Egg rolls have always been my favorite appetizer. They’re such a great combination of savory and sweet. The salty eggroll dipped into sweet and sour sauce… mmm! I think any kind of eggroll is good but prefer a pork one for a deeper flavor. Chicken just isn’t usually a strong enough flavor to come through the soy sauce and ginger flavors of a good egg roll.
I’d listened to my Mom and sister, Linda, talk about making egg rolls or spring rolls a few years ago and thought I’d maybe get around to trying making them myself some day. When the day finally came, I had to do my typical internet search and check out a wide variety of recipes. Wow, there are indeed a lot of versions with each one having a very different blend of ingredients. I was almost overwhelmed from the start! But I chose a recipe and bravely made a pile of eggrolls and was mostly pleased with the result.
They look wonderful, do they not? Unfortunately, one small dislike made them less than perfect in taste as well. I used canned bean sprouts, an ingredient in one of the recipes I had viewed. They gave what would have been a great egg roll a strong, tin can-y kinda taste. They were edible, but disappointing. I wrapped them in plastic wrap by twos, then put two packets in each quart sized freezer bag and froze them all. I felt like it was a lot of work for a barely interesting outcome.
From that point I brooded and waited a few weeks while doing more research. Finally armed with a revised recipe, I made another batch of egg rolls. And ta da! They were awesome tasting! I wrapped and froze them as I had the first batch and was pleased. Until…. I finally thawed two egg rolls from the first batch. They were soggy when microwaved and it was almost impossible to pick the limp things up and dip them in sweet and sour sauce and get them to my mouth in once piece. Ugh. More revising needed, this time with the method! Now I had two batches of egg rolls that were still not my idea of worthwhile cookin’ and eatin’, all wrapped up in my freezer.
This time I researched “frozen egg rolls recipe” and realized the solution is simply not to fry them before freezing! Honestly, it was just that easy. The third batch was made at Christmas time for my Christmas Eve buffet and I went one step further and made them into mini egg rolls. I rolled the same ingredients into won ton wrappers, placed them on a sheet pan in the freezer, then when frozen placed them in gallon freezer bags, and was done with them for the time being.
When I took them out of the freezer right before serving, fried them in an inch of hot oil in a small kettle, and placed them on a serving tray, they shone! Crisp, delicious, and just that easy! The grandkids even totally loved them (and you know what critical fans kids can be!). And as a further thumbs up, my son-in-law who is another severe food critic said he liked them as well, and commented on how he liked the amount of ginger I’d used. (I’m a big fan of fresh ginger grated into recipes!)
So I’m now moving on with the satisfied feeling that I’ve conquered pork egg rolls, in large or small sizes, and found a quick and easy way to make them and later serve them! Just a note that I did still have all those large frozen egg rolls to thaw and eat, and found a way to make them more palatable eventually. I unwrap them, microwave them for a minute, turn, and microwave another minute.
Then I put them in a small nonstick frying pan already heated with a bare half inch of oil and crisp them up on one side, then turn to the other side. You could be a perfectionist and try to do four sides, but it’s not necessary. They are plenty firm and crisp and hold together in hand so you can dip and enjoy. We’re still working our way through them.
I use ground pork from the grocer in this recipe but have also used leftover pork chops or pork roast that I coarsely pulsed a few times in my food processor with good results. I’ve shredded my own cabbage and carrots but have also just used a pre-shredded cole slaw mix purchased by the bag in the grocery store. That usually already has carrots mixed in and is nice if you’re not in the mood to chop. (I’m looking at you, Linda.) I also sometimes buy a tube of ginger paste from the veggie section of the grocery store when I want to stretch the life of my ginger. Running to the store just for a new knob of fresh ginger in a midwest winter is silly.
Mini Pork Egg Rolls
1 tablespoon oil
1 lb ground pork
2 cup cabbage; shredded
5 green onions; sliced
2 carrots; grated
3 cloves garlic; minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger; grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce; or to taste
salt; to taste
black pepper; to taste
1 package won ton wrappers
1 egg; beaten
Fry the ground pork in oil. Add cabbage and carrots, frying just until limp. Add spices and soy sauce, stirring until mixed. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and spices to your liking.
Beat the egg with a fork and have ready in a small bowl.
Put about one tablespoon filling in center of won ton wrapper, fold the point nearest you over, fold in each side, brush remaining edges with egg mixture. Roll up to seal. Fry in hot oil until crisp and brown or freeze and fry when desired.
Later you can fry them a few at a time in hot oil straight from the freezer.