Chinese Egg Rolls
Traditional Chinese Egg Rolls with either ground Pork, Beef or Chicken. Deep Fried until Golden Crispy. With some to consume right away after they have rested and the remaining Egg Rolls frozen to reheat later.
These are a real treat too, love them with some Plum Sauce. Better than any store bought and most Chinese restaurants since Egg Rolls have changed now. You no longer find the ones with the sealed ends or filled with a raw meat mixture or Egg Wrappers for that matter. This recipe will take you back with traditionally filled and sealed Egg Rolls.
The Egg Roll Meat mixture is actually Gyoza Dumplings with added Cabbage, Black Pepper, Cornstarch and Egg Yolk.
Restaurant Egg Rolls
One of my first jobs was in a Chinese Restaurant. It was a well-known establishment for its food. There is where I learned how to make the “Egg Roll”. I got extremely fast at this and made it a game. Plus I got to keep any Egg Rolls that had opened up during deep frying as these were no good to serve.
The Egg Rolls are precooked and stacked in a bin to be refrigerated. When an order came up, he would deep fry the Egg Roll for like a minute. Just to brown and crisp it up to serve.
That’s how you get your Egg Roll so fast. They are deep fried for a minute or so to heat through and crisp. Out the kitchen it goes and you’re enjoying an Egg Roll Appetizer within a few minutes of sitting down while the main course is being prepared.
How are restaurant Egg Rolls made
This is how I learned to make them and while this recipe may have different ingredients, the technique is exactly the same.
Chinese restaurants do not cook the Cabbage or the Meat. The shredded Cabbage is salted and drained before it’s combined with raw seasoned meat. This is then passed through a Sausage Stuffer and sliced into into round cylinder sections like small sausages. Which are then stacked on top of each other and refrigerated until the Egg Rolls can be made.
Early in the day Cabbage is shredded and placed into a Garbage Can with holes in the bottom for drainage. You pour 1 box of Salt and mix it into the Cabbage. Tossing and turning and squeezing really well. You then place a lid on that fits inside the garbage can so that you can place weights on top to press the Cabbage. All the juices drain out the bottom into another garbage can holding the inner one. This is set aside for a few hours.
This is the trick to getting the right texture. You have to Salt and drain the Cabbage. No cooking it in a pan or Boiling it, just raw Salted Cabbage with the juices squeezed out. Just the same as you would for Sauerkraut.
Egg Roll Filling
After the Cabbage has had sufficient time to drain and has softened. It is mixed with raw seasoned Meat and other ingredients. Then passed through a Sausage Stuffer to create a cylinder shape. Cut into sections just big enough to fill the wrappers. You then stack these on trays like a pyramid and place them into the fridge.
Too many recipes I see cook the filling. You are not sealing in the Juices and you won’t get the same Texture as Restaurants. Chinese Egg Rolls or any Chinese Dumplings are always filled with a raw mixture. I really can’t think of one that is filled with a cooked mixture.
How much filling for Egg Rolls
The size of the Egg Roll filling are about 45 g for the small Wrappers and 60 g for the larger Wrappers. There is two different sizes. They were small enough to place inside the wrapper and big enough that when flattened out a bit the mixture spread out almost to the ends.
I remember flattening some out and strands of cabbage had spread out to the edge preventing a good end seal. You would remove the strand of cabbage and reseal.
It’s important to have adequate filling. Too small and you will create air pockets when they are deep fried. Which makes it harder for them to flip and stay flipped. Too much and the Seal will be weak and sometimes the Seals splitting open.
Egg Roll Seasoning
As far as the seasoning or ingredients used in the Restaurant for the Filling I am not quite sure. I know there was Cabbage in it and a lot of it. It had a good amount of Black Pepper, was well seasoned and most certainly contained MSG. Definitely Soy Sauce and it may of had shredded Carrots and Bean Sprouts.
For this recipe and pretty much all Egg Roll recipes the crucial ingredients is the Meat & Cabbage and their ratios along with Soy Sauce and for me Sake, that’s a must. MSG is pretty standard to include along with Green Onions, Garlic, Ginger and Black or White Pepper.
Other ingredients can be included. Such as Cornstarch to hold unto moisture or Gelatin to do the same. Even certain spices like Onion, Garlic, Ginger, White Pepper, Red Chili Flakes or Chinese 5 Spice can be added for flavor.
Egg Roll Assembly
You take an Egg white and mix it with cold Water for your sealer. Whisk until frothy. Layout a bunch of Wrappers. Brush all sides with the Egg Mixture. Fill each wrapper with the Filling. Then roll and flatten out with the seam on the bottom to spread the filling out. Press the ends on the counters edge to seal on the table edge. Repeat for each Egg Roll and stack them neatly back unto the baking sheet.
Cooking Egg Rolls
Deep Fry Egg Rolls at 330 F – 350 F for about 5-6 minutes. The heat is sufficient to brown and crisp up the skin as well as cooking the small amount of filling (45 g – 60 g) to an internal temperature of 165 F or higher. The internal temperature will continue to rise as the Egg Rolls are set aside to rest.
Egg Roll Filling Ratios
About 45 g – 60 g portions is ideal for Egg Rolls. The filling should be enough that it can spread out and not trap any air inside the Egg Roll. At the same time it must be small enough so you get a good seal on the bottom and both ends. It also needs to cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F.
The Meat to Cabbage Ratio should be 1 lbs. of Meat to 2 lbs. of Cabbage or there about. You need a good amount of Cabbage so that the filling is spread out and stays spread out when deep frying. I use to make these at 1 lbs. of Meat and 1 1/2 lbs. of total Cabbage. But I think I much prefer 2 lbs. of total Cabbage and it helps with keeping the filling spread out and loose as well.
Egg Roll Wrappers
There are two kinds of Wrappers. With 2 different sizes and they look very similar. For the Smaller ones (450 g), portion the Egg Roll Filling at 45 g. For the larger ones (454 g) at 60 g.
I find you get better cooking out of the small ones and they are able to handle the higher heat range of 350 F without browning too much. I believe these are the same size used in the Chinese Restaurant I worked at. They are also dryer than the larger ones. I prefer these ones as you can fit more into the Deep Fryer and they cook up nice golden color even in higher temperatures. They also don’t brown as fast when reheated from frozen.
The Larger ones tend to brown up a little bit faster and when reheated results in darker colored Egg Rolls. For this reason it’s better to deep fry these at a slightly lower temperature, about 330 F.
Egg Roll Ingredients
- Egg Roll Wrappers
- Napa Cabbage
- Ground Pork, Beef, or Chicken
- Soy Sauce
- Vegetables (Green Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Carrots, Bean Sprouts)
- Salt & Pepper
- Sesame Oil
- Egg (Yolk for the Meat Mixture and Egg White for the Egg Wash)
Egg Roll Wrappers
Pick up two packages of these Smaller Wrappers. The recipe will make about 24 or more 45g portions.
The remaining Wrappers can be frozen for Pizza Egg Rolls, Wontons or to use later for more Egg Rolls.
Thinly slice 1 lb. Cabbage by hand or through a food processor. Chop into Quarters and remove the Core. Trim off thick stem sections.
Thinly slice 1 lb. Napa Cabbage. Both the Cabbage & Napa Cabbage will get Salted with Kosher Salt to extract the liquids to discard.
Chop off the large thick stem section at the root and save these for Chop Suey or Stir Fry.
Use either 1 lb. of Pork, Beef or Chicken.
For me this is a Key Ingredient and is also used for Chinese Dumplings and other dishes.
Soy Sauce for Color, Moisture and a bit of Salt.
Garlic, Ginger, Green Onions, Carrots and Bean Sprouts that will be added later along with the squeezed Cabbage.
Along with Cornstarch to maintain Juiciness, Salt & Pepper for some seasoning and heat, Sesame Oil for flavor, and 1 Egg. The Yolk being used in the meat mixture and the Egg White for the Egg Wash.
A 1/2 tsp of Gelatin can be added to increase the juiciness of the Meat. Some Dumpling recipes include Gelatin. MSG can also be added to increase the Umami Flavors and is quite common in Chinese Egg Rolls. Other vegetables can be included such as Chives, Leeks and/or Onions.
How to make Egg Rolls
Get all of your ingredients together and prepare the Cabbage first. While that rests you can do everything else. The longer the Salted Cabbage is left to rest the more water can be extracted and the more it breaks down. Salting the Cabbage can also be done the night before. Just salt the Cabbage cover and refrigerate overnight.
Salt the Cabbage
Weigh out the amount of Cabbage and either slice thinly or run through a food processor to slice thin.
1 lb. of both sliced thin Napa Cabbage & thinly sliced Cabbage with 1 Tbl of Kosher Salt.
Toss and squeezed the Cabbage breaking it down and distribute the Salt throughout. Set aside so the Salt can extract the juices for at least 1 hour.
Egg Roll Meat Mixture
Combine all the ingredients for the Egg Roll Meat into a large bowl except the Cabbage & Bean Sprouts and mix well.
Include the Egg Yolk and set aside the Egg White for the Egg Wash. Refrigerate until the Cabbage is ready.
Egg Roll Filling Mixture
Add in the Bean Sprouts. Grab a handful of the Salted Cabbage and squeeze hard to extract all the juices out and then add the Cabbage to the bowl with the Meat to mix well. Discard the juices.
Make the Egg Rolls Fillings
Weigh out the Egg Roll Filling at 45 g for the Small Wrappers and 60 g for the Large Wrappers per portion and shape into a cylinder. Place them on a Baking Sheet.
Egg Roll Wrappers
Layout on a spacious counter all the Wrappers from 1 pack side by side and row by row. With all the edges touching for easier application of the Egg Wash.
Egg Wash Sealer
Combine the Egg White with 1 Tbl of Cold Water and whisk with a fork until foamy. Brush all edges with the Egg Wash.
Egg Wash Sealer
Place the filling into each wrapper.
Roll The Egg Roll
Roll the Egg Roll. Then place the seam on the bottom and press the Eggroll down to flatten it out a bit and spread the filling out. This minimizes on air pockets that might form while deep frying.
Seal the Ends
Seal the ends on the edge of the counter or cutting board by pressing down on the ends.
Rolled & Sealed Egg Roll
The finished Egg Roll should be flattened with the seam on either side and the ends pressed.
Stacked Egg Rolls
Stack the Egg Rolls back unto the Pan the Egg Roll Fillings were on in preparation of Deep Frying.
How to Cook Egg Rolls
While you are preparing the Egg Rolls, preheat the Deep Fryer to 330 F – 350 F. Drop however many in depending on the size of your deep fryer and fry for about 5-6 minutes. Flipping over halfway through or as needed. Lift the Baskets up and stand the Egg Rolls up to drain off any excess grease and transfer to another clean baking sheet with a rack to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
When Deep Frying the Egg Rolls they will sometimes favor one side because of trapped air. So you will either have to splash the top with hot oil or with a pair of tongs, grip the egg roll gently and submerge each one as needed for even browning if they won’t stay flipped over.
How to Freeze Egg Rolls
Place rested and cooled Egg Rolls on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen transfer into a Freezer bag or container and freeze.
How to reheat Egg Rolls
Egg Rolls can go straight from frozen to the oven at 350 F for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through to reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
To minimize on the browning you can Microwave frozen Egg Rolls for 1 minute. This should just heat the filling warm or you can defrost the Egg Roll. Then place into the oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes or so to Crisp up.
Reheated Egg Rolls
Baked from frozen at 350 F for 20 minutes. Flipped halfway through. Internal temperature over 165 F or higher.
Chinese Egg Rolls
- 1 Deep Fryer
- 2 Baking Sheets one for the Filling and the other for the cooked Egg Rolls
- 2 Mixing Bowls one for the Cabbage and the other for the Egg Roll Filling
- 1 Food Processor for the Cabbage and optionally the Carrot
- 1 Digital Scale
- 1 Small Bowl & Brush for the Egg Wash
- 1 pack Egg Roll Wrappers - Small 450 g – See notes
- 1 lb. Napa Cabbage - or 454 g / Sliced thin
- 1 lb. Cabbage - or 454 g / Sliced thin
- 1 Tbl Kosher Salt
Egg Roll Filling
- 1 lb. Pork, Beef or Chicken
- 3 Cloves Garlic - Minced
- 2 Large Green Onions - Rinsed and Sliced
- 1 Inch Ginger - Peeled and Minced
- 1 C Bean Sprouts - Rinsed and strained
- 1 Carrot - Peeled and Shredded
- 2 Tbl Soy Sauce & Sake - each
- 1 Tbl Cornstarch
- 2 tsp Sesame Oil
- 3/4 tsp Sea Salt & Black Pepper - each
- 1/4 tsp White Pepper
- 1 Egg Yolk - from the Egg used for the Egg Wash
- 1/2 tsp MSG - Optional
- 1 Egg White
- 1 Tbl Cold Water
- Chop the Cabbage into quarters and remove the Core. Weigh out 1 lb. or 454 g. This will be about 1/4 of a Cabbage. Chop the thick Stem section off the Napa Cabbage towards the root and weigh out 1 lbs. Slice Napa Cabbage & Green Cabbage into thin strips or run them through a Food Processor to slice thin. Add the Cabbage & Napa Cabbage to a Bowl and Salt with 1 Tbl Kosher Salt. Mix and squeeze the Salt into the Cabbage mixture. Let sit for at least 1 hour.
- Prepare the Egg Roll Filling by combining everything into another bowl. Add 1 Egg Yolk and reserve the Egg White to place into a small bowl with 1 Tbl of Cold Water for the Egg Wash. Mix the meat mixture well and refrigerate until the Cabbage is ready.
- Squeeze out really well the juice from the Salted Cabbage and add to the Pork Meat mixture to mix well. Discard the juices. Weigh out 45 g portions and shape into a cylinder. Lay them down on a baking sheet. Once you have them all portioned and shaped, set aside while you heat up the deep fryer to 340 F – 350 F and prepare the Wrappers.
- On a counter with lots of space, lay out each Wrapper in rows and with all edges in contact so that you are able to apply the egg wash to 2 egg roll wrappers at the same time all the way around.
- Brush Wrappers with Egg wash (1 Egg White & 1 Tbl Water, mixed until frothy) on all sides. Fill all of the Wrappers with the Filling. Roll each one and gently flatten the Egg Roll out by pressing down on it to spread the filling out with the seam facing down. Then seal both ends with the palm of your hand on the counter edge. Repeat for each Egg Roll and place them all back on the baking sheet. You may need a few extra wrappers. For this reason I always pick up 2 Packs just in case.
- Deep fry for 5-6 minutes, Flipping over halfway. For Egg Rolls that won't stay flipped over you will have to splash with hot oil or submerge them for a bit with Tongs to get pretty even browning. Lift the basket up and stand the Egg Rolls up to drain off any excess grease or if cooking these in a wok, remove and place on a wired rack. Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving with some Plum Sauce.
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