I kind of can’t believe it but this is the first time I’ve ever made egg rolls. (I have made a baked southwestern version before, but I’m talking something a bit more classic.) This surprises me because I absolutely love egg rolls, and I consider them an essential on the rare occasions when we order Chinese food. I suppose this is precisely the reason I haven’t made them before – it’s because I love them so much. I really don’t need to be making such irresistible fried food around my house. In any case I’m glad to have finally tried them. The filling is fantastic and the fried shells are crispy and just plain delicious. This is the kind of thing I’ll only make a couple of times a year, and I’m already looking forward to next time.
Though this particular version calls for chicken, I’m quite sure you could use pork with wonderful results as well. The recipe makes a large number of egg rolls – far more than we would ever need at once for just our family. I ended up using all of the egg roll wrappers in the package (I think 24) and had enough filling left over for a few more. I froze about half of the assembled rolls before frying and I may try baking them and see how they turn out that way. Andrew really liked these because, like most favorite toddler foods, they are dip-able. These were a big win, even if they are only going to be an occasional splurge for us.
Yield: 24-30 egg rolls
For the filling:
4 tbsp. soy sauce, divided
3 cloves minced garlic, divided
4 chopped green onions, divided
4 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
¾ head green cabbage, shredded thin
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
24-30 egg roll wrappers
1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp. water
Canola or peanut oil, for frying
To make the filling, combine 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce, 1 clove of minced garlic, half of the green onions, and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a resealable bag; shake well to combine. Place the chicken in the bag, press out the excess air, and seal. Refrigerate and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the shredded cabbage and carrots, and the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce. Stir to toss the vegetables. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes. Toss in the bean sprouts, remaining garlic and green onions and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.
Dice the chicken breasts and add them to the vegetable mixture. Place the mixture in a colander or mesh strainer in the sink or a large bowl. Press down firmly on the filling mixture to remove as much excess liquid as possible. Let the filling cool for 30 minutes before filling the wrappers.
To finish the egg rolls, heat about 3 inches of oil in a Dutch oven to 375˚ F. While the oil is heating, assemble the rolls. Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface with one corner pointing toward you. Add a tablespoon or two of the filling to the center of the wrapper. Fold the corner closest to you up over the filling. Roll slightly away from you, fold the two corners pointing to the sides inward, and continue rolling the wrapper tightly away from you. Dip a finger in the cornstarch mixture and lightly brush inside the top corner of the wrapper to help adhere, and finish rolling. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Fry several egg rolls at a time in the hot oil, without overcrowding, about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a large pot or dish lined with paper towels and place the finished egg rolls vertically to help drain excess grease. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Serve warm.