I don’t say this bragging; I say it because it’s true. And no, I’m not conceited but I’ve had more people than I care to count tell me, and my family, that they don’t normally like egg rolls but they like these. What’s so different or unique about these that nay-sayers try them and like them? I don’t have a clue but it’s remarkable. You’ll have to try them, regardless of whether you, or somebody else makes them using this recipe. You won’t regret it. And what have I told you before? Trust me.
There’s personal history to this recipe and it all started with a flat tire. Seriously. Warm up your coffee and I’ll tell you about it. Several years ago, Randy, a member of the congregation (also a member of the Missions Ministry), was traveling on I55 when he stopped to help a guy with a flat tire. Lazarus was from Myanmar and spoke very broken English. As the two guys worked to get the car drivable again, they began to get acquainted. Lazarus was here in the states with his family attending Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, IL, just a few miles from the church. As they talked, Randy told him that the church was looking for a missionary to sponsor, and from there was formed a wonderful bond between Lazarus Fish and the Elkhart Christian Church family. No, the guys didn’t exchange recipes right there – hold on I’m almost finished. One Sunday the church had a potluck that Ocha, his wife, brought a cookie sheet stacked high with egg rolls. Before the meal was over, every last egg roll was gone. During the course of Lazarus’ training, he was required to attend a class for three months in Kentucky. It wasn’t feasible for the whole family to go so Ocha and the kids stayed in Lincoln. While he was gone, the ladies of the church tried to come up with some social activities for them to help time pass a little more quickly. Since Ocha spoke only a few words of English, our choices were really limited. We finally came up with the idea to ask her to teach us to make her egg rolls. To get the recipe, we watched and wrote feverishly, getting measurements and instructions as the process unfolded. Even though Ocha didn’t speak but a few words of English, when it comes to cooking and sharing food, there are no communication barriers. It’s a special form of communication – one that requires no words, just the act of sharing. A special bond was formed that night between Ocha and the ladies of Elkhart Christian Church, all because a guy’s tire went flat. The Lord works in mysterious ways!
I want to preface this recipe by saying the instructions look far more daunting than they actually are. Believe it or not, these instructions are shorter than War and Peace. Don’t feel overwhelmed or ill-equipped to do this. You can do it!! There are actually only 3 steps; making the filling, the rolling, the frying and eating. Well, okay, 4 steps. This is a great get-together recipe to make with friends. Everybody can have a job – or not – and reap the benefits from the labor of several or a few. This recipe can make roughly 60 egg rolls; it depends on how fat or skinny you fill them. We make both fat ones (for the veteran egg roll lovers) and skinny ones (for the skeptics and newcomers of the egg roll world). Certainly you could cut the recipe in half with not much trouble, however, most packages of wrappers come in quantities of 20. We make these quite frequently to be honest. We’ve made them for our family Christmas Eve get-togethers for years, my hubby gets requests for them periodically from the guys at work and sometimes we make them for our family and give the rest away. These can be the whole meal or you can serve them with an entree – we do both. I made just the filling by myself when I did the pictures for this posting. We like to make the filling the day before – if time allows – so the flavors have time to marry (and enjoy their honeymoon) before we roll and fry them. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to do that – it’s not a big deal.
Here’s your ingredients:
- 1 large head cabbage, shredded
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced (including green part)
- 1 small to medium sweet onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 full size carrots, shredded
- 1 pound sausage (mild or hot), browned and drained
- 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
- 4-5 large garlic gloves
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, divided
- 3 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
- 3 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2-3 budles of green bean threads (see picture)
- 3 packages egg roll wrappers
- 2 eggs whites
- 2 teaspoons water
- Oil for frying
- Dipping sauce of your choice
After you finish rolling the egg roll, put it on the platter seam side down. It’s very important to make sure the platter is kept dry. Liquid and a wrapper are not friends!!! They’ll stick to the platter and tear when you try to get them to let go. Oh yeah, by the way, if the wrapper of an unfried egg roll tears, unroll it, take the filling out and start with a new wrapper. It may seem wasteful but, take it from me, it’s a grease trap and it’s gross. Not worth it. Toss the bugger. Also, do not brush the egg wash on the egg rolls until you’re by the skillet and ready to put them in the hot oil. If you wrap them and set them down on something other than the oil, you’re doomed!! They’ll stick and do what . . .? TEAR!! There are times when an egg roll will stick in the skillet. If that happens, don’t pull on it with tongs or anything else; you’ll tear it. Use a spatula (pancake turner) to get underneath it and scoot it over. Tom and I wait until we have a platter full before we start to fry. Then, while Tom’s frying, I have another platter I’m loading up for him.
The egg wash is 2 room temperature egg whites and 2 teaspoons of tepid water. Room temperature eggs are pretty important because the whites will be looser and will mix faster and more easily with the water. Use a whisk to mix it very well. Side Note: If the egg whites and water aren’t mixed well, when you get mostly water on the egg rolls and put them into the hot oil, the oil will really spit and spatter which means you get burnt. To brush the egg wash onto the egg roll, hold the egg roll in your hand, flap side down, so the flap can unfold just a little bit onto your fingers. Brush the egg wash on the top part of the open flap, then using the brush from underneath the flap, bring the flap back up into place and continue brushing the rest of the egg roll. This will seal the flap and keep it from unrolling in the oil as it bubbles. Don’t be too stingy with the egg wash but don’t be too liberal either. You don’t want them soppy but they will be slick so be very careful when putting them down into the oil.
I know this isn’t the best picture in the world but you can see how glossy the egg wash is on the egg roll. Not too much, not too little. But again, be careful because they’re slippery lil rascals!
The egg rolls at the top of the picture are ready to turn while the ones closer to the bottom have about a minute more to go. Those are some happy egg rolls in that pool!!!
And there you have it!!!! Print yourself a Certificate of Achievement (with the fancy gold-foil border) for successfully making egg rolls!!! Congratulations – now go throw confetti all throughout the house!! Enjoy them – you’ve earned a huge celebration!!!
SIDE NOTE: These can be frozen after they’re wrapped but BEFORE you put the egg wash on them. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and fill the pan. Be careful they don’t touch. Put them in the freezer for a couple of hours then in a ziplock bag. Later you can pull out however many you want to thaw, brush with egg wash and fry. I personally have not done this but my friend Susan did and she said they did great.
Now you’ve made something you thought you’d never be able to do!! One more culinary accomplishment in your repertoire! See, all you had to do was trust me!!
Thanks for spendin’ some time with me and congrats again!