Everyone knows a good egg roll is the hallmark of any reputable Chinese meal. When poorly made an egg roll is a greasy, lackluster tube of mush. When done well, an ideal egg roll is shatteringly crisp with a flavorful filling brimming with distinct ingredients and textural intrigue.  Dipping sauces for this handheld morsel should be as complex as the filling itself.

This eggroll includes snappy wood ear mushrooms and delicate bamboo shoots in additional to the traditional mix of pork, cabbage and carrots.  Serrano chilies and rice vinegar add a little pep to the savory mix.

A gentle bath in some sizzling oil yields a batch of egg rolls that would leave any take-out menu firmly in a drawer. So whip up a dozen of these  “take-out take-down” egg rolls 

with homemade sweet and sour sauce and settle in for a proper take-out worthy binge!

Take-Out Take-Down Eggrolls with Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Dried wood ear or tree ear mushrooms can be found finer grocery stores or Asian markets. To rehydrate them simply place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Allow the mushrooms to sit for several minutes before draining.

  • 2 Tablespoons Canola or peanut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons, fresh minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and minced
  • ½ pound ground pork or chicken
  • 1 Cup shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 Cup Shredded Carrots
  • ½ Cup rehydrated wood ear or tree ear mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 Cup bamboo shoots, cut into thin strips
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch mixed with 2 Tablespoons water
  • ½ Cup sliced scallions
  • 12 Egg Roll Wrappers-preferably Twin Marquis brand*
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • Canola or peanut oil for frying
  • Spicy brown or Chinese mustard 
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce (recipe follows) 

Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet.  Add the ginger, garlic and serrano chili and sauté until just fragrant-about 30 seconds.  Add the pork and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through and slightly browned-about 6 minutes.  Stir in the cabbage and carrots to the pan, reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally until wilted and soft-about 5 minutes.  Add in the mushrooms and bamboo shoots; mix well.  Season with salt and add the soy sauce and vinegar to to the pan.  Increase the heat to medium-high and mix in the cornstarch slurry and cook until mixture thickens-about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and mix in the scallions.  Allow the filling to cool before proceeding. Egg roll filling can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

Lay an egg roll wrapper on a work surface so it looks like a diamond.  Place a generous quarter cup of filling in the bottom 1/3 of the wrapper.  Pull the bottom corner up over the filling and pull back slightly to tuck in the corner.  Fold in the sides like an envelope.  Using your finger tip brush the exposed corner of the wrapper with the beaten egg. With a gentle yet firm hand roll up the egg roll taking care to prevent gaps at the edges. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.

Pour canola oil to the depth of 2 inches in a high-sided skillet. Heat the oil over medium high heat until the oil reaches 325 degrees or a bread cube sizzles gently on contact (if the oil is too hot the egg roll skins will brown and burn before the filling warms through; slow and steady is the key).   Gently drop the egg rolls seam side down into the hot oil.  All ow them to fry for 5-7 minutes, turning once or twice, until golden brown and crispy.  Dain on paper towels and season with salt. Serve at once with mustard and sweet and sour sauces for dipping.

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • ¼ Cup Rice vinegar
  • ¾ Cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili garlic sauce
  • ½ Cup diced fresh pineapple
  • ¼ Cup diced green pepper
  • ¼ Cup diced red pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon minced serrano chili (more or less to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons water

Combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and salt in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Stir in the chili-garlic sauce, pineapple and diced peppers and return to a boil.  Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook until sauce is thickened.  Serve at once.

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