Crispy fried egg rolls were introduced to American Chinese restaurants in the 1930s (Lum Fong, a restaurant on Canal Street in New York City’s Chinatown, claimed to have been the first to put them on th menu). A simple stir-fried mixture of ground pork and cabbage with carrots and shiitake mushrooms is rolled up into fresh wrappers, then deep fried and served hot or warm with our Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce. Make sure you buy rectangular egg rolls wrappers, not round wonton wrappers—both are widely available in the coolers of American supermarkets.
Make-ahead note: You can freeze the uncooked egg rolls for up to three months. Make this recipe through step 3, and tightly wrap the egg rolls and seal them in zipper-top freezer bags. When you’re ready to fry, just slip the frozen egg rolls directly into the hot oil—no need to defrost them first. Add about 1 1/2 minutes to the cooking time.
- Yield: 25 egg rolls
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: About 1 hr
- Active: 50 mins
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 1/4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, plus up to 1 quart more for frying
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 6 ounces cabbage (about 1/4 head), sliced thin
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
- 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps cut in thin slices
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 25 egg roll wrappers
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water, for sealing
- Place the ground pork in a mixing bowl and add 1/2 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon of the rice wine, and all of the sesame oil. Mix well and set aside to marinate at least 10 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large nonstick sauté pan over high heat. Add the marinated pork and cook, stirring constantly, until the meat shows no traces of pink, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until the mixture is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms and stir-fry until the vegetables have softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 tablespoon of soy sauce, the sugar, and several grinds of black pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another minute, then dump the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet or large platter and spread it out to cool. One the filling mixture is cool, use paper towels to blot excess moisture that could result in soggy egg rolls.
- To form the egg rolls, lay a wrapper on your work surface with a point at the bottom, so it looks like a diamond. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of filling on the bottom point as shown. Roll it from the bottom, then fold in the two points on the side as if you’re making an envelope, brushing the wrapper’s top point with the cornstarch mixture so it adheres to itself. Continue with the remaining wrappers, arranging the finished egg rolls in a neat, single layer on a baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. If you want to stack the egg rolls, make sure you have layer of parchment paper in between the layers to prevent sticking. Refrigerate up to 4 hours.
- To fry the egg rolls, fill a wok or deep-sided Dutch oven with 2 inches of oil. Heat the oil to 350°F, using a deep-fry thermometer to help keep the oil at a constant temperature (if the oil cools too much between batches, you’ll end up with greasy egg rolls). Gently slide in or lower about 1/4 of the egg rolls (it’s best to wear long sleeves, to avoid burns from possible splatters), turning occasionally until golden brown about 2 minutes. Place on wire rack to drain. Continue frying until all the egg rolls are done. Serve hot or warm.