried vegetables and chicken you see in the photos is ONLY 225 calories! (Add on 45 calories for a tablespoon of Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce) The Chinese trilogy was there, spring onions, fresh ginger and garlic, as well as some cooked chicken, a red chilli, some Chinese leaves, a large free-range egg and of course a carrot and some Chinese five spice. I felt very greedy as I scoffed the lot, but, it was filling and packed full of Asian flavours. Basically, the pancakes or wraps are just thin omelettes, but, I did allow a LARGE egg of them, so you should get two large thin pancakes (omelettes) out of a large egg. Malcolm, my husband, was enjoying his stew and dumplings until he saw and smelt my lunch, and then wished he had participated in a fast day recipe!
So, with memories of Chinese New Year and Hong Kong, I present to you my : Chinese Chicken Egg Roll Wraps Recipe, an easy and filling meal, that is redolent of happy childhood memories and carefree days. These would be perfect for a family meal to celebrate Chinese New Year, whether you are on a diet or not……I hope you enjoy the recipe if you make it, and do pop back tomorrow for a new Fish on Friday recipe as well as a new Giveaway! See you later, Karen
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