Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
These are my Mom’s Famous Crispy Chinese Egg Rolls and a recipe that I published way back in 2007 but somehow got lost in the Internet void. Thank goodness that this recipe was part of my cookbook so I still had the text and photos. ~Jaden
This is one of those recipes that is a little more time consuming to make, but one that’s my favorite because 1) it’s my Mom’s recipe 2) everyone who has tried them instantly declare they are the best they’ve ever had 3) you can make a big batch of them and freeze them. I usually call a couple of my girlfriends over and we have an eggrollin’ party where we’ll make a massive batch of them, enjoy them fresh that night and have enough for all to take home and freeze. If you are making these with friends, I’d suggest doubling the recipe so each person has some to take home to freeze. I promise you they will taste just as good fried after frozen and you will never taste better egg rolls than these. BUT – you must follow my Mama’s rules.
Mama’s Rule #1: Your egg roll filling ingredients must be drained of excess moisture and cooled before rolling. Soggy, hot filling makes soggy egg rolls.
Mama’s Rule #2: Use the right kind of wrapper. The size I get is 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 cm) around and come 25 wrappers to a package. These wrappers are light, paper-thin and fry up to a shatteringly crisp crunch. Oh yes, before I forget – “spring roll” and “egg roll” are interchangeable and mean the same thing. Sometimes my regular American grocery store will have “spring roll pasta sheets” that are in the refrigerated produce section. Do not use those – they are way too thick! Let’s just say that if it has Italian writing on the package, it probably ain’t the good stuff for Chinese egg rolls.
Rule#2A. Treat the wrapper right. You also want to keep the wrappers covered with a damp towel at all times to prevent the edges from drying and cracking.
Mama’s Rule #3: Roll small and tight! Sloppy and loosely rolled egg rolls will break apart and allow oil to seep into the inside of the roll. Mama says baaaad. One time I was watching a celebrity chef on television making monster egg rolls the size of a cola can. Who in the heck can wrap their mouths around that thing? It looked hideous. Mama’s egg rolls are elegant and skinny. Don’t be too greedy and overstuff them! And roll them tight so that the filling doesn’t fall out while frying! Remember the days when you were younger and rolled your own…um…cigarette? Channel those rolling skills back.
Mama’s Rule #4: Lay the rolled egg rolls neatly with a piece of parchment, foil or wax paper in between each layer if you are stacking them on top of each other. Keep them covered with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent drying. If you are freezing, freeze them in like this first. Once frozen, you can gather them up and transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. If you roll them out and jumble them all together in a big pile, they’ll eventually stick to each other and you’ll tear the delicate skin trying to pry them apart.
The printable recipe is below, but here are step by step photos on how to wrap. The recipe is for ground pork as the filling, but as you can see in these photos, the filling is very flexible. I’ve used chopped shrimp, ground chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, very thinly sliced pork (almost like matchstick sized). In these photos, I used crawfish and diced Chinese sausage!
These photos are just a guideline to teach you how to wrap (and the wrong way to wrap Chinese Egg Rolls!)
After you fry the filling, you’ll want to spread it out to cool on a baking sheet. Tilt the baking sheet and prop it up so that all the juices accumulate. You’ll discard this juice. Too much juice in filling makes soggy eggrolls.
Lay the wrapper on a clean, dry surface as shown. Spoon just a heaping tablespoon of filling near the bottom corner. Resist the urge to over stuff with too much filling!
Lift the bottom corner up and begin rolling until you reach halfway up.
Fold over the left side, and then the right side towards the center.
Continue folding up with a tuck-roll-tuck-roll motion. Dip your fingers into the cornstarch slurry and brush all over the final top corner. Finish up the roll, seal and place seam side down.
See how tightly the egg roll wrapped? Any holes or large air pockets will allow oil to seep in, resulting in a greasy egg roll! The width or diameter of the egg roll should ONLY be 1.25-inches. If you make them any larger (i.e. too much filling) you’ll end up with less egg rolls.
Common mistake is to not fold over and tuck good enough. See that big space? Oil seeps in and will make your egg roll greasy.
Big holes = your egg roll will fall apart while frying.
See the difference between the above photo and this one?
Mother's Famous Chinese Egg Rolls Recipe
Once you make these egg rolls, you'll never make them any other way! Make sure you get the correct egg roll wrappers. They should be FROZEN and very thin, almost paper thin. Do not use egg roll wrapper found in the refrigerated section (usually near tofu) in Western supermarket - they make starchy, thick, gooey egg rolls with big bubbles on outside when you fry. It's important to make sure you keep your wrapper and rolled egg rolls under plastic wrap so that they do not dry out!
Ingredients:50 Spring/Egg Roll Wrappers (about 2 packages), defrosted unopened at room temperature for 45 minutes or in the refrigerator overnight
1 tablespoon cornstarch (or flour) mixed with ¼ cup of cool water to seal egg roll
Oil, for frying
FOR THE GROUND PORK
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE VEGETABLES
2 to 3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
½ head of cabbage (about 11 ounces)
3 carrots, shredded
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried black mushrooms soaked overnight), stems discarded
1 tablespoon cooking oil (canola, vegetable, peanut)
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the filling, combine the ingredients for the ground pork together. Marinate at least 10 minutes. In the meantime, shred the cabbage and the carrots using your food processor or by hand. Slice the mushrooms into very thin strips (or you could use your food processer and pulse a few times to get a fine dice.
2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the pork and stir-fry until no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, push the meat to one side of the pan. Add the garlic, cabbage, carrots, ginger and the mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute, until the vegetables are softened. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and black pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another minute. Scoop out the filling to a baking sheet and spread out to cool. Prop up one end of the baking sheet so that it tilts and will allow all the moisture to drain to one end. Let cool for 15 minutes.
3. Discard all of the accumulated juices. Use paper towels to blot the filling to rid of extra oil or juice. Now, you're ready to wrap (see photos for instructions on how to wrap). IMPORTANT: Only use 1 heaping tablespoon of filling for each egg roll. These are slender egg rolls, the width of the egg roll should only be 1.25" diameter.
Keep the rolled egg rolls in neat, single layer and covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. If you want to stack the egg rolls, make sure you have layer of parchment paper in between the layers to prevent sticking. Keep wrappers also covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Refrigerate up to 4 hours until ready to fry or freeze.
4. To fry the egg rolls, fill a wok or pot with 2 inches of high-heat cooking oil. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C) or until a cube of bread will fry to golden brown within 10 seconds. Gently slide in or lower the egg rolls, frying 4 to 6 at a time, turning occasionally until golden brown about 1½ minutes. Place on wire rack to drain and cool.
NOTE: To fry frozen egg rolls, do not defrost the egg rolls – just add them to the oil frozen, frying 4 to 6 at a time. Add an additional 1½ minutes to the frying time since they are frozen.
White on Rice has a vegetarian Vietnamese Curried Tofu Spring Roll (not fried!)