Friday, February 21, 2014

Asian Egg Rolls

 When I was in high school, I had some friends from Indonesia who always brought homemade egg rolls to school for everyone. I was the biggest fan, to say the least! They are SO GOOD. One day, my friends informed me that their mother needed some help putting together a massive amount of egg rolls for a party, and she was wondering if I wanted to come and learn. So, of course I jumped on the opportunity.

The recipe here as well as the rolling technique comes directly from what I learned that day. These egg rolls are pretty easy to make and put together, and you can decide if you want to fry them or bake them in the oven when you are done.


-1/2 lb. of ground pork
-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
-1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
-1/2 an onion, chopped
-1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
-3/4 cup of shredded carrots, chopped
-1 napa cabbage, chopped
-3 tbsp. soy sauce
-1 tbsp. sugar cane vinegar or rice vinegar

-1 package egg roll or spring roll wrappers (the egg roll wrappers are thicker--they both taste good)

Chop up all of your vegetables and toss them in a bowl.

Preheat your wok (or a deep-sided pan) to medium-high, and start cooking the pork.

Once it's browned, add in your garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and vinegar. That is all the liquid you should add to this mixture. It is important that it isn't wet, or it will make the wrappers soggy.

Once this becomes fragrant, add all of your vegetables to the pan. Gently combine this with a spatula and continue stirring for 3-5 minutes, until it starts to simmer down.

 See how the cabbage relaxes as it cooks?

Continue simmering over medium heat until the carrots are softened. Set aside to cool.

 You can find egg roll or spring roll wrappers at most grocery stores, but you can also check out your local Asian market (I usually get the TYJ brand) . Get the biggest size you can find, though, because it's much easier to roll them up when you are a beginner :)

When the mixture is cooled, strain it so you can get rid of any extra liquid. Make sure you keep your wrappers covered with a damp towel, or they will shrivel up. Lay out a wrapper like a diamond on a flat surface. Add about 2 tsp. of mix 2/3 of the way down the pastry. 

Fold over the edge like this, creating a smaller triangle.

 Tighten the bundle by starting to roll it like this, tucking the mixture into the small triangle you just made.

Roll it another turn, until the bundle is even with the side-points of your diamond, then fold over the sides. Make sure it's snug!

Roll it the rest of the way up.

 Continue this for all of your egg rolls, making sure you place the finished ones in a container covered with a damp towel--keeping the loose corner tucked underneath.

Once complete, there are two ways you can cook them. First, you can fill a pan with 3/4 inch of vegetable oil and heat it on medium until a chunk of vegetable thrown in starts to sizzle and is covered with bubbles immediately. That means it's hot enough. If it smokes or starts spattering everywhere, TURN IT DOWN and take it off the heat. Using tongs, place some egg rolls in the oil, open face down, hold them in place for a few seconds to make sure they don't unravel, and let them sizzle away until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and repeat. Place on paper towels.


You can preheat your oven to 375F, coat a pan with oil. Place your egg rolls and paint them or spray them with oil. Cook for 15 minutes and then flip, cooking until browned. The oven method makes the wrappers more crispy than crunchy, but it's a lot faster.

I always serve egg rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce. It's really the most tangy sauce for egg rolls. You'll love it. You can find it in the international section at Harris Teeter or at your local Asian Market. 

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