Homemade egg rolls were one of the first things I learned to make at home, thanks to my mother-in-law. She’d been making egg rolls for her hungry boys for years, and her teaching me the craft was time that we really enjoyed spending together when we were first getting to know each other…long before Jon and I were actually married!
I remember the process being kind of frustrating in the beginning – before I got the feel of rolling them correctly, and my knife skills weren’t really up to par (would take me 2 months to shred a head of cabbage!). But now after making them for a good 10 years, I can make a batch for an easy weeknight dinner with no problem. I usually go for the chicken version - which is the “OG” for us, but sometimes I like to switch it up with other meats…in this case, ground pork. Shrimp is also great!
They can be made and rolled a couple of hours in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend any longer than that – as the wrappers tend to dry out and rip. Also, a great shortcut with the veggies is to use a couple of bags of shredded coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage and carrots. Saves a little bit of legwork at least!
I like to serve them with some veggie fried rice, and plenty of Chinese hot mustard and sweet chili sauce for dipping. Once you’ve made and enjoyed them at home, every egg roll you’ll get from a Chinese restaurant will always pale in comparison. Just a forewarning! You’ll be making them for years to come.
Pork Egg Rolls
1 lb. ground pork
3/4 head cabbage, shredded thin
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts (about 2 packages)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 scallions (green and white), sliced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 package egg roll wrappers
1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 3 tbsp cold water (for sealing wrappers)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in wok or large pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the ground pork along with 1 tablespoon soy sauce to the wok, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Cook about 5 minutes until pork is cooked and browned. Remove pork to a small bowl and set aside to cool. To the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add shredded cabbage carrots, garlic, and remaining soy sauce. Use tongs to “toss” the vegetables. Cook, over high heat, for about 2 minutes. Or, until cabbage begins to wilt. Toss in the bean sprouts and the green onions, and cook for about 1 minute more. Off heat.
Add the ground pork to the vegetables, tossing to combine well. Place a colander in your sink, or over a large bowl. Add the filling mixture to the colander. Using several layers of paper towels, press down firmly on the egg roll filling, pressing out as much moisture as possible. Repeat process several times. Let filling cool for 30 minutes before rolling into wrappers.
Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a dutch oven to 375 degrees. While the oil is coming up to temperature, wrap the rolls according to the package directions using the cornstarch slurry to seal the rolls.
Place into oil 4 or 5 at a time, turning over occasionally, until golden brown. Usually about 5 minutes. I usually add the rolls, wait one minute, then turn over with tongs. It seems like if you try to completely fry the first side, the gas released from the cabbage “blows out” the raw side, and then it doesn’t want to flip. I’ve found that a initial flip right from the get-go corrects that situation.
Remove from oil with tongs, and place VERTICALLY into a large pot or casserole dish that has been lined with paper towels. This vertical drain is key, as it really helps the rolls not to become soggy.
Serve with plenty of soy sauce, Chinese hot mustard, and sweet-chile sauce.