California Dreaming

Reason #445938 I miss California – the abundance of delicious summer ripened fruit! Sweet and juicy strawberries from Watsonville. Plump and seductive bunches of cherries from Brentwood. Giant and refreshing watermelons, splattering juice with each bite. Plums and apricots (resulting in pluots), and nectarines – and of course the buttery and smooth avocado. The California Hass avocado has a special place in my heart – growing up, my mom looved making avocado shakes – a touch of milk and sugar and a whirl in the blender with some ice was all it took for a deliciously velvety and creamy shake. I love my sushi stuffed with slivers of avocado, and I love my salads tossed with cubes of green avocado. And most recently, I love my avocado egg rolls.

CloseUp

I first encountered them a few years back at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse (a bunch of chains have them too, like Cheesecake Factory), and thought they were delicious. Then my brilliant sister came up with her own version of them, and we’ve been addicted ever since. In Nhi’s version, a crispy flaky eggroll shell is contrasted with a buttery filling, and intermittently broken up by sweet bites of onion, bright and tart bits of sundried tomato and/or salty flecks of crispy bacon. Together, they make a symphony of tastes and textures on the palette that is further excited by the tangy sweet tamarind dipping sauce. Nhi tends to make large batches and freezes the un-fried eggrolls in portions of 10 rolls or so. That way, we can fry them up whenever we want. These babies are such a simple appetizer (perfect for parties), and the best way to celebrate and showcase one of California’s most prized fruit.


Avocado Eggrolls
From just a tad sweet

Ingredients
For the sauce:
1/2 c agave [or light corn syrup]
1/2 c Tamarind pulp [or Tamarind powder + water]
1 pinch of saffron powder
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
3-4 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 c finely chopped cilantro

For eggrolls:
4-5 small avocados, cubed [not too ripe]
1 cup diced red onion [or to taste]
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped [or to taste]
5 cilantro sprigs, chopped [to taste]
3 rashers of bacon, fried and chopped [optional]
1-2 tsp sea salt
eggroll wrapper sheets, thawed [see frozen section of supermarket]
Oil for deep-frying

Directions
For the sauce, combine all ingredients into a bowl except the cilantro. Microwave for 30 seconds to warm through and mix to thoroughly combine ingredients. Add chopped cilantro then refrigerate to thicken sauce.
For the eggrolls, combine all ingredients in a bowl except the eggroll sheets. Individually separate the thawed sheets from the package and working quickly, fill with about 1 tablespoon and wrap the eggrolls as shown below. Repeat with remaining filling. Side note, don’t you just loove Nhi’s crackle nail polish? I’m in love with them, but I’m not too sure that they’re work appropriate… anyway, back to eggrolls.

WrapUp

Meanwhile, preheat a steep pot + ~3″ of oil (or deep fryer) to 350*F. Once hot, fry in batches until golden brown. Frying isn’t difficult, but a few things to keep in mind. Do not over crowd the pot as it lowers the temp too much and you won’t end up with a crunchy eggroll – just a soggy, greasy mess. Also, monitor the temperature so that if the temp is too low, let it warm up to 350*F for a bit before frying a new batch. Frozen eggrolls can be fried right out of the freezer – just drop them individually into the pot (to prevent sticking to each other) and fry as usual. While frying, rotate the rolls as needed to ensure even browning. Each batch should take about 10-15 minutes – there is no raw meat inside, so it doesn’t take long to cook. Once golden brown, temove from oil, and allow to drain on paper towels before eating. Serve alongside tamarind sauce.

Eggrolls

This is perfect for a Superbowl party, or even an after school/work snack . David and my family go gaga over these, no matter how often we eat them (which is often actually). Since moving to Manhattan, however, I’ve been deprived, as avocados in Manhattan are overpriced and not so yummy. Sigh. Oh how I miss you California!

Sauce

California Dreaming,
AnhD

 

A special thanks to Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker Program and the California Avocado Commission for providing Confessions from the Cookie Jar with these beautiful avocados.

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