Egg rolls are often store-bought or ordered at Chinese restaurants, but making this crispy appetizer at home is easy! These vegetarian finger foods are filled with mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, and bean sprouts.
Egg rolls are hard to resist, especially when each bite has the perfect balance of crunchy texture and savory filling. When our family heads to our local Chinese restaurant, there’s the inevitable question of whether we want to start with an egg roll appetizer. With the Lunar New Year coming up, I wanted to create a homemade recipe to celebrate.
It’s fun and easy to make egg rolls at home, especially with family and friends to help fill and fry. This recipe uses a mixture of fresh vegetables like cabbage, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and green onions for a tasty vegetarian filling. There are a few tricks to make egg rolls extra crunchy that you won’t want to miss.
How to Make Egg Rolls
Egg rolls are a customizable appetizer that requires a few critical steps for crispy success.
- Organize: Make sure to cut and measure out all of your ingredients before you start cooking. This will make stir-frying the filling quick and seamless.
- Wrapper: For extra crispy egg rolls make sure to select paper-thin wrappers, often called “spring roll” wrappers. They can be found in the refrigerated or frozen section of Asian markets. Do not confuse them with the white colored Vietnamese rice paper wrapper. Most major grocery stores carry “egg roll” wrappers that are thick, heavy and flexible. However, they’ll yield a more chewy egg roll and take a few minutes longer to fry.
- Oil: When deep frying it’s essential to select the right oil for cooking. You want something that has a high smoke point like peanut oil or canola oil (around 450°F/232°C) because the egg rolls will be fried at 350°F/177°C.
When making the filling, stir-fry the vegetables and aromatics in a wok or saute pan until softened and tender. A little bit of sesame oil and soy sauce is used to season the vegetables.
The filling should be thoroughly cooked before added to the wrapper. I recommend spreading the vegetables on a sheet tray and chilling in the refrigerator.
Sometimes the vegetables will release additional moisture, so you can also slightly tilt the pan to gather any excess liquid as it cools. You don’t want the filling to be soggy or overly wet when adding into the hot oil.
Evenly add about 2 tablespoons of filling to the top corner of the wrapper. Make sure to tightly roll and tuck the egg rolls to ensure that they stay a cigar shape as they fry. You want to remove as much excess air and space as possible between the filling and wrapper. I used some egg whites to seal the sides and top of the wrapper, however, water or a cornstarch slurry can be used.
In between rolling make sure to cover the wrapper with a damp paper towel because they dry out quickly once opened. The wet paper towel will keep the wrappers pliable.
At this point, the egg rolls are ready to fry, or they can be frozen. If storing for later, make sure to freeze them in a single layer on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and then transfer to a resealable plastic bag or airtight container.
Use an instant-read thermometer to check that the oil reaches 350°F/177°C. Try to maintain this temperature throughout the frying process. If the oil gets too hot, the wrapper will brown and cook too quickly, and the egg rolls won’t be as crispy because there was not enough time for the water to be removed. Simply turn down the heat and wait for a few minutes until the temperature drops down again.
I like to work in small batches, two at a time because they cook in just a few minutes and I want to make sure they get an even fry. A stainless steel spider strainer comes in handy for moving the items, draining excess oil, and safely removing the egg rolls from the pot.
Are you ready to dip and devour the egg rolls? I like to serve them with a sweet and sour sauce to compliment the flavors of the savory filling. These appetizers disappear fast, so you may want to double to recipe to make sure everyone gets a few pieces. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
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How to Choose the Right Oil for Deep Frying
The goal of deep frying is to achieve a crisp and golden brown exterior while properly cooking the inside of the food. Choose an oil that has a neutral flavor and high smoke point, comfortably above the frying temperature. Because the temperature will hold for a longer duration, the frying oil must not break down quickly otherwise an unpleasing odor and taste will transfer to the food.
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