When it comes to gift-giving over the holidays, many of us think of chocolates, gingerbread men, fruit cakes, and hard candy. But why not give a savory rather than a sweet? As a sign of love and appreciation, my mother always made egg rolls for friends and family. This year I’ve decided to do the same.
It’s hard to trace where exactly egg rolls stem from, as many Asian communities lay claim to this on-the-go snack food. Growing up, I’ve always been told “These are Vietnamese egg rolls”, “These are Laotian egg rolls”, “These are Hmong egg rolls”, etc.. I personally think they should be known as “Mom’s egg rolls” or “Grandma’s egg rolls”, as these two ladies in my family could be found in the kitchen from dawn until dusk in my childhood.
Sadly, egg rolls are not one of my fondest foods to make. I was never good at wrapping egg rolls, therefore I was always given the task of separating the wrappers. And as we all know with children, once you’ve told them they’re terrible at something one too many times, they give up trying–and that was me.
However, no longer living in “Mom’s house”, I’ve decided to revive this recipe in my own kitchen, with an easier twist of cooking the pork slightly, so as not to worry about it being undercooked while frying.
I hope you give these a try this holiday season!
Recipe: (yields 24-25 egg rolls)
- 1.5 lbs. Minced pork
- 1 c. shrimp, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Thumb-sized ginger, minced
- 2 shallots, chopped,
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 c. cabbage, thinly sliced
- 4 button mushrooms, chopped (or 1 package of wood ear mushrooms, soaked and chopped)
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. Sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 more egg
- Egg roll wrappers
- Frying oil
- Sweetened chili sauce
- Start by cooking minced pork until no longer pink. Strain off juices and allow to cool.
- In a bowl, combine all filling ingredients, including cooled minced pork.
- Take one egg roll wrap and lay on work surface with one corner towards you, and add 1.5 spoonful of mixture ⅓ away from you. Take the corner wrap nearest you and wrap over mixture. Bring in the sides to form an envelope, and roll forward. Beat the second egg and dap on the end of the wrap to seal egg roll.
- Continue with 4-5 more rolls and fry in 2-3 inches of oil until golden brown.
- Continue to roll and fry in this order so egg rolls don’t go soggy before being fried.
- Lay on paper towels to drain off excel oil.
Serve with sweetened chili sauce. Or allow to cool and place in cookie box, lined with parchment, to give as a gift.