mothers-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe

My Mother’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls

mothers-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe

These are my Mom’s Famous Crispy Chinese Egg Rolls and a recipe that I published way back in 2007 but somehow got lost in the Internet void. Thank goodness that this recipe was part of my cookbook so I still had the text and photos. ~Jaden

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This is one of those recipes that is a little more time consuming to make, but one that’s my favorite because 1) it’s my Mom’s recipe 2) everyone who has tried them instantly declare they are the best they’ve ever had 3) you can make a big batch of them and freeze them. I usually call a couple of my girlfriends over and we have an eggrollin’ party where we’ll make a massive batch of them, enjoy them fresh that night and have enough for all to take home and freeze. If you are making these with friends, I’d suggest doubling the recipe so each person has some to take home to freeze. I promise you they will taste just as good fried after frozen and you will never taste better egg rolls than these. BUT – you must follow my Mama’s rules.

Ready?

Mama Ruthie’s Egg Roll Rules

Mama’s Rule #1: Your egg roll filling ingredients must be drained of excess moisture and cooled before rolling. Soggy, hot filling makes soggy egg rolls.

Mama’s Rule #2: Use the right kind of wrapper. The size I get is 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 cm) around and come 25 wrappers to a package. These wrappers are light, paper-thin and fry up to a shatteringly crisp crunch.  Oh yes, before I forget – “spring roll” and “egg roll” are interchangeable and mean the same thing. Sometimes my regular American grocery store will have “spring roll pasta sheets” that are in the refrigerated produce section. Do not use those – they are way too thick! Let’s just say that if it has Italian writing on the package, it probably ain’t the good stuff for Chinese egg rolls.

Rule#2A. Treat the wrapper right. You also want to keep the wrappers covered with a damp towel at all times to prevent the edges from drying and cracking.

Mama’s Rule #3: Roll small and tight! Sloppy and loosely rolled egg rolls will break apart and allow oil to seep into the inside of the roll. Mama says baaaad. One time I was watching a celebrity chef on television making monster egg rolls the size of a cola can. Who in the heck can wrap their mouths around that thing? It looked hideous. Mama’s egg rolls are elegant and skinny. Don’t be too greedy and overstuff them!  And roll them tight so that the filling doesn’t fall out while frying! Remember the days when you were younger and rolled your own…um…cigarette? Channel those rolling skills back.

Mama’s Rule #4: Lay the rolled egg rolls neatly with a piece of parchment, foil or wax paper in between each layer if you are stacking them on top of each other. Keep them covered with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent drying. If you are freezing, freeze them in like this first. Once frozen, you can gather them up and transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. If you roll them out and jumble them all together in a big pile, they’ll eventually stick to each other and you’ll tear the delicate skin trying to pry them apart.

How to make my Mother’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls

The printable recipe is below, but here are step by step photos on how to wrap. The recipe is for ground pork as the filling, but as you can see in these photos, the filling is very flexible. I’ve used chopped shrimp, ground chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, very thinly sliced pork (almost like matchstick sized). In these photos, I used crawfish and diced Chinese sausage!

These photos are just a guideline to teach you how to wrap (and the wrong way to wrap Chinese Egg Rolls!)

After you fry the filling, you’ll want to spread it out to cool on a baking sheet. Tilt the baking sheet and prop it up so that all the juices accumulate. You’ll discard this juice. Too much juice in filling makes soggy eggrolls.

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe drain

Lay the wrapper on a clean, dry surface as shown. Spoon just a heaping tablespoon of filling near the bottom corner. Resist the urge to over stuff with too much filling!

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe filling

Lift the bottom corner up and begin rolling until you reach halfway up.

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe roll tight

Fold over the left side, and then the right side towards the center.

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe

Continue folding up with a tuck-roll-tuck-roll motion. Dip your fingers into the cornstarch slurry and brush all over the final top corner. Finish up the roll, seal and place seam side down.

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe seal tight

See how tightly the egg roll wrapped? Any holes or large air pockets will allow oil to seep in, resulting in a greasy egg roll! The width or diameter of the egg roll should ONLY be 1.25-inches. If you make them any larger (i.e. too much filling) you’ll end up with less egg rolls.

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe finished

The wrong way:

Common mistake is to not fold over and tuck good enough. See that big space? Oil seeps in and will make your egg roll greasy.

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe big hole

Big holes = your egg roll will fall apart while frying.

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe too loose

See the difference between the above photo and this one?

mother-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe finished

Print

Mother's Famous Chinese Egg Rolls Recipe

Servings: Makes 50 egg rolls Prep Time: Cook Time:
mothers-famous-chinese-egg-rolls-recipe

Once you make these egg rolls, you'll never make them any other way! Make sure you get the correct egg roll wrappers. They should be FROZEN and very thin, almost paper thin. Do not use egg roll wrapper found in the refrigerated section (usually near tofu) in Western supermarket - they make starchy, thick, gooey egg rolls with big bubbles on outside when you fry. It's important to make sure you keep your wrapper and rolled egg rolls under plastic wrap so that they do not dry out!

Ingredients:

50 Spring/Egg Roll Wrappers (about 2 packages), defrosted unopened at room temperature for 45 minutes or in the refrigerator overnight
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup of cool water to seal egg roll
Cooking oil, for fryingFOR THE PORK
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarchFOR THE VEGETABLES
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
½ head of cabbage (about 11 ounces)
3 carrots
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper1. To make the filling, combine the ingredients for the ground pork together. Marinate at least 10 minutes. 2. To a food processor, add the shiitake mushrooms. Pulse a few times until the mushrooms are finely chopped. Insert shredder disk (large holes) and shred the cabbage and carrots. 3. Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add just 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add in the garlic and ginger and quickly stir-fry until fragrant. Add in the contents of the food processor (cabbage, carrots and shiitake). Turn heat to high and stir-fry for 1 minute until the vegetables are beginning to soften. 4. Use your tongs to make a large, empty spot in the middle of the pan (push the vegetables aside), swirl in an additional 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. When hot, add in the ground pork. Cook the ground pork in the middle of the pan until beginning to turn brown. Now use your tongs to mix the pork with the vegetables.5. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and black pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes until the pork is cooked through. 6. Scoop out the filling to a baking sheet and spread out to cool. Prop up one end of the baking sheet slightly to allow excess the moisture to drain to one end. Let cool for 15 minutes and then discard all of the accumulated juices. 7. Now, you're ready to wrap (see photos for instructions on how to wrap). IMPORTANT: Only use 1 heaping tablespoon of filling for each egg roll. These are slender egg rolls, the width of the egg roll should only be 1.25" diameter. Keep the rolled egg rolls in neat, single layer and covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. If you want to stack the egg rolls, make sure you have layer of parchment paper in between the layers to prevent sticking. Keep wrappers also covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Refrigerate up to 4 hours until ready to fry or freeze.8. To fry the egg rolls, fill a wok or pot with 2 inches of high-heat cooking oil. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C) or until a cube of bread will fry to golden brown within 10 seconds. Gently slide in or lower the egg rolls, frying 4 to 6 at a time, turning occasionally until golden brown about 1½ minutes. Place on wire rack to drain and cool.NOTE: To fry frozen egg rolls, do not defrost the egg rolls – just add them to the oil frozen, frying 4 to 6 at a time. Add an additional 1½ minutes to the frying time since they are frozen.

Directions:

1. To make the filling, combine the ingredients for the ground pork together. Marinate at least 10 minutes. In the meantime, shred the cabbage and the carrots using your food processor or by hand. Slice the mushrooms into very thin strips (or you could use your food processer and pulse a few times to get a fine dice.

2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the pork and stir-fry until no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, push the meat to one side of the pan. Add the garlic, cabbage, carrots, ginger and the mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute, until the vegetables are softened. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and black pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another minute. Scoop out the filling to a baking sheet and spread out to cool. Prop up one end of the baking sheet so that it tilts and will allow all the moisture to drain to one end. Let cool for 15 minutes.

3. Discard all of the accumulated juices. Use paper towels to blot the filling to rid of extra oil or juice. Now, you're ready to wrap (see photos for instructions on how to wrap). IMPORTANT: Only use 1 heaping tablespoon of filling for each egg roll. These are slender egg rolls, the width of the egg roll should only be 1.25" diameter.

Keep the rolled egg rolls in neat, single layer and covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. If you want to stack the egg rolls, make sure you have layer of parchment paper in between the layers to prevent sticking. Keep wrappers also covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Refrigerate up to 4 hours until ready to fry or freeze.

4. To fry the egg rolls, fill a wok or pot with 2 inches of high-heat cooking oil. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C) or until a cube of bread will fry to golden brown within 10 seconds. Gently slide in or lower the egg rolls, frying 4 to 6 at a time, turning occasionally until golden brown about 1½ minutes. Place on wire rack to drain and cool.

NOTE: To fry frozen egg rolls, do not defrost the egg rolls – just add them to the oil frozen, frying 4 to 6 at a time. Add an additional 1½ minutes to the frying time since they are frozen.

***

Other Egg Roll/Spring Roll Recipes

Red Lantern Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe Cha Gio

Firecracker Shrimp with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Egg Roll Recipe on RasaMalaysia

White on Rice has a vegetarian Vietnamese Curried Tofu Spring Roll (not fried!)

Comments 256

  1. Chu

    Wow! Those are beautiful-visually, they are identical to my Mom’s! The only difference is that she cut her spring roll wrappers in half (I guess to get double the amount, she was so thrifty) and she didn’t pre-cook the meat in her filling, just the vegetables. She never taught me, but mine taste pretty close to my moms except they never look as beautiful because I’m always worried I’ll under cook the pork. If it wasn’t midnight, I’d be running into the kitchen right now to make more! Thank you so much!

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  3. Paula

    These egg rolls were Awesome! Very easy to make. Entire family loved them! Will be making again today to freeze so we can eat them in an instant:)

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  6. Mary

    Where did you find your wrappers? I can’t find these anywhere, only the reg. kind at store.

  7. Jill

    Excited to make the egg rolls, but have a couple questions. Does the tablespoon of cornstarch/water mixture go in with pork to be “marinated” before cooking? Then a little farther down, there is another 1 teaspoon or cornstarch.

  8. Jill

    I think I figured it out – is the 1 T & water for the slurry to seal the egg rolls at the end?

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  10. Maureen

    Just made these…..FANTASTIC! Super easy to do as well. Left out the mushrooms ’cause we don’t like them, but everything else was done to the t. And Jill–cornstarch/water mixture is to seal the wrappers, the other cornstarch is added when to the soy sauce before marinating.

  11. kate

    you can only get spring roll wrappers at an asian grocery. I have looked everywhere else. But they are so thin and light, that they are worth the extra trip.

  12. Kurt Anderson

    I use peanut oil (watch out for allergies). The US Navy uses it on submarines because it safe at high temps. without no smoke or fumes.

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  14. Emily

    Darn it! I bought the thick gooey egg roll wrappers from the refrigerated section of my local Safeway. I wasn’t close to the asian market where there are options galore (and they didn’t have any frozen options). Any way to cook these so they come out smooth and not raw on the inside?

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  16. Eva

    Lekan,

    Any Asian store will carry rice wine. Also, rice wine is not a requirement to make egg rolls, so you can omit this ingredient. I never use it. You can make any fillings that you want in your egg roll. A great combination is chicken and shrimp. (I boil the chicken breast first and them chop them.) You can add carrots, green beans, green peas, cabbage and corn.

    Also, for sealing the egg roll, I use egg instead of cornstarch as I find that it seals better.

    Last night, I made salmon and potato with green peas egg rolls.

    I use olive oil for frying as it is the only oil that I use in cooking.

    If you have any more questions, just post it here.

    Eva

  17. Courtney

    Do you have nutritional info for this recipe? Specifically fat, carbs, protein and fiber?

    thanks

  18. Eva

    Courtney,

    Aside from the oil use in frying the egg rolls, there is hardly any fat in this recipe. The protein comes from the pork, chicken or shrimp; and the carbohydrates – both complex and processed come from the vegetables and the wrapper. Unless you have an allergy to carbohydrates – in this case the wrapper – whatever concerns you may have about this recipe is really very minimal. I consider this recipe to be both nutritious and delicious.

    Eva

  19. Lekan

    @ EVA thanks very much for reply and God will continue to bless u, the recipe that u wrote for me i want u to give step by step from starting to finishing, then back to this site recipe do i need to boiled the pork before grinding it?

  20. Eva

    Lekan,

    Check your local market if they sell ground pork – it will save you some time. Here in the US, they sell all kinds of ground meat. But if you prefer to grind the pork yourself, you do not need to boil it first.

    Here is exactly how I prepare the ingredients:

    Any vegetables that you want to use should all be shredded or chopped, like what Ms. Jaden said in her instructions. If you want to add corn or peas, they don’t need to be chopped. Put all these aside on a big plate.

    Heat up your pan and put some oil – just enough to fry the onions, garlic, and pork.

    Fry the pork until no longer pink – about three minutes. Again, like what Ms. Jaden said, lower the fire to medium low so you do not burn the meat. Add the garlic and fry for about a minute. Then add all the ingredients that you have already prepared and saute until they are softened. Do not over-cook; shredded and chopped vegetables cook very fast. Add all your seasonings – salt, pepper, soy sauce, and whatever Ms. Jaden has in her recipe. You do not need to add the rice wine if you do not have it.

    Transfer everything in a shallow pan and tilt it to drain the excess fluid – look at Ms.
    Jaden’s picture. I have a mesh metal colander, and that is what I use to drain the excess fluid. I let it sit on the counter for about thirty minutes. The draining is really important. If it is too wet, your wrapper will rip and fall apart.

    From here on, follow exactly what Ms. Jaden showed in her instructions for wrapping. That is exactly how I do it. Put all your wrappers, fillings, and your egg mixture or corn starch for sealing on your kitchen table so you can sit down comfortably on your chair while wrapping. (I tried wrapping on the counter while standing up and I never did it again – my legs were so tired.)

    I use a small brush to dip into the egg mixture and a table spoon for scooping the filling into the wrapper.

    Do not put the wrapped rolls together – they will stick and it is almost impossible to separate them. So, give a little space between them while you are wrapping everything. By the time you have finished wrapping, the sealer would have dried already.

    If you made just enough to eat at the time, you can fry them right away. I do not know anybody who makes just enough for eating at one sitting. It is so laborious, so people who make egg rolls usually make a lot and put the rest in the freezer.

    If you have enough for future use, put them in a plastic container. Put a plastic film between layers so they do not stick together.

    Instructions for frying:

    Use a deep frying pan. Put enough oil to cover the rolls. I usually put six at a time between batches. It’s very important that you watch your fire so the rolls do not burn. Do not use high heat. I always put my stove on medium and I adjust it to medium-low if the rolls are cooking fast. Your rolls should look exactly like the rolls in Ms. Jaden’s pictures – beautiful golden brown.

    Lekan, Ms. Jaden showed a complete and perfect instructions for this recipe. Keep reading it, especially the instructions on wrapping. Do not rush up the wrapping process. I usually have a glass of wine while wrapping and I really enjoy the process. Once you have become an expert wrapper, you will enjoy experimenting with all kinds of fillings.

    Here are some of my combinations:

    1. Shrimp, chicken and chives

    2. Ground beef, potato, corn and green peas

    3. Salmon, potatoes, and green onions

    4. Shrimp, cabbage, bamboo shoots, and
    mushrooms

    5. Pork, cabbage, green beans, and carrots

    There are so many combinations that you may want to experiment with.

    Please let me know how you are doing with this recipe. I know that some people don’t like to cook it but love to eat it.

    Do this recipe when you have some lazy days.
    You cannot do this when you are in a rush.

    If you have any more questions about this recipe, just post it here.

    I really hope that you will make an effort and try to master this recipe. It is really worth it.

    Lekan, most people prefer vegetable oil for frying because it has a higher heat tolerance than olive oil. The only reason why I use olive oil is because I do not make this recipe all the time, and I do not do a lot of fried foods. I also do not like to keep the vegetable oil on the shelf for a long time, so I just use the oil that I regularly use, which is olive oil.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Eva

  21. Lekan

    @ lady EVA
    I appreciate u, thanks u very much u have give solution to my problem i don‘t have any question again now but the only what i need now is how to make samosa if u can assist me i will be happy because in my country here i make chapman in an occation then i have my waiters and waittress so i want to perfect in spring rolls and samosa then if they need waiters and waittress in ur country we can travel to any where u can even check my profile on facebook, SAMOSA RECIPE

  22. Dana

    These sound so awesome! I’ve been fishing for an egg roll recipe, and this one looks like the ones I have been envisioning.

  23. Eva

    And thank you so much for all the delicious recipes. The mussels recipe is my favorite right now. I have tried cooking it so many different ways. When I saw your recipe, I immediately took a package out of the freezer and cooked it for dinner that same day. I absolutely love it. I cooked it twice already, and another package is thawing on my counter right now. I eat it with warm baguettes and paired with either Chardonnay or Zinfandel.

  24. jaybeecee

    I’m glad you pointed out that it is very important to drain the filling completely, especially if the spring rolls are going to frozen. I also pat it dry with paper towels. I took two Chinese cooking courses and have a delightful filling recipe myself but do intend to try your mother’s (came across it just tonight).

    By the way, egg rolls are so called because there are eggs in the wrapper dough. Spring- and Shanghai roll wrapper dough does not and is much thinner. The wrappers, sold as Spring Roll Shells, also retain a much more even, smoother surface when deep fried.

  25. jaybeecee

    P.S. You may have a preference but peanut oil is probably the best for frying. It has no flavor and does not take on the flavor of the food being fried; plus– it has a high smoking point. Although– you will not want to fry something other than fish if re-using the oil in which you have fried fish before.
    If deepfrying eggrolls, it’s wise to invest in a thermometer. Don’t let the oil get above 350 degrees F.

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  27. Lisa

    I use one of those old school electric skillets. I set it at 350* and as long as you’re only frying 6-8 egg rolls at a time it’s perfect!! Ask your Moms’ if they have one stashed somewhere and get it!!
    As a side note, I cook my cabbage separately and once it’s cool I squeeze it to remove any extra moisture.

  28. Laura

    OMG! These eggrolls were super easy and delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe, my family loved them :)

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  31. Sarah

    Thank you so much for this very informative article! My other half and I have been having a lot of difficulty with making these and we finally see that it was because we didn’t drain and cool the inside ingredients so they kept coming out soggy, and we weren’t rolling them tightly enough and they where oily inside. Defiantly retrying next week!

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  34. Kesh

    The recipe is amazing! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the egg roll wrappers that you were talking about… Where do you busy them?

  35. BZ

    Cooking sherry is a good substitute. Or sweet white wine. Not exactly the same, but for those of us in countries without access to certain Chinese products (I am in Argentina), these are the best substitutes. But if you can’t get the Chinese cooking wine, I am surprised that you can find the egg roll wrappers. Good luck!

  36. jaybeecee

    It all depends where you are located – most towns/cities have Asian food stores. If you have none in your neighborhood, try to find a recipe by googling – but please note that there is quite a difference between the results of egg roll wrappers and spring roll wrappers.

    I think you found the perfect solution if you are watching your weight. The filling above and the one I have are just as delicious when eaten with rice – even pita or tacos.

  37. Tracey Pullum

    I havent been brave enough to try making these, but with your recipe and pictures, I think I may try it :) Love the humor too.

  38. Tammy Lowry

    These look soooo good I can’t wait to try them. Hopefully I’ll be able to do them justice. Thanks for the recipe.

  39. Meg B.

    Quick question about making a bunch of these egg rolls and freezing. Would I fry them
    And then freeze them or freeze them and then fry them when I want them. If I do fry before freezing how would I reheat? Or if I don’t fry till I need them would I defrost & then fry, or fry frozen? Thanks for any answers you can give me! Also if you have a good method for packaging them up to be frozen, that would be great! Thanks in advance. :)

  40. BZ

    Meg B, in the past I have quite successfully frozen raw egg rolls. It is a good idea to freeze them individually (on wax paper) so that you can then put them in a ziploc bag and easily use the number you need. It also makes them easier to prepare, because you can just toss them in the hot oil – no need to defrost. Good luck!

  41. Meg B.

    Thanks for the tips BZ! I’m trying to start getting into freeze ahead meals to just pop out on days I don’t feel like cooking & I thought egg rolls would be a good idea & this recipe sounds delish.

  42. BZ

    As the lovely and talented Ms. Jaden Hair stated in her recipe, the filling mix is really flexible, and there are lots of different ingredients you can try. My personal fave is the classic ground pork and chopped shrimp mix with green onions, but there are lots of great combinations to try. Her technique to “drain” and cool the filling mix is a GREAT idea, and solved a problem that I have had for a long time. Unfortunately, I can’t by egg roll wrappers were I am currently living (Argentina) so I have to make my own, and this is a LOT more work.

  43. BZ

    Dear Jaden, HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I followed your recipe for the filling pretty much to the letter (within reason) and it came out GREAT! I am really happy with it. I think that the “draining and cooling” stage was definitely key. Here’s the problem. Where I live (Buenos Aires) they don’t sell egg roll wrappers at the Chinese markets. They sell wonton wraps, but they are tiny. So I decided to make the wrappers myself. I used a fairly hard dough (two parts flour to one part water by weight and a bit of salt) and they I rolled them out in my pasta press. I got them REALLY thin, and the dough held up beautifully – it didn’t tear at all. I then cut the eight inch wide sheets into squares, and rolled them up quite tightly as per your instructions (also very helpful). I got the oil up to around 350, and fried them. They looked great! However, they were NOT at all crisp. Not even slightly. They didn’t bubble too much on the outside, and the color was nice and golden. However, they were more soft than crispy, and what I am looking for (obviously) is the “shatteringly crisp crunch” which you mentioned. Can you help me? Is it possible to make these wrappers from scratch? Please please please! Thanks!

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