I was in the grocery store the other day looking for tofu for a stir fry. In the same display case there was a stack of packages of egg roll wrappers. I love egg rolls except when they are the grease balls that seem to becoming more common in Chinese restaurants – at least the ones I go to. I recalled the great egg rolls that Reggie Graves used to make (Reggie has been featured in this blog before) I liked them so much that his recipe made it to our family recipe book.
In my view, the perfect egg roll is crispy and golden on the outside. It is filled with succulent ingredients with crunch and a perfect mix of salty, sweet, spicy, and umami. They should be hot and totally free of any grease. The best thing is you can eat them as is, but you can also dip them in a little dish of sauce.
This recipe is an amalgamation of Reggie’s recipe from our family cookbook and the recipe on the back of the egg roll wrapper package. You can modify it however you fancy. Chicken or shrimp make good alternatives. More bean sprouts would be tasty. Bamboo shoots and/or water chestnuts also would be tasty. If you like spicy things, a dash or two of sriracha would be tasty. If you like, freeze un-fried rolls individually and store them wrapped with wax paper so they stay separate. When you are ready to finish them, thaw for 15 to 20 minutes and then proceed with frying.
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
- ½ cup carrot, grated
- ½ cup celery, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sherry
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- salt and pepper
- 1 package egg roll wraps (20 wrappers)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Blanch mixture of cabbage, carrot, and celery in boiling water, return to the boil for one minute, drain, and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
- In a wok over high heat, stir fry the pork and onions until the pork is cooked. Add the ginger and garlic and fry an additional minute.
- Stir in the blanched vegetables and stir fry an additional 2 minutes. Then stir in the bean sprouts and oyster sauce.
- In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sherry, and corn starch and then add the mixture to the stir fry.
- Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool in preparation of filling the egg rolls.
- When you are ready to fill the egg roll wrappers, sir together the water and flour in a small dish. Then open the package of wrappers and cover it with a dish towel so that the wrappers do not dry out
- Place one wrapper on a work surface, and arrange a large tablespoonful of filling diagonally, leaving about an inch free on either end.
- Fold the lower corner over the filling to about ½ inch below the opposite corner. Then fold the two side corners over the fold. Roll up the filled wrapper, and place a dab of the flour and water mixture on the open corner and seal the roll.
- Repeat the process until you have used all of the wrappers.
- Fry the rolls, a few at a time, in about 2 inches of vegetable oil at 350°F, for just a few minutes, turning them so they are nicely browned and crisp on all sides. Drain on folded paper towels and serve immediately.