TIP OF THE DAY: Make Really Good Chinese Egg Rolls At Home
 Egg rolls with BBQ pork and sweet and hot chili dipping sauce. They’re baked, not fried. (Here’s the recipe (photo © Pork Be Inspired | National Pork Board).
For the Chinese New Year, why not make your own egg rolls? Serve them as an appetizer, or as a snack with a cold beer.
Like Chinese chicken salad, crab wontons, duck sauce, fortune cookies, General Tso’s chicken, and sweet and sour pork—not to mention the pu pu platter—the egg roll is a Chinese-American invention. Food historians believe it was first created in New York City in the early 1930s.
But over time, what was initially a richly layered roll with a mix of bamboo shoots, roast pork, scallions, shrimp, and water chestnuts evolved into a bland cabbage roll—a stuffing of shredded cabbage, flecked with bits of pork and carrot [source].
If you’d like to go back to the golden age of egg rolls, make your own! If you don’t like to deep fat fry, you can bake them.
This recipe came to us via Melissas.com, from Chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook.
See the difference between egg rolls and spring rolls, below.
Ingredients For 12 Pieces
Don’t forget the condiments: hot mustard, jalapeño pepper jelly, plum sauce, ponzu sauce, sweet and sour sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce (sweet and hot) or just plain soy sauce. We like to serve two different options: Colman’s prepared mustard (a better version of “Chinese mustard”) and Thai sweet chili sauce (you can buy it or make your own).
You can add just about anything to an egg roll, as long as it’s finely chopped and well-drained (don’t add moisture).
Check out this recipe, featured in the Merced [California] Sun Star, which includes classic ingredients plus peanut butter and cinnamon. The creator, Fanny Go, was born and raised in Southern China (where there are no egg rolls) and now lives in Chicago.
In addition to her basic recipe, she suggests these optional extras which you can incorporate into Chef Yan’s recipe:
Back to Chef Yan’s recipe:
1. HEAT a wok or stir-fry pan over high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides of the pan. Add the pork, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry until meat is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain the excess oil.
2. COMBINE the pork, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes.
3. COMBINE the cabbage, carrot, and green onions in a large bowl. Add the meat mixture; toss well and let it cool slightly.
4. FILL the rolls: Place a wrapper on a clean flat surface in front of you so that it looks like a diamond. Place 3 tablespoons of filling in the center. Fold the bottom point up over the filling and roll once. Fold in the right and left points. Brush the beaten egg on the top point. Continue rolling until you have a tight cylinder. Place the filled rolls on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth while filling the remaining rolls.
5. FRY: Heat 2-3 inches of cooking oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or wok, to 350°F. Add the egg rolls, a few at a time, and fry until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Serve with sweet and sour sauce, plum sauce, hot mustard, or jalapeño pepper jelly.
Recipe copyright Yan Can Cook, Inc., 2014
It can be very confusing, but we’ve done our best here to explain the differences.
While some countries, including China, serve fried egg rolls and spring rolls, the terms are not synonymous. An egg roll has a heavier pastry wrapper of wheat dough that contains eggs—hence the name. The cooked roll can be sliced into sections. Spring roll wrappers are made without eggs. A fried spring roll is very fragile and can shatter like phyllo.
 Chef Martin Yan’s egg rolls, served with sweet and sour sauce (photo © Melissa’s | Yan Can Cook).