I don’t know about you, but one of the things I like about Chinese food in America is the crispy thingies they tend to serve, usually with hot and sour soup. Really, they’re just deep fried egg roll wrapper strips.
But, damn, they’re tasty.
Chinese food in Korea doesn’t come with these, unless, perhaps, you go to a restaurant with an American-Chinese theme. These do exist in Korea and are pretty good.
According to my Korean girlfriend, Koreans don’t like fried spring rolls like we do in America.
Yet anyone who has experienced Korea knows the wonderful dumpling known as mandu, the potsticker with the unfortunate porn-sounding name (think about it — and try not to think about it).
Usually mandu is served steamed or pan fried. Sometimes I can get it deep fried, usually with Chinese food.
Really, mandu should take up its own separate entry, particularly the glorious kimchi mandu.
Even though spring roll wrappers are hard to find, mandu wrappers are everywhere.
This little snack is great because it’s cheap and easy to make. It takes no time at all. First, I open a package of mandu wrappers and cut them in halves or in strips.
I then heat some oil in a wok to medium or medium high. When deep frying, only fill the wok half full or a little less than half full. It also is good to have a fry screen to place over the wok to avoid oil splattering all over the place. The fry screens are cheap and can be found most anywhere.
Place each piece of mandu wrapper individually in the oil and fry until they get poofy. It takes almost no time at all. When they start turning color, take them out of the wok and have them drain in something like a collander. They brown even more as they sit.
Now, Emeril will tell you to immediately salt the strips. I say wait a bit until all the batches are done. The salt accumulates and can ruin everything.
I just store the chips in a large zip top bag after they’re cooled and snack on them with a beer while reading other food blog sites. Or I do the ultimate blasphemy and crumble them over my kimchi jjigae.