Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Crispy Homemade Eggrolls

Sometimes life just throws you a season where blogging about all things delicious, natural and frugal just doesn't jive with reality. I know I have been away for a few months, but I hope you'll forgive me and come back to reading this here little old blog. I've missed doing this and chronicling my life in a way that allows me the catharsis of writing, as well as the fun of sharing all of the fun things I have had a chance to create and learn. So, for better or worse, I am back, and I hope you'll continue on this journey with me.

The past two days have been dreary here in Utah, but man, they were spectacular. Low 70s, clouds and some humidity-the kind where a cool, slightly damp breeze sweeps over your skin, just kissing it with a little moisture. When you're raised on the east coast and migrate to the mountain west, you generally love the no humidity thing, but every once in a while, it brings back a slight nostalgia for sticky, damp summers and frizzy hair. Today was one of those days for me. I wanted to sit next to my mom and snuggle with her on the couch while she played with my hair and we watched The Waltons together. All of this nostalgia and yearning for a day gone by got me to thinking about memories of the past few years-and all of a sudden, I remembered the first time I ever had a truly delicious eggroll. 

I hated eggrolls until I was about 25. Seriously. They always had slimy, limp cabbage in them, and stunk of old socks. I always refused them on the rare Chinese food nights we had, and dreaded the stench that would waft out of the foil-lined bag as soon as my dad opened it. Ugh. Shudder. Then, my beautiful, sweet roommate, Stephanie, who has the most perfect, creamy, freckled skin and fiery red hair that you will ever see, convinced me to try her homemade eggrolls. How can you resist the wiles of someone with perfectly freckled skin and blazing red hair? The moment I bit into the hot shell packed with spicy sausage, crisp carrot and cabbage, and delicious seasonings, I was a convert. This recipe pays homage to Stephanie's, while still taking some liberties with seasoning and flavors. Thanks, you lovely girl, for making my life a little more complete.

These crispy eggrolls are packed with seasoned-to-taste sausage, fresh carrot and cabbage, fresh ginger and garlic and a delicious sesame-soy sauce. They can be fried or baked. Clearly, the rainy day necessitated the frying of our eggrolls. But they are awesome baked as well. Get ready for your taste-buds to sing!

Start by pulling the following items out of your pantry.

You will need some crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, soy sauce (or Liquid Amino's would work here too), toasted sesame oil (bite the bullet and spend the $8-$10 for this, it will make a huge difference in any Asian-inspired dish you make), salt and pepper. You can also pull out cornstarch if you have it. I was out, so I omitted this today. You'll also need vegetable oil and one egg. I am a spazz and forgot to grab a shot of those.

You will also need a one pound package of plain, country-style sausage. I have made this with the Jimmy Dean hot sausage, but I really prefer to season my own, and to buy something freshly-made and as natural as possible. If you live in Utah, Harmon's meats are fantastic!

You also need a package of eggroll wraps (mine were the Nasoya brand), sold in the produce area of the grocery store. This recipe yields 12-15 eggrolls, depending on how full you make them, so you want to have a full package to work with. I'll share some more recipes down the road for amazing foods that can be wrapped in eggrolls! 

You'll also need 3 large carrots and a half-head of green cabbage. I just pull it all out in advance to save some time.

Oh, and yes, you will need some fresh ginger root and 3 cloves of fresh garlic.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the full package of sausage to the pan, along with 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne (increase or decrease depending on how spicy you like it), 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon of table salt) and 8 turns of freshly ground black pepper. Cook the sausage until it is cooked through, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain any grease from the pan when it is done cooking. Set it aside.

Oh look, this cute baby showed up in my kitchen, just as the sausage hit the pan. She was a huge help as she spent 15 minutes trolling the floor for accidentally dropped food and generally being underfoot. Silly dogs. 

Peel three carrots. Using the large side of a cheese grater, shred the carrots into a large mixing bowl.

Chop a head of green cabbage in half. Discard any bruised leaves. You only need half, so set the rest aside.

Chop up the cabbage by slicing it and then coarsely chopping the slices.

Add the chopped cabbage to the large bowl and toss with the carrot to combine.

Peel a chunk of the ginger using a vegetable peeler. You will need about two tablespoons of ginger, grated.

Use the small side of a grater to grate the ginger into the bowl. Be sure to scrape all of the ginger off the grater. You'll need about two tablespoons grated. Peel three cloves of garlic and repeat the same process of grating it into the bowl.

Add the cooked sausage to the bowl. Mix it to combine.

Add a 1/2 cup of soy sauce to the bowl, along with 1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil (a little goes a long way) and a tablespoon of cornstarch (optional-it helps to bind the ingredients together). Mix well to combine and coat everything evenly.

Create a little assembly station. You'll need the bowl of filling, your eggroll wraps, a small bowl with one egg, beaten, a large spoon, and a rimmed cookie sheet. 

Lay out one of the wraps on the counter. Place a large spoonful of filling toward one side of the wrap (turned to lay like a diamond). Wrap the lower point over the filling, tucking it in snugly. Fold the ends in like an envelope, and then continue rolling  until about 1 inch of the wrap remains. Using your finger, paint a bit of the beaten egg on the top point of the wrap. Roll the wrap the rest of the way and press to seal the wrap with the egg. They don't have to be perfect, but roll them as tightly and securely as possible to prevent fall-out of the filling.

Place the completed eggrolls on a large rimmed baking sheet. Continue wrapping them until all of the filling is gone.

Set the eggrolls aside for a moment. Heat about a half inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet until it bubbles and shimmers (see recipe below for baking instructions as an alternative to frying).

When the oil is hot, add 4-5 eggrolls to the pan, using a pair of tongs. Let them cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown and bubbly. Flip them over, and allow the other side to cook for 1-2 minutes. 

Aren't they lovely? Yummmmmmmmmm. Remove the eggrolls from the pan and place them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels to allow them to drain. Add the next batch, and cook until all of the eggrolls are crispy and delicious.

Serve these as an appetizer or entree. We ate ours with a crisp spinach salad. 2-3 eggrolls are plenty for each person. They keep well in the fridge, and to perk them up, heat an oven to 350 degrees and reheat on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, until hot and crispy. 

 Crispy Homemade Eggrolls


-1 pound of ground country style sausage
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
-8 turns freshly ground black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
-1/2 head of green cabbage, roughly chopped
-3 large carrots, peeled and shredded/grated
-2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
-3 cloves freshly grated garlic
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
-1 tablespoon cornstarch
-1 package of eggroll wrappers
-1 egg, beaten
-Vegetable Oil

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage, cayenne, crushed red pepper, salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix. Cook until browned through. Drain grease and set aside.
2. Peel three large carrots and grate through large side of a cheese grater. Place in large mixing bowl. Roughly chop a half-head of green cabbage. Add to bowl and mix with carrot. Peel small chunk of fresh ginger. Grate two tablespoons into bowl with small side of grater. Peel three cloves of garlic and grate into bowl. Mix all ingredients together well.
3. Add the cooked sausage to the bowl and mix. Add soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and cornstarch. Mix well to combine. Beat egg in small bowl.
4. Assemble eggrolls. Lay eggroll wrapper like a diamond on the counter. Place one spoonful of filling onto the wrapper, tucking bottom point over the filling snugly and pulling in the ends. Roll until an inch of the wrapper remains, and using finger, paint a bit of beaten egg onto the eggroll wrap. Continue rolling tightly to seal with the egg. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rolls and filling until it is all gone.
5. Heat a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add 4-5 eggrolls. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown, turning once. Remove from pan and drain on paper-towel lined baking sheet. Repeat until all rolls are cooked.
6. Serve rolls hot, with fresh veggies or a salad.

Reheat in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes until hot and crispy.

*Baking Instructions

After eggrolls have been assembled, spray each one lightly with vegetable cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 12-15 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Serve hot.

1 comment:

  1. I love these kind of egg rolls. I have also tried egg rolls with a different twist... Cut the egg roll wraps at a diagonal to make triangles, the filling is cooked and shredded chicken with cookies hot sauce mixed in, some broccoli slaw and pepper jack cheese.
    I roll them up just like your egg rolls and either bake them at 400 for 20-25 min or fry those bad boys up. They are perfect for football weekends or just fun food for the family. even my kiddos love them!
    PS i'm going to try your egg rolls soon. looks good!!!