Monday, March 28, 2016

Egg Foo Yung St. Paul Sandwich


Growing up in a thriving metropolis like Kankakee, Illinois, didn't offer many opportunities to eat ethnic food; that is unless you count Italian food or pizza as ethnic. I believe it has changed and now the big K3 even has Mexican food, but  40 years ago one would have been hard pressed to find a taco, unless it was a prepared shell, in a cellophane wrapper, at the grocery store. 40 years ago Chinese food was the name of the game and I remember driving 30 minutes to eat at a Chinese restaurant, I think on Route 1 in Monee, Illinois; that is if memory serves me correctly. Kankakee finally got its own Chinese restaurant, of which my family was a big patron.

I remember us munching on such delicacies as eggrolls and wontons and won ton soup and sweet and sour chicken. I don't remember much else except that whatever it was my middle brother ordered, was only for him. No sharing on his part-yeah- I know there is always one of those! I also remember seeing giant, colorful tiki punches, some even flaming, maneuvering past our table; but we were too young for those!


Sooner or later my mother decided she wanted to learn to cook Chinese food, and after a grand expedition to Chinatown in Chicago, where she bought the store out, she arrived home with ingredients that had nowhere to go. Soon she cleaned a cabinet, found  a spot and started taking cooking lessons from the local Chinese restaurant, while amassing a large library of Chinese cookbooks, some of which I still cook from today. Thank goodness for the lessons, because up until that point I believe she only made Chow Mein and Egg Foo Yung-both of which I totally despised. Somehow seeing cans of bean sprouts being opened on the olive green kitchen counter top, was not appealing to me, nor were the chow mein noodles that came in the cellophane bag.

So how is it that a recipe for an egg foo yung sandwich caught my eye? Maybe it caught my eye because I found it in the Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian recipes cookbook, that came out not too long ago. And I do like the Lucky Peach. My son even gave me a subscription to it one year; he had found it before me! Maybe it is because I am a big fan of okonomiyaki-a Japanese-egg pancake-or maybe it is because I like sandwiches that I can call dinner-which is what this one has become several times over. Yes, Manservant really fell for this one, too and I've already lost track of the number of times I've made this beauty.


Now let it be said that this is also known as a St. Paul sandwich and just so you know, I've double checked my facts on that amazing Wikipedia site and they tell me the same thing that is written in the Lucky Peach cookbook, so it must be true. I repeat...Ever since the Chinese immigrants came here to build the railroad-the big, GIANT, Transcontinental railroad, is also when Chinese food made its inroads into America and quickly became Americanized Chinese food . Well, story has it that in St. Louis, MO (yes, I know some of you are from St. Louis, so you can verify my "facts") these little egg foo yung pancakes, (that my mother used to top with a horrid brown sauce and that also contained canned bean sprouts), were somehow, miraculously, placed between two slices of white bread,(probably the squishy kind), and then somehow got attributed to someone from St. Paul, Minnesota. If that is you please stand up and take a bow! Whereas said paragraph goes on to say that the sandwich is entirely foreign in that said Northern region. Yes, I am sure that is more than you want to know!

What I'm sure you do want to know, is that this is a great meal. Not having a doctorate but being famous in doctoring up, especially when it comes to food, I took lots of liberties with the recipe from the Lucky Peach. Mine is a bit more filling, has a great mayonnaise sauce instead of just the plain mayonnaise, and I put that elusive ingredient that everyone loves into the center of the sandwich. I bet you all guessed ham, hah!-yeah, I know you know-it just has to be bacon!. Besides that I subbed out beansprouts, because unless I venture to the Asian groceries or sometimes I can find them at Sprouts-well, beansprouts are hard to find, and I detest the canned version, and I know you know that already. Well, water chestnuts are a great substitute in my humble opinion and I have no problem opening a can of those.  Enough doctoring. Let's eat!


Egg Foo Yung St. Paul Sandwich
Serves 2
Adapted from: Lucky Peach
Time to Make: About 20 minutes-have your ingredients prepped!
Ingredients:
3 T canola oil
1 can of water chestnuts-drained and chopped or 2 c of fresh bean sprouts
1 c finely chopped scallions
4 T of chopped green pepper or jalapenos or serranos
2 t soy sauce
Salt and Pepper
1/2 c chopped ham, chicken or beef (optional) OR
4 large eggs
2 T cornstarch
Assembly:
4 slices of toasted white bread
1/4 c of mayonnaise mixed with 1 T of soy sauce and 1 t of sriracha
6 slices of cooked, crisp bacon
4 crisp slices of Iceberg lettuce
1 tomato, sliced and salted
Lots of dill pickle chips, blotted dry
Cilantro sprigs, optional
Directions:
Heat 1 T of oil in skillet over medium heat and cook beansprouts, if using, scallions and pepper, about three minutes until veggies are slightly wilted. Transfer to bowl and let cool a bit. Season with soy sauce and salt and pepper.If using ham, chicken or beef, add it to bowl now. Crack eggs into a large measuring cup and add cornstarch. Beat with a fork to combine. Pour over veggies in bowl and stir until everything is coated with egg.

Reheat skillet over medium low heat and add 2 T of oil. Pour about the equivalent of 4 pancakes into skillet and using a spatula try to contain them into 4" pancakes. Cook until the edges are brown and set, then flip and cook until pancake is puffed and cooked through out. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm.

Assemble: Spread flavored mayonnaise on toast. Top with bacon, lettuce, tomato, dill pickles, cilantro and 2 pancakes per sandwich. I think that's it!

A few More Goodies:
Okonomiyaki
Dan Dan Noodles and Chinese Sloppy Joe
Chicken Artichoke Dip Baguettes
OMG BLT

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35 comments:

  1. How creative and delicious! Next time when I make foo yung egg, I have to save some for this sandwich!

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  2. So interesting. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll def. try it.

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    1. I thought so, too! It is a must try! But it is hard to go wrong with this!

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  3. I hear ya! I grew up in the middle of Kansas. I was 20 years old by the time I first visited a Chinese Restaurant. I had Moo Goo Gai Pan and I thought I had hit the exotic jack pot. I love that your Mother persisted in learning Chinese food. And without the internet! :) Great looking sandwich Abbe! Pinning.

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    1. I forgot about moo goo gai pan. It seems everything back then was Cantonese! Thanks Lea Ann!

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  4. Looks pretty tasty..one thing that seems to have disappeared from the Chines food of my youth in my neck of the woods..is Chicken Soo Guy..it was my dinner #:)
    I breezed through The Lucky peach..should have paid more attention;)

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    1. Now that is one I actually don't know! You have to really look at that book. Some interesting things in it though!

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  5. I have actually had a sandwich with egg foo yung years ago in Houston. Sadly it wasn't served with bacon. This looks amazing! I'll have to try it soon.

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    1. Never have seen it before, but like I said I'm not sure that egg foo yung would have caught my eye. Why it did now, I can't say!

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  6. Hi Abbe, how clever to make a sandwich like this, looks like you hit the flavor jackpot. I think the first time I had Chinese I was in my twenties, things have really changed.

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  7. Totally drooling over here. I'm kind of a sandwich fanatic, and this is such a perfect way to switch up my turkey-and-ham routine!

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    1. Most definitely Karly! I also found that if you want to make a bunch they keep in the fridge pretty well. Just heat them for about 30 seconds in the micro and they are great!

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  8. Yup, I'm in St. Louis and I've always heard the St. Paul Sandwich was born here. Good recipe wherever it comes from, though. I haven't had one of these in years -- yours looks tons better than the last one I had. Good stuff -- thanks.

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    1. And you still remember? I knew you would know! Thanks, John!

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  9. I have never heard of this sandwich...but know that I will definitely enjoy it...looks delicious Abbe...packed with lots of flavors...love the Asian touch!
    Have a great week :)

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    1. It has so many things going on! I love the crunch, the saltiness and the pickles, but the tomato makes this luscious!And the mayo-I use that on a lot of other things, too!

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  10. LOL, I grew up eating egg foo yung, too, but my mom didn't offer any brown sauce---maybe that's why I enjoyed it! I'm certain I'd love this sandwich, too---the jury's out on Bill! He'd agree with you about canned bean sprouts :)

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    1. I guess we are both Midwesterners!I think Manservant would eat most anything between two slices of bread! Go for it, Liz!

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  11. Yes, we grew up eating La Choy and Chun King. Who knew that those "exotic" ingredients could be bought fresh somewhere? Your hometown reminds me of where Zia lives today. For the longest time, the only ethnic restaurant was a Chinese restaurant, a 45 minute drive away. Zia still goes there, once weekly for lunch, on her "day off". Considering my history and deep love for all things sammich, I'm sure that I would love these, with or without a brown sauce dressing. :)

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  12. I LOVE this! You're so creative Abbe, and I also love the addition of the pickles :)

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  13. Never heard of Egg Foo Young sandwich but reading from your post I can tell it sure tastes delicious!

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  14. This is one loaded sandwich! I wish I could have this right now that I am in my office!

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  15. ABBE I AM LAUGHING SO HARD RIGHT NOW! so as you know, i'm in St. Louis, and when i saw this post i was like "how does she know what the St. Paul Sandwich is?!?!?!" - because yes, we have them, but here's the thing: I've never eaten one.

    Here's why (trivia time) - So St. Louis is made up of a lot of different communities, but we commonly refer to those communities (grouped together) in general terms as West, North, and South counties (East is missing because East St. Louis is actually over in IL just across the way). Anyway, the St. Paul Sandwich was evidently commonplace all over North and Northwest counties in Chinese restaurants, because i'm guessing that's where it originated, but the popular sandwich never made it south (which is only like 20-30 miles away at most so it's not like it had to travel far), or West, really. I grew up in South County and went to school in West County, making the St. Paul Sandwich a complete unknown to me until after high school, when a friend of mine (from you guessed it) North county used to order them all the time.

    So there you have it. :)

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  16. I have never had Egg Foo Young sandwich before but looking at your inviting pictures, I want them in life so badly. Love the Asian twist to Sandwiches, Abbe. Have a lovely weekend! :)

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  17. Wow, what an amazing, unique and delicious looking sandwich! I'd just have to figure out how to open my mouth that wide!

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  18. This is a very interesting sandwich. Looks and sounds yummy. I would love to try it!!

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  19. This sandwich looks so delicious! I would love to eat one right now!;)

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  20. This looks SO good, I bet it's delicious, you've made me hungry!

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  21. Kankakee! Do you know Tom Nelson (he's about 52 now) or his mom Doris? GREG

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  22. I was told about Lucky Peach from my son-in-law so it's definitely something the younger people knew about first. Now I have a subscription too but I don't have the Asian cookbook! This looks like a sandwich I would love!

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  23. Now that is an amazing sandwich! Your mom sounds wonderfully fun! I've never heard of Lucky Peach until now :) Thanks!

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