I have my mother-in-law, Linda, to thank for this wonderful recipe. Jon and I had been dating for about a year and she came to visit. I guess I was 19? Maybe 20. At any rate, at the time, I had zero interest in the kitchen. Needless to say, Jon was looking forward to his Momma’s visit. Not only to see her, but also in hopes of getting a few home cooked meals.
She was here for a week or so, and made several delicious rib-sticking meals during her stay. But the egg rolls. I know it sounds absurd, but these egg rolls changed my life. After learning how to make them, that I could make something like that from a dingy little bachelor pad kitchen…it’s like something clicked inside. I began trying new and different recipes. I looked forward to coming home and cooking dinners. I couldn’t get enough information about different ingredients and techniques.
That was close to 10 years ago, and I still have that hunger and love for cooking. I think it’s awesome that I can pinpoint the moment where it all started. I’m pretty sure it will never end!
Chicken Egg Rolls
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
3/4 head cabbage, shredded thin
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cups fresh bean sprouts (1 package)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 scallions (green and white), sliced
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 package egg roll wrappers
1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 3 tbsp cold water
Combine 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp oil, 1 clove minced garlic, and half of the scallions into a resealable bag. Add chicken to marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes up to 3 hours.
Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in wok or large pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken to the wok. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until chicken is mostly done and starting to brown on the edges. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside to cool. To the same pan, add the remaining tbsp of vegetable oil. Add shredded cabbage and carrots. Add remaining tbsp of 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 cook for about 1 minute more. Off heat.
Once cool, dice the chicken breasts and add them to the vegetables, mixing in well. Place a colander in your sink, or over a large bowl. Add egg roll 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. I like to fry the rolls at about 375. While the oil is coming up to temperature, wrap the rolls according to the package directions. 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 duck sauce.
Originally posted June 23, 2009