When it comes to traditional Chinese recipes, I always turn to Use Real Butter as my ultimate online resource. (I learned how to make Chinese dumplings and potstickers from her.) Use Real Butter is a seriously good blog–very down-to-earth, real, and choked full of delicious recipes plus breathtaking landscape photography and some of the cleanest food porn; I become a fan instantly. Today, I am very happy to feature Jen Yu of Use Real Butter as our guest writer. Jen shares her easy egg roll recipe (with sweet egg roll) and step-by-step picture cooking guide. Please give her your warmest welcome and support, and don’t forget to pay her a visit at her wonderful blog.
Egg Roll Recipe
Guest Writer: Jen Yu of Use Real Butter
I can’t tell you what a pleasure and an honor it is for me to be guest blogging on Rasa Malaysia. This is one of my all-time favorite sites for fantastic Asian recipes (and if you know me, I am picky when it comes to authentic Chinese food) and beautiful photography. When Bee asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post, I practically fell out of my chair. Yes, of course! But what would I blog? To be honest, I come here to reference many of Bee’s recipes. Eventually, we settled on egg rolls.
Egg rolls are one of those dishes that I don’t make at home very often. Deep frying is something I tend to let the restaurants specialize in. However, I quite love a really good, crispy, hot, fresh egg roll from time to time. Now there is a burning question about the difference between a spring roll and an egg roll. I think most of what I have encountered in Chinese restaurants is what might be classified as a spring roll: loaded with vegetables (cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, sprouts), sometimes containing meat (pork), and wrapped in a thin flour skin that becomes delicately crispy when fried. I usually only see egg rolls in more westernized Chinese take-out joints and they always contain meat (usually pork), are fried in a thicker flour and egg wrapper, and tend to be about twice as large as their spring roll cousins. I think I read somewhere that the egg roll is Cantonese.
green onions, bamboo shoots, chinese mushrooms, pork, cabbage, sprouts
In my mind, a spring roll doesn’t contain meat, so these are egg rolls by default. I started by stir-frying the vegetables that require the most time to cook: the cabbage and mung bean sprouts. I heated a little vegetable oil in the pan until it was hot and then tossed in half of the green onions to flavor the oil. When things began to sizzle, I added the cabbage and sprouts, stir-frying until they were wilted at which point I removed the contents to a bowl.
cabbage and mung bean sprouts
I prefer to use dark pork meat and I don’t use a lot of it, allowing the vegetables to dominate the egg roll. The quantities should be dictated by what you like, so feel free to add more, use less, or replace the pork with chicken or tofu. You can mix the pork strips with a variety of seasonings, but my mom suggested (nay, instructed me to use) soy sauce, Chinese cooking sherry, and some cornstarch. Using the same pan, I added a little more vegetable oil and the remaining green onions. As the onions sizzled, I poured in the pork strips and stir-fried until the meat was barely pink anymore.
thin strips cook in just a few minutes
Once the pork was nearly done, I emptied the cabbage and sprouts back into the pan and also added the remaining ingredients (in this case, the bamboo shoots and the mushrooms) and stir-fried everything until the pork was cooked through.
I used spring roll wrappers (it read: Spring Roll Wrappers on the package) as my tiny Asian grocer did not have any egg roll wrappers in stock. I prefer these thinner wrappers anyway, but just so you know, I have seen egg roll wrapper packages in larger Asian grocery stores. I think they are called egg rolls because egg is used in making the wrapper dough.
rolling the wrapper around a spot of filling
folding the sides over neatly
Wrapping the rolls is straightforward if you keep one thing in mind – no gaps. I oriented each wrapper as a diamond with one corner pointing toward me and piled a few tablespoons of filling two-thirds of the way down from the center to the corner nearest me. I folded the nearest corner over the filling, then folded the sides over, making sure no filling was “exposed” and then rolled the rest of it up. A little egg wash smeared along the edges of the last corner helped to keep the egg roll sealed.
awaiting the fryer
My final egg rolls measured about 5 inches in length and 1.5 inches in diameter which is probably on the small side for an egg roll, but on the large side for a spring roll. Go figure. I fried them in a 3-quart saucepan with 3 cups of vegetable oil at 375°F (I used a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature) and they browned in about 3-4 minutes. Rather than setting the fried egg rolls on paper towels where they would get soggy, I let them cool on a baking rack which allowed them to maintain their crispy shells. They are delicious when eaten hot.
egg rolls (with spring roll skins)
Since I had extra spring roll wrappers, I opened a can of sweet red bean paste (easily found at any Asian market) and wrapped several sweet bean paste rolls, frying them just like the egg rolls. Served fresh and dusted with some powdered sugar, these make a great little dessert. Thanks for having me, Bee!