I don’t cook often, but I do enjoy it every once in a while. When I do, I tend to go for odd meals. They don’t always follow the meat and two veggies, plus starch that my mom always made. The other day, I decided to make egg rolls. These are my take on egg rolls. I call them American egg rolls because you can really put anything you want in these. This particular recipe is the Asian inspired flavor for egg rolls. I’ve also done a Mexican inspired flavor for these where I take seasoned ground beef, corn, beans, and a bit of cheese and make a Tex-Mex variation. Play with the ingredients however you wish.
- Use a fairly large stainless steel frying pan for these. Don’t use a non-stick pan. At the temperatures you’re going to have your oil at, there is a risk that some of the chemicals in a Teflon covered pan might leach out.
- Peanut Oil. This is not a healthy dish. Don’t ruin it by trying to make it healthy using some other oil. Go for the stuff they use in the restaurants – it tastes better. (you can find this in the baking aisle of your grocery store)
- Paper towel covered cake pan (when removing egg rolls, stand them on end leaning on the sides of the pan to better drain)
- An apron. Or else wear a shirt you don’t care about, but you will get oil stains on it.
Egg Roll Ingredients:
Tip: I use the TupperWare Chop ‘N Prep Chef chopper to shred the cabbage, carrots and chicken. This is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. Definitely makes shredding the ingredients really easy and quick.
- Egg Roll wrappers (I buy Nasoya brand, available in the organic section of the regular grocery store)
- 1 head red cabbage (shredded)
- 1 cup carrots (shredded)
- 1 package shredded pre-cooked chicken. (I buy either Perdue Short Cuts or Tyson Grilled and Ready in the 10 oz package, whichever is on sale)
Mix the shredded cabbage and shredded carrots in a bowl.
Tip: You will not be using all the cabbage/carrot mixture. Think about splitting this in half and using the reserved 1/2 to make homemade coleslaw.
Create an assembly line. Put the wraps first, then, the cabbage/carrot mix in a bowl. Next, Put the shredded chicken in another bowl. Get a bowl of WARM water at the end.
Tip: Make sure you keep the water of the assembly process away from your pile of wraps.
Remove one wrap from the pile and lay it in front of you as if it were a diamond shape with the bottom pointing at you. Add a heaping tablespoon full of cabbage/carrot mixture to the middle of the wrap. Add a heaping teaspoon of chicken to the pile. Dip your fingers into the warm water and moisten the bottom edges of the diamond. Take the two side points, and connect them together. Take the bottom point and press into the folds of the side points. You have now created what should look like an open envelope.
Lift this up and gently shake to get all the ingredients below the fold. Then, as tightly (and gently) as you can, roll from the bottom and use a bit of water to seal the top of the envelope. Don’t worry if you rip it. One thing you can do, is seal most rips by moistening the tear and squishing them back together. If you have a really bad tear, you can sacrifice one wrapper to become the “tape” to hold others. Just moisten a strip off of a wrapper and plaster it on top of the tear.
Don’t pile assembled egg rolls tightly. They’ll stick together.
Fill your frying pan with peanut oil about one inch deep. Try to have a pan large enough that you can fit four to five egg rolls at a time with plenty of room for them to move around. Otherwise, you’ll be frying all night. Heat the oil to the point where a TINY drop of water will fizzle away quickly. Be careful! If you flick too much water in very hot oil, you will hurt yourself. Just drop a bit of water off the tip of your finger to test. If you see smoke on your oil, turn the heat off immediately. Once the oil is hot enough, begin placing your egg rolls. Do this part slowly. Don’t drop them in. You do not want to splash hot oil on yourself.
Watch the first batch very carefully. Turn them over when the fried side looks to be getting close to golden brown. Use your tongs to flip the egg rolls and cook the opposite side.
Tip: if you see a thin side to the egg rolls, cook that side first, that will help cut down on giant bubbles forming that will make them want to not stay flipped over. If you get an egg roll that keeps trying to flip over, hold it with a fork in the position you need for a few seconds until the air has had a chance to move around and the egg roll no longer tries to flip back over.
Once the other half has been fried, use the tongs to remove the egg rolls from the oil. Give it a few seconds above the oil to drain off the oil (turn the egg roll different ways to ensure you’ve gotten most of the oil off) then move to your paper towel covered cake pan. Use the sides of the cake pan so that you can drain the egg rolls by standing them up on end. This helps get most of the oil out.
Egg rolls should be golden brown. Apologies on the picture above, I kept getting interrupted on this batch so they got a bit more done than they normally would be – but they were still delicious.
Tip: Watch the temperature of your oil. If your egg rolls begin cooking too fast, turn the heat down. Don’t leave these unattended. They can burn very quickly.
We like using hot mustard and soy sauce. You can try sweet and sour sauce as well.
Makes about 25
One last note about the peanut oil. You can re-use this a time or two if you’re going to be frying in the near future (refrigerated biscuits dough make yummy fried donuts). Once you have let the oil cool for a couple hours, you can put it in a container. I suggest taking a large container and using a paper towel to create a sieve. Don’t put the towel on top tightly, let it sag a bit like a bowl so oil can drip through. SLOWLY pour some of the cooled oil into the paper towel sieve. Let that drip down into your container. Seal it tightly and re-use it. If your oil has changed color or overheated, you may not want to do this. Make sure you’re wearing your apron when you do this.