I’ve been making little egg rolls for years now and I’ve never been disappointed. I’ve switched up the ingredients and the proportions many times. Some things work better than others of course; I’ve made them too garlicky or too peppery before but still… they’re always delicious. Of course the ones I make are not traditional and don’t even involve egg — just a familiar name for a familiar concept, bite sized fried-up goodness in a hand-rolled form.
Here is a recipe to get you started on making your own.
This recipe is for about 40-50 mini egg rolls:
(sounds like a lot but they go quick!)
1 pack of wanton wrappers, usually 60 sheets
2-3 cups red cabbage (1/2 small head)
3/4 cups shredded carrots (2-4 medium carrots)
1/2 cup mushrooms chopped
1 large clove of garlic minced (Roasted if you want to tone it down)
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (heaping)
1/2 block tofu (1 1/4 cup crumbled)
1 tablespoon soy sauce & 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
splash of olive oil & sesame oil
vegetable oil for frying
Be sure to allow enough time before you get started for your wanton wrappers to thaw if necessary. Press tofu to drain as much excess moisture as possible. You can pat it dry with some paper towels and set it under a plate while you prepare the other ingredients.
Finely chop cabbage and shred carrots. Cut mushrooms into small bits. Finely mince ginger and garlic, keep separate from other vegetables.
In another bowl, crumble the tofu. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce & 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Stir.
In a wok or frying pan heat up a splash of olive oil and a drizzle of sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger, sauté over medium heat for a moment until garlic is fully cooked. Add cabbage, mushrooms, and carrots and cook for about 1 minute. This is a really quick fry, you don’t need to cook it much at all in order to preserve a bit of crunch in the filling. Add the tofu mixture, stir up and add kosher salt to taste. Remove from heat and transfer in to a bowl. The filling is complete, you should have 4-5 cups worth.
Get ready to fill the wanton wraps. Create a work area fully equipped with a rolling surface, a bowl of water for sealing, and a landing zone for the egg rolls ready to be fried.
Put one wanton skin on your work surface. Place one tablespoon of filling in the middle. Doesn’t seem like a lot of filling but it’s enough. If you start off packing it with too much it will be very difficult to roll. Once you roll a few you will get a feel for how much filling works best for you, there will be plenty of chances to practice. As you are working through the filling towards the bottom of the bowl you may have extra moisture, try to work around it rather than include it in your rolls. If moisture escapes while frying you may have some spitting oil. Ouch.
Begin rolling by folding one corner of the wanton over the filling. Dip your finger in water and lightly wet the next corner to be folded towards the center. The water will help seal it closed. As you fold the side over be sure to tuck and close any openings on that side. Repeat this step for the other side.
Complete the mini roll by wetting the last edge and folding it over. It’ll look like a cute little package. It might be a little sloppy at first but it won’t take long to get the hang of it. If you happen to rip a wanton or two don’t fret, you’ll have a few left over anyway. Put completed rolls on to a plate, be sure to stack them in such a way that they don’t stick together — give them a chance to dry for a moment before you pile them on top of each other.
Once the all the filling is depleted and rolled into mini egg rolls it’s time to fry! Deep fry! We use a small sauce pot filled with about an inch and a half of vegetable or canola oil and a wire basket utensil to remove them from the oil. Use a utensil that will allow the oil to drain directly over the pot and off of the roll. I like to use a small pot in order to use less oil and also because we can only fit a couple in the oil at a time, which means it’s easier to handle 2-3 frying egg rolls rather than having the option of dealing with many more at once. Seems safer for a makeshift home deep frying set up, they cook rather quickly once the oil is hot and you don’t want to have too much to deal with at one time. Prepare a landing zone for the freshly fried egg rolls. I usually use a baking sheet lined with Viva paper towels, a plate with a few paper towels works too.
When you’re ready to fry, check if the oil is hot enough by tossing in a small piece of wanton. It should quickly fry up and float to the top. If it sinks or takes awhile to fry continue to heat the oil and test again. Once the oil is ready lower one mini egg roll to start, it’ll float to the top with a beautiful crisp golden color. Transfer onto the baking sheet and carry on. Once you are confident with the cooking time you can decide to fry a few at a time. Best to start slow if you haven’t done this before so there aren’t any accidents. Hot oil is not something worth rushing around.
Be careful and enjoy as is or dip in some sweet & sour, soy, or plum sauce.