Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
At least, that’s how I hope the folks at Red Farm take it.
Though I haven’t yet eaten at the highly acclaimed Chinese restaurant, I have heard much about their acclaimed pastrami egg rolls. That’s right, egg rolls filled with luscious Katz’s pastrami, fresh vegetables, and sauerkraut.
This is the perfect Hanukkah food, right? Fried AND pastrami!
Well, it is almost perfect. It needs some cheese and a little Russian dressing to really make it the ultimate Chewish Hanukkah food. Be aware that this recipe take forever to make – it’s a lot of prepping, rolling, and frying. It takes a few hours from start to finish, but it isn’t complicated, just time-consuming. That’s why you see my sister’s fingers in all the pictures – this is a recipe that should really be made in tandem.
Reuben Egg Rolls (inspired by An Immovable Feast)
1/2 lb. wiss cheese, shredded
1/2 lb. sauerkraut, squeezed in a towel to drain it of all moisture
1/2 lb. pastrami, thin cut and finely shredded
2 -3 cups oil in which to fry
bowl of water for sealing egg rolls.
Russian dressing to serve alongside
2. Now, it’s time to roll. Take your time and while keeping the rolling tight, try not to make any tears or holes. If you do, it’s ok – just keep frying them. Put a teaspoon sized combo of meat, cheese, and kraut, in the corner of your wrapper facing you. Then…
ta da! Simply moisten along the “envelope flap” with water until the edges are sealed and you are good to go! Now, this is gonna take you a good, long time. Just grab your child, your younger sister (some young person who can’t run away) to do these with you, then you can even store them overnight in plastic containers. That’s what we did, with wet paper towels in between each layer, and they turned out perfectly crisp.
5. Now, in a large and heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil to at least 350F (you know it is good to go when you drop a piece of bread in and it instantly fries). Then fry the egg rolls for about 5 minutes, until they are deeply golden brown on both sides. Don’t put more than 5 egg rolls or so in the pot at a time, to ensure that they don’t lower the temperature of the oil.
Pastrami tends to soothe all wounds.
THIS is how you make a pastrami egg roll. You fill it with fatty, peppery pastrami and load it with tangy sauerkraut. you throw in some tangy swiss cheese that melts and oozes with each bite through warm, crispy wrapper. You dip it in savory Russian dressing and you feel oddly that you are both at dim sum and the deli.
I might have started out imitating Red Farm, but the truth is…the chefs there might want to take a page from my book.
I won’t be mad. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.