I love to cook, and I feel that almost everything is better homemade – except Chinese take-out. For all my efforts and trials, I just cannot make General Tso’s like take-out. Or hot and sour soup. When I was pregnant with my little one, I craaaved hot and sour soup like nobody’s business. I even wrote an ode to hot and sour soup. (Yeah, I’ll throw it in at the end of the post, just so you can laugh at me, so be sure not to miss it.) But then when I tried to make it, it literally smelled like a cow’s barn. And that wasn’t my weird pregnancy nose – my husband agreed. It went down the sink. Usually I feel like if I choose to, I can tackle most food “genres” in the kitchen, and prefer homemade – but Chinese take out? Nah, let me just call in an order.
But the exception to this exception is egg rolls. I definitely prefer my homemade egg rolls, and now you can make them too! I’m not claiming these are authentic to anywhere, or anything like that – and I’m not going to claim that anything deep fried is healthy. I’m just going to claim that I think they are delicious and prefer them to take-out egg rolls!
Note: Pleeeeeese be careful when deep frying. Bad stuff can happen if you do it wrong. I’m including some safety tips, but use common sense and realize I’m not an expert by any means, and if you haven’t done deep frying before, I’d recommend reading up on how to do it.
Egg Rolls Recipe, from TheFlourishingAbode.com
Small head of Cabbage
¼ cup Cooked Pork (optional)
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
1/8 teaspoon Ground Ginger
¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
3 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
¼ teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
Egg roll wrappers
Small bowl of water
Large wok or similar
Platter, Plate or Tray
Large Metal slotted spoon or metal tongs
1- Cooking with hot oil can be dangerous. Read safety tips on deep frying and cooking with oil, below.* Also, read through the entire recipe before beginning to know what to expect, as once frying begins timing is important.
2- Very thinly slice/shave cabbage as you would for coleslaw, until you have about 3 cups of cabbage. Grate carrots to make about ¾ cup. Slice mushrooms into very small slivered pieces, similar in shape to the carrots and cabbage, about ¾ cup. Shred pork into small pulled pieces, about ¼ cup (Optional). Combine all of these in a mixing bowl.
3- In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, ground ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar and sriracha until well blended. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss until evenly distributed to make the egg roll filling.
4- Place about 3 tablespoons of egg roll filling in the center of an egg roll wrapper. Angle wrapper so that one of the corners is facing you, then take the left and right corners, and fold them to the middle. Take the corner pointing at you and fold it to the middle, then roll the whole egg roll toward the top corner, handling delicately. Dab a bit of water on the egg roll where the top point will land. Press corner gently onto wet spot, then dab a little more water on top of the corner, spreading the moisture over the edges of the corner where it meets the egg roll. Don’t get the egg roll excessively wet, however, and set aside. Let dry while you repeat on the rest of the egg rolls, about 10-15 in total.
5- Prepare a platter with a few layers of paper towels to set the cooked egg rolls on to absorb excess oil. Have a large slotted metal spoon or metal tongs ready to use – avoid plastic utensils as they will melt in the oil.
6- In a large wok, slowly heat enough Canola oil to half fill wok. If you have a cooking thermometer, monitor the oil and slowly let the oil heat up to maintain a temperature of 375 degrees while cooking, but before adding egg rolls bring the temperature about 15 degrees higher, as the egg rolls will lower the temperature of the oil when added.
7- If you are not using a thermometer, you can tear an egg roll wrapper into strips, and gently place a strip into the oil. If it sinks and doesn’t bubble and crisp up to a light brown right away, the oil is not hot enough- cooking your egg rolls in oil that is too cool will result in the egg rolls absorbing to much oil and getting soggy. If the test strip of egg roll wrapper turns dark brown and burns, the oil is too hot, so lower the heat. Properly cooked egg roll wrapper strips are delicious as wonton crisps.
8- Make sure the egg rolls are not dripping wet from where you dabbed them with water, as putting water in the oil will cause splattering, which is dangerous.
9- When oil is ready, gently slide one egg roll into the oil with the metal spoon or metal tongs, taking care not to splash or splatter.
10- The egg roll should float if the oil is the proper temperature. Pretty quickly you will be able to see the submerged half of the egg roll becoming light brown, bubbly and crisp. Using your metal utensil, gently roll egg rolls over to cook the other side. Gently slide in a second egg roll. Continually monitor the temperature of the oil.
11- As soon as the first egg roll is light brown and crispy/bubbly all over, promptly remove from the oil with your metal utensil. Do not allow to burn or sit in the oil for too long and absorb more oil than necessary. Briefly hold the egg roll just above the oil to allow most of the excess oil to drain off back into the wok. Place the egg roll on the paper toweled platter.
12- Gently roll over the second egg roll, and gently add in another egg roll. This begins a cycle where the second side of one egg roll will be cooking while the first side of another egg roll cooks. If you stay in this pattern, it will be easy to keep track of the doneness of the egg rolls. Only have two egg rolls in at a time – do not over crowd the oil as it will cause the oil’s temperature to drop too rapidly.
13- Repeat steps 8-12 until all the egg rolls are cooked. Continually monitor the temperature of the oil and use safe frying practices.
14- Serve egg rolls while still warm. Delicious dipped in sweet and sour sauce! Enjoy!
* Always be very careful when working with hot oil. Never leave oil unattended. Turn any handles away from the edge of the stove, and keep small children away from hot oil. Do not wear long loose sleeves while frying. Do not have any water near enough the oil to be able to spill into the oil as this will cause an explosion. Using a cooking thermometer is recommended– maintain a cooking temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit, heating the oil to about 15 degrees higher than this before food is added, because it will cool the oil when added. The smoke point of Canola oil is 468 degrees Fahrenheit, so stay well below this temperature. (Click here for this and more information on safely frying in Canola oil.) If you use a different oil, it will have a lower smoke point, so be aware of your oil’s smoke point, and use it safely. Reused oil always has a lower smoke point, so educate yourself about the state of your oil. Use any and all necessary safety precautions, whether mentioned here or not.
And now, for your entertainment, here is my very own “Ode to Hot and Sour Soup”, written tongue-in-cheek during a time of deep craving:
Oh, luscious bowl
Of soup, hot and sour!
So deft with my spoon
would I gladly devour
the glorious broth,
floating bits, undefined,
and yet without knowledge
I shall be satisfied.
Oh, such a succulent
treat to be eaten!
Pray, give me no coffee
e’en with sugar sweetened!
And no mashed potatoes
Though creamy and beaten-
Give me naught but my soup
Oriental in flavor,
And each wondrous bite
will I joyously savor!
Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m weird. :) Anyway, I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Have any of you figured out how to make take-out at home? I can do stir-fry and curry and stuff like that, but not good-ol’ take out classics like General Tso’s and hot and sour soup. If you have tips, let me know!
Or any general thoughts/comments/pointing-and-laughing, or whatever you feel like – you know I enjoy hearing from you, so leave your comment below! :)