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Egg rolls are my downfall in life.  They are like potato chips, I can’t eat just one.  Growing up an hours drive from Chicago we grew up eating at Chiam’s in Chinatown.  It is no longer in business which meant no more egg rolls from Chiam’s.  Eventually we started going to Rising Sun in Mokena, it was closer and we could do carry out orders.

But when we moved to Florida we were in for a rude awakening.  Chinese food was all the same at all locations (and it wasn’t delicious).  It is a phenomenon that has plagued us since.  The need for a good egg roll that reminded us of Chiam’s or even Rising Sun was nowhere to be found, so the experimenting started.

You may not like these, and it won’t hurt my feelings.  Egg roll preferences are a very personal thing.  Most people like the ones made in their area of the country and some like the generic version you get at most Chinese restaurant today that taste the same at all locations.

We actually have 2 versions in our family now.  Mine, the one that feed a small army (OK, maybe a mid-sized army) and the quicker weeknight version Ron and Sam created in their kitchen.

I also make a homemade sweet and sour dipping sauce.  This remind us of the light orange colored sauce served in the area we grew up in.  Again, this one you may or may not like.  Andy despises any sweet and sour sauce with ketchup in it so I make this sauce as it’s his favorite.  No bottled stuff here, but if you have one you like, I won’t judge you for using it.  If Andy would eat it, trust me I would be using it too.

This recipe does make a ton of egg rolls, but they freeze well, after cooking. I reheat them in a 400° oven, turning often, until skins are re-crisped.

4-5 pound pork roast, whatever is on sale – ground pork can be substituted
1 head Napa Cabbage, thinly shredded
1 Head Savoy Cabbage, or regular cabbage, thinly shredded
3 bunches Green Onions, thinly sliced
3 or 4 packages Fresh Bean Sprouts
2 cans Water Chestnuts, finely chopped
2 can Bamboo Shoots, finely chopped
Soy Sauce
Lemon Pepper
Garlic Powder
½ to 1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
Light Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil for sautéing vegetables
90 to 100 egg roll wrappers
Peanut Oil for Deep Frying
Sweet and Sour Sauce
2 cups Peach Preserves
2 Cups Apricot Preserves
1 cup Corn Syrup (I know, it’s evil)
1 Cup White Vinegar
¼ Cup Corn Starch
1 Tablespoon and 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon and 1 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 cup Water

Cut pork roast into 2 inch pieces and put as many as will fit into a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Skip this step if using ground pork. Set aside.

Vegetables can be chopped in a food processor, just be careful not to chop too finely. You will want to be able to identify what it is in the final product.

Put the pork pieces in a large skillet, lightly dust the pork with garlic powder and lemon pepper. Add a splash of soy sauce. Cook over medium high heat until fully cooked. Pour into a strainer and leave it there to drain and cool. In the same skillet add enough cooking oil to lightly cover the bottom of the skillet. Add the green onions, a sprinkling of garlic powder, lemon pepper. Dump this into the strainer with the pork. Repeat the process with the cabbages.

When the cooked ingredients are cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and add to a container large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots. Mix until well combined.

Heat peanut butter in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Pour ½ of a cup into the filling mixture and mix well. Taste and add additional soy sauce, lemon pepper, and/or peanut butter to taste.

Fill wrappers with filling and deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Combine everything except the water in a food processor or blender and process until no large lumps of fruit remain.

Pour Mixture in a large saucepot and add the water, stirring to incorporate. Bring it to t boils and for at least 5 minutes or until thickened, stir frequently. (I usually let mine simmer until it turns darker, another 20 minutes.)

Can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.

Other finger food ideas:

Beer Boiled Shrimp

Tomato Bread

Tomato Mozzarella Bruschetta


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