I’ll admit it, about the only thing I’m good at frying is chicken fried steak. I’m terrified of buying a fry daddy because I know what would follow- and it ends with ‘besity’.
Unfortunately, I also have been trying to make egg-rolls. Trying might be too strong a word. Abysmally failing would be closer. Bland, greasy, uninspired blobs of meat and dough were all I accomplished over the past year. Until; sensing my desperation (and no longer wanting to sample my experiments) my wife mentioned my predicament to a co-worker who provided me with a great recipe, the mung beans, and the vermicelli (which is AWESOME stuff).
This is a vegetarian egg-roll, but one could easily add ground pork, chicken, or turkey with some teriyaki seasoning. Just cook the meat and drain well.
The night before, take about a cup of mung beans and place in a bowl with water just to the top of the beans. Let soak overnight. These guys have a great meaty texture and cook really quickly
during the frying. They also give you a bit of a bean sprout flavor and brighten the taste of the egg-roll.
I happen to have purchased a mandolin a couple of years back (the cutting device, not the stringed instrument) which is perfect for these types of recipes. The food processor will juice the veggies, whereas the mandolin; or a sharp knife, will keep from damaging too many cell walls, which results in soggy rolls.
Julienne two to three carrots, and thinly slice half of a head of cabbage- one about the size of a softball will do. Mix with the mung beans. Add 1/4 cup of minced onions which you’ve patted dry with a paper towel, or, do the unmentionable and use 2 tablespoons of minced onion flakes (which I did).
Add two teaspoons of powdered ginger (fresh grated if you’ve got it will be sharper) and then pepper to taste, I used about a tablespoon of fresh ground McCormick ‘Peppercorn Medly’ which is green, red, and black peppercorns with coriander and allspice. The allspice really works with this mix.
Finally, take one bundle of vermicelli and dip it in water, just enough to moisten it and let it sit
for about 10 minutes. This will make it flexible enough to cut. Cut into 2-3 inch long noodles and mix into your veggies. Why starchy noodles you may ask? Ancient recipe secret, I’ve been informed. The noodles absorb water during the cooking process and that keeps your egg-rolls from being soggy! The kicker? It WORKS! Even with all that cabbage and carrot these were moist without being gooey.
I also pan fried some extra firm tofu which I rubbed in teriyaki sauce before frying. Slice into 1/4 inch thick rectangles, fry in just enough oil to keep the tofu from sticking, then dice into strips for placing in the egg rolls. I placed four of these strips in each roll.
Place a good pinch of vegetable mixture on top of the tofu strips, roll your wonton/egg-roll wrapper TIGHTLY, and use damp fingers to glue the last flap down. This is exactly like making mini burritos, tuck in the ends and glue the last corner with water. Fry in 350 degree oil until golden brown. Cool and drain on a rack over paper towels. If you can, get the wrappers from an asian market. The ones sold in regular grocery stores are a bit thick and can be chewy.
To serve, make up some ‘redneck hoisin sauce’. I mix equal parts mustard, ketchup, and teiryaki sauce in a bowl and serve. It’s sweet, tangy, and just a little spicy. I like it better than duck sauce, especially if I use a horseradish mustard.
These are a great relatively low calorie egg roll that even the kids liked. This will make about twenty rolls. Take the leftover veggies, toss with a vinegarette and throw in some mandarin orange slices and you’ve got a great asian salad.
Post by TJ Gilmore, co-contributor on Screwed Up Texan Recipes.