Making egg rolls at home does not have to be a difficult process and only requires a few ingredients. Egg rolls can be a great appetizer for dinner parties, a side dish, or a snack when lounging around the house or watching the game with friends. The prep work for egg rolls is the most time consuming part of the process but most prep work can be done well in advance. So to get started you will need:
1 head of cabbage
1 lbs of carrots
1 package of bean spouts
2 large onions
2 lbs of ground pork/chicken/turkey/beef (whichever meat you prefer)
3 tablespoons of vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 packages of prepared egg roll wrappers (if only making a small amount halve all amounts and use one package of egg roll wrappers.)
The cabbage, carrots, and onions can be shredded in a food processor or by hand. If done by hand, sliced cabbage into thin strips with a large chef’s knife, and the carrots and onions can be shredded with a large hole cheese grater. Mix the shredded cabbage, carrots, onion and bean sprouts in a large bowl and toss with vinegar, salt and pepper, then place bowl covered in plastic wrap in the fridge. The mix should sit for at least an hour, but can sit overnight before being prepared.
The marinade for the meat can be purchased already prepared or can be made at home. The typical taste of the meat in restaurant egg rolls is a cherry based teriyaki flavor. There are several brands of teriyaki mix that are cherry based sold in the grocery stores. Or you can use this mixture to make your own.
1 can cherry pie mix
1 bottle teriyaki marinade
1 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tsp liquid hickory smoke (optional)
Mix marinade in a blender until all cherry pieces are pureed. Marinade ground meat for at least an hour, but also does well to marinade overnight. If you do not have a blender substitute a jar of cherry preserves for the can of pie mix. Use two cups of the marinade mixture to marinade meat in. The remainder of mix can be saved by returning it to the store bought teriyaki bottle or placed in an air tight lidded container. Mix will keep for a month and can be used as a marinade for grilling or pan frying other meat.
Once meat mixture has marinaded it should have a pink color to it due to the cherries(except for beef, it will not change color). Fry ground meat until it is mostly cooked and has been smashed, in the pan, to small pieces. Add some of the left over marinade to the pan and reduce the marinade into the meat. Once the marinade has been cooked off and absorbed by the meat remove from pan. There are two ways to drain the meat, either with a small holed strainer or place several paper towels on a large platter or inside a bowl to absorb extra liquid from the meat.
In a deep sided frying pan/wok or a large 6 quart pot pour at least 3 inches of oil, or use a deep fryer, like a Fry Daddy. I prefer to use peanut oil, but canola or vegetable oil will work fine. Do not use olive oil.
While oil is heating, drain the shredded cabbage mixture in a small holed strainer and place in a new bowl.
Lay each egg roll wrapper on your work surface. In the center of each egg roll place a line of cabbage mixture and sprinkle some of the cooled meat on top. Leave one inch from the ends of the egg roll wrapper to wrap properly. Then fold the bottom half of the wrapper up over the mixture and tuck it under the mixture. Then fold the ends in and roll the wrapper away from you. It should look like a traditional egg roll at this point. To help keep it’s shape you can run a wet finger along the edge of the top flap to seal it to the body of the egg roll.
If you are using a deep fryer, place the egg rolls fold side down in the basket and place in fryer. If you are using a pan, you may want to use a toothpick to hold the egg roll together and place it in the pan of hot oil. The oil should be at about 375 degrees F. Cook the egg rolls until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a rack with a pan under it to drain or on a paper towel lined pan.
You do not have to cook all the egg rolls at once either. Once you have the egg rolls rolled, before cooking, you can freeze them to cook later. They keep for up to three months in a freezer bag, but should be used by then. Happy Eats!