I thought I might call this an easy egg roll recipe after the last time I made it and finished making all the changes I thought the recipe might need.
As I was testing my final recipe today I realized that easy might be an oversimplification. Perhaps easy as far as eggrolls go, or easier than my other recipe, but egg rolls are a labor of love. Thus, Easier Egg Roll.
These really are easy, just time consuming and you might find random pieces of cabbage in kitchen corners when you are done. I just clean off every flat surface in the kitchen and then run the vacuum on the floor.
Now I remember why I always make them in such large quantity. Listen, the freezer is your friend with this recipe. When frozen individually before bagging them together, you can cook up as many or as few at a time as you want. This also serves as deterrent to eating too many at once.
Remember to keep them covered with a plastic wrap until they are frozen or they will dry out and you will have a mess when they are cooked.
They are perfect hiding in the freezer when you are looking for a simple, no time to cook dinner. In my house, these get served up as an accompaniment to chicken chow mein, fried rice, or a baked chicken breast.
I know, egg rolls are supposed to be an appetizer, but sometimes we eat them as the main dish. On those nights I serve a bowl of jasmine rice along with some zucchini and onions stir fried in oil, dark soy sauce, and garlic. We like to use the apricot sweet and sour sauce on our rice.
You can substitute char siu (BBQ pork) if you make it at home or even if you are lucky enough to have a Chinese restaurant in your area that still offers it in the menu. We have exactly one in ym area that we can find. It used to be conveniently located by my house, and then we moved to the other side of town.
I don’t have a recipe for char siu yet that I like, so I will continue to use the ground pork char siu powdered combination until I do. It makes for a fine substitute. If you do not like the char siu flavoring, by all means use straight ground pork, or left over pork cut into slivers. Plain old cooked pork is what I used for years in my old egg roll recipe.
If you have a peanut allergy, be warned, this one contains peanut butter. Chicago Chinatown influenced my Chinese food preferences early on and many Chicago area Chinese restaurants use peanut butter in their egg rolls. The addition of peanut butter is the only way I have ever been able to recreate a flavor anywhere near close to the same.
These will not cook up as dark as the thicker egg roll wrappers found in a refrigerated section at most grocery stores.
I have made these with and without the mushrooms. I prefer the taste with the mushrooms, but prefer the texture without them. These photos are without mushrooms.
If using dried shiitake mushrooms rehydrate them now by placing in a bowl of water and allowing to soak until plump.
Add ground pork to a skillet and turn heat to medium high. When pork begins to sizzle, add char sui packet and mix well. Continue to cook until pork is cook through and begins to release some of the fat. Add shiitake mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes. Set mixture aside to cool.
Once pork and mushrooms are cool enough to handle, break up any large pieces.
Place peanut butter and peanut oil into a small saucepan and heat over low heat until thin and combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Blanch cabbage in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, once it turns a brighter green remove from water and place in a colander and rinse with very cold water, or place into an ice bath.
Drain water from cabbage and place into a kitchen towel and wring cabbage dry.
Combine pork and mushrooms with cabbage, bean sprouts, green onions, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots.
Add sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper.
Add cooled peanut butter and peanut oil, mix until everything is evenly distributed. Taste, add more salt if necessary. Depending on the saltiness of your peanut butter, you may not need any more or you may need another 2 teaspoons. Remember, once you add salt you can’t take it out!
Fill each wrapper according to package directions.
Freeze any eggrolls you do not plan on eating the day of preparation in a single layer, not touching each other. Once they are frozen solid they can be placed into another container, or a freezer bag, until ready to use.
To fry, place oil no higher than ½ full in saucepan, wok, or deep fryer and heat over medium high heat until the end of a chopstick starts to bubble. Alternately you can use the end of a wooden spoon.
When the oil is ready, carefully place egg rolls into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, ideally they should not be touching.
Flip them over a few times, you may find that they will not stay rolled over. If this happens, just use a kitchen spider or other utensil that will not melt in hot oil and weigh the egg rolls over. Remove them as soon as they are to your desired color.
Remove briefly to paper towels to drain, do not allow the egg rolls to touch as they cool or the sides touching will become soggy.
If you are using frozen spring roll skins, these will not get as dark or golden as the ones from the produce section in a grocery store.
If you begin to see filling leaking out or hear bubbling as loud as you did when you first dropped the egg rolls into the oil, remove them.
Serve with sweet and sour sauce.
Mix nectar, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Set over medium high heat and cook until sugar melts. Rock and lump sugar will take up to 20 minutes before completely dissolving.
Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.
Bring to a boil, add cornstarch mixed with water. Cook just until mixture comes back to original color. Set aside to cool.
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