How often do you make egg rolls? If you’re like me, you probably eat them more than you make them. As a kid, I enjoyed more than my share of chinese take-out. No meal was complete without an egg roll. I didn’t have time for the slim spring rolls, even if they were fried. I wanted the big, fat ones stuffed with pork, cabbage and carrots. Some restaurants called them New York-style egg rolls. Others didn’t specify, so it was a gamble. I still get cravings for those fat, NY-style egg rolls, but today, I’m going to showcase the smaller, three-bite cousin. With tubes of lemongrass and ginger paste, bottles of fish sauce and soy sauce, and a bunch of cilantro in the fridge, these egg rolls have a Thai flavor that differentiates them from the monster rolls of years ago.
Apparently, you can’t eat just one Pringle chip, and you can’t make just one (or a few) egg rolls. You have to make a bunch. It reminds me of tamales, wontons, dumplings, samosas, and empanadas–the more, the better. There’s a rhythmic, methodical process to filling, shaping and cooking these stuffed doughs. You get sucked in, and before you know it, there are 40, 75, 100 of them staring back at you! If you have extra hands in the kitchen to help, that’s always nice.
One day, I decided to thaw a package of frozen wrappers and get to rollin’. Funny thing is, I really thought I knew how to roll an egg roll. Turns out there is a very specific method to it, so the final product will look authentic. The outer edge should be a point, not a straight line like mine. Don’t be intimidated; just read the directions below for the right way to roll. Either way, the final egg roll will be tasty. Maybe one day I’ll try those NY-style egg rolls. Until then, these will have to do.
- Egg Rolls
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, plus more for shallow frying
- ⅓ cup minced yellow onion
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed if desired, minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger paste or fresh minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons lemongrass paste or fresh minced lemongrass
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds ground pork
- 4 cups cole slaw mix
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1½ tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- 40 - 6" egg roll wrappers
- Fresh chopped scallions, for garnish
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2½ teaspoons sriracha
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1½ teaspoons sesame oil
- Pour the grapeseed oil into a medium frying pan, and heat over a medium-high flame. Add the onions, cooking for about 3-5 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add the jalapeno, ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Place the ground pork into the pan, and break it up until smaller chunks. Cook for about 2-4 minutes before adding the cole slaw mix, fish sauce, soy sauce and lime juice. Stir as needed, and continue cooking until the pork is no longer pink, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the cilantro. Transfer to a bowl, and cool completely.
- While the filling cools, make the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, sriracha, honey and sesame oil.
- When the filling has cooled, pull out once egg roll wrapper, lightly covering the rest with a damp paper towel. Fill a small bowl with warm water, and set it nearby.
- Place the wrapper on a flat, clean surface with one of the points facing up, so it looks like a diamond. Drop about 2 tablespoons of filling in a horizontal line towards the top one-third of the wrapper. Tightly roll the top corner of the wrapper over the filling towards the middle of the wrapper, then fold in the left and right corners. Dip your fingers in the water, and run it along the bottom edges of the wrapper. Finish rolling down to the bottom, keeping the egg roll tight and in formation. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers, keeping unused wrappers and rolled egg rolls covered with damp paper towels.*
- Once ready to cook, fill a medium frying pan halfway up with grapeseed oil. Set the pan over medium-high flame. When the oil is hot, carefully drop 4-5 egg rolls into the pan, and fry until golden brown on one side, approximately 1-2 minutes. Flip, and fry the other side for another 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Continue frying until they're all cooked.
- Serve the egg rolls hot with the sauce. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.
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