There used to be a fabulous Chinese restaurant in Mansfield called Bethel’s. It was house in an old Long John Silver’s (I think) and the whole building had been painted pepto bismal pink. It’s still there on Lexington Avenue, but it’s closed. Of all the Asian eateries that I have been to, they had the best eggrolls, hands down. I say this because I am an egg roll freak! I love them… particularily when they are vegetarian. There’s something about biting into one and finding a tiny little shrimp. I don’t like it. Egg rolls are very simple to make, and the fillings are very forgiving. Like I said, I like mine vegetarian, but you could always add diced pork, mini shrimp, beef or chicken to yours.
- 3 parts cabbage, shredded
- 1 part carrot, shredded
- 1 part onion, thinly sliced
- 2 parts bean sprouts, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- neutral oil (like canola)
- salt and pepper
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- melted butter (if baking)
Once all the veggies have been shredded, heat a large skillet to about a medium temperature and cover the bottom with oil. (I once did this with ghee, but the flavor was off. You need to use a neutral oil in my opinion.) Add in the cabbage and allow it to cook on its own for a while. The bulk of the cabbage can be a bit bit overwhelming at first, so let it cook down before adding in the rest of the veg and garlic. Stir it fairly often so the bottom doesn’t get too brown. Instead of adding more oil, I often use a vegetable stock or water to keep things from burning. Once everything is tender, add your salt and pepper and taste to make sure it’s what you want. Depending on what kind of a sauce you plan to serve with your egg rolls, you will want to season the filling accordingly.
Now comes the fun part. Allow the filling to cool a bit before you start working with the wrappers so you don’t burn your fingers. I tend to use the Nasoya brand of wrappers, but I also have some from a specialty store in my freezer that are much larger, but the same basic thing. Choose a clean surface and lay one wrapper out in front of you so that it looks more like a diamond and not a square. Place a large scoop of your filling on the upper third of the wrapper and fold the top over. Then, fold the right and left sides in, bunching all three corners under the filling. Roll the whole wrap over so that it’s a neat little package and then seal the corner with a dab of water. Set aside and finish filling the others. This recipe will fill an entire package of wraps depending on the size of your cabbage. If you have too much filling, freeze it!
There are 2 methods of cooking for you to choose from. You can either brush the tops of your egg rolls with melted butter (so they brown and crisp up) and bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or you can fry them. I have a deep fryer that I use when I’m feeling brave and we turn the heat all the way up to 375 so the oil is good and hot, then we put in a few egg rolls at a time and fry until golden brown. Either method turns out wonderful eggs rolls, but I tend to bake them more often than not. It should also be noted that once they are cooled, they can be frozen for up to 6 months. I just run them through the microwave for about 2 minutes and they are just a wonderful snack!