12 February 2010

Homesick for Chinese Food

With the actual date occurring this weekend, we celebrated Chinese New Year about two weeks ago and were a tad bit early. My daughter's art class was making elaborate dragons in honor of the holiday, while decorations covered every major shopping destination in the city. And, maybe more importantly, my kid's were homesick for "Chinese food delivery like we used to get when we lived in Seattle" and my husband was out of town on a business trip. I desperately wanted to curb the homesickness and needed a long activity to fill the evening.

I suggested a Chinese New Year celebration dinner, complete with costumes, decorations, music and Chinese food. Excitement filled our house and I took a deep breath knowing that if I pulled this off, I'd have two happy kids and I'd be completely exhausted by the end of the evening. So, I pulled out a stack of red construction paper, gold glitter pens, scissors and random animal stickers (I figured that we didn't have to just celebrate the year of the tiger!). The kids whipped up some decor, while I browsed iTunes for something appropriate and prepped up some veggies and egg rolls. We set the table with chopsticks and a tiny little tea set.

Then, I sent the kids to change into costumes from their extensive costume closet. Thrilled, they took a solid 20 minutes quietly sorting through options regularly yelling, "don't peek mama!" The electric thrill of two happy kids and a fun evening ran down my spine. I poured tea and my kids walked into the room, holding hands, with little smirks of pride playing at their lips. Decked out in layers of colorful Mardi Gras-esque beaded necklaces, my son was shirtless wearing a pair of traditional Thai pants. My daughter wore her treasured Loy Krathong outfit consisting of a pale turquoise silky shirt and matching ornate baggy Thai pants. They posed for pictures and grinned from ear to ear as they, in celebration of the Chinese New Year, ate Chinese take out "just like they used to get in Seattle."

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 79:
Egg Rolls
Unfortunately, these really do need to be fried heavily to taste magnificent. Use enough oil to cover half the roll at a time. Cook them until they are a deep golden to develop a strong crunch. Serve with some sweet and sour sauce and enjoy hot!

1 package of large egg roll wrappers*
thin rice noodles (vermicelli noodles), 1/4 package
1 carrot, cut into matchstick size pieces
1 green onion, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup of bean sprouts
1 cup of packed spinach
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
soy sauce, about 1 tablespoon
cornstarch, for dusting work surface
Veggie oil, for frying

Cook the rice noodles in boiling water, following package instructions. Do not overcook. Rinse in cold water and place into a bowl. Add the ginger, red pepper flakes and a few shakes of soy sauce. Toss to coat, drain off any extra liquid, if necessary, and set aside. Working with one egg roll wrapper at a time, lay the wrapper on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch. Place a small amount of noodles, lay several leaves of spinach, a few carrots and a few sprouts. Wrap by folding up the two ends, then roll, using a slightly dampened finger to adhere final seam. Repeat with each wrapper and set on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy bottom pan and add completed rolls, working in batches. cook until golden brown on one side, flip once and cook other side to match. Remove from oil, place on parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat until all the rolls are cooked. Serve hot (can be reheated in the oven once), with sweet and sour sauce.

*If your store doesn't carry them fresh, check the frozen foods section.


  1. Bangkok looks like a fun city to be a parent in!

  2. LMAO! You're in Asia and your daughter is homesick for Chinese Food! LMAO!

  3. I love you. Your writing is fun, humorous and easy to read. I look forward to each new post. Thank you!

  4. Oh I love the on the fly decisions they can be so great especially if you can just roll with it which, obviously you can! Nice job mama :) Glad you liked the going green post it was fun to write. You know what? I have glass jars too that I am saving for food. For some reason I love the look of food in them.


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