Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wood Panels and Ham and Chicken Rolls

My childhood was filled with Chinese restaurants, the good, the bad and the ugly. Not that I'm one for gross generalisations but I have a theory the uglier the restaurant the better the food.

Being a child of the 70's (restaurant going 80's) wood panelling was a must in any quality restaurant followed up by an appropriate anointing of square plastic tasseled lanterns, I assumed depicting a Chinese fable.

But you knew you had hit taste bud gold when you had to complete an obstacle course of various sized banquet ready table tops lining the passageway to the bathroom.

As I grew older I would venture through a variety of establishments adorned with lattice dividers, an aquarium of menu options and the latest Chinese versions Madonna track blaring throughout.
Even with the most elaborate interiors and silky smooth turning of the Lazy Susan I feel reassured when there's a glimpse of wood panel.

My favourite menu staple was the ham and chicken roll, crispy yet juicy and at times with just a hint of SPAM.
They were a menu guarantee till I moved 700km south and they are an unheard of item!!

Ham and Chicken Roll
Ingredients for approx. 8 rolls
  • Spring roll wrappers (about 16 depending on how big you make them)
  • 1 large chicken breast skin off
  • 2 large chicken thigh fillets skin off
  • 4 spring onions chopped
  • Ham strips cut into 1 cm thick and about 10cm long (see note)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsp. corn flour
  • Oil for frying
  • Place chicken in a saucepan of cold water and poach gently on low heat till just done
  • Drain chicken and roughly cube and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • In a mixing bowl add the chilled chicken, spring onions, salt, pepper, cooking wine and corn flour
  • Mix to combine, the chicken should be coated without there being too much of a paste
  • Onto a 2 spring roll wrappers (1 on top of the other) place a small amount of chicken mixture
  • Place a ham strip in the middle
  • Add a little more chicken if needed
  • Try to surround the ham with chicken in the centre of the roll (mine are hip and a bit off centre)
  • Roll up the spring roll and seal the end with some water
  • Fry in a saucepan of hot oil for 3-4 minutes till golden brown
  • Let the roll drain in a colander over a bowl
  • To serve cut the roll diagonally into 4 pieces, alternatively leave them whole.
  • Serve with chilli sauce or the traditional super sweet but not very sour bottled sweet and sour sauce.
Note: You could use ham steaks or ask your deli to cut a 1 cm thick slice for you, but nothing smoky as it will take over the flavour. I remember the ham in the original being very much like SPAM so that is another option.


  1. This looks delicious! I studied Chinese at school amd can say hamburger "Han bao bao" amd McDonalds "Mai Dong Lai". I also know a little karaoke ;)

  2. Thanks for the recipe, sounds like you grew up in roughly the same place as I, Nth NSW.

    1. yes central coast, so you know the ham and chicken roll?

  3. Nice one. This is common in some places in Sydney to this day.

  4. They look delicious and while I have never had one or seen one, I would love to have one right now Jason! I reckon they would be great in the air fryer too...sharing with friends!

    1. If ever you get to New South Wales Joanne it's a must try item (or I can make you some).
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing.