Here's a little history lesson on the egg roll and a recipe from our friend Kelly Fong -- she's a foodie with a love of writing and culture. We can't wait to try this out! Thanks Kelly for penning such a yummy post!
The infamous egg roll—it’s your average Americanized Chinese side dish; A crunchy, savory, cabbagey wrap deep fried and dipped in that sweet and tangy orange duck sauce. Eggrolls are a modified version of spring rolls, which are the softer, chewier, and original Chinese staple that were used to celebrate the new season in China, says Andrew Coe, author of “Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States.” Spring rolls, originally called spring cakes, date back to the Sung Dynasty in 992 A.D. and consist of flattened flour dough that’s filled with a variation of vegetables (red cabbage and carrots) and precisely folded.
As an American-born Chinese, I didn’t grow up eating eggrolls. Even when I first tasted it, I didn’t have much of a palate for it. But then, as it often does, I had an expected craving for egg rolls…about three weeks ago. Plus, my sister sent me a free voucher to try Plated.com—it’s a site that delivers fresh ingredients to your doorstep, so you can whip up any delicious dish imaginable! I tried my hand at making baked eggrolls with tofu and red cabbage filling and a side of daikon radish slaw. (Thanks Plated.com for the vegetarian, dairy-free, delicious recipe!)
14 ounces tofu ¼ cup shredded carrots ½ cup shredded red cabbage 3 scallions 2 ounces oyster mushrooms 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 10 wonton wrappers 4 packets soy sauce 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 2 teaspoons sesame oil 2 cups shredded daikon radish ¼ cup shredded green cabbage 2 tablespoons vegetable oil kosher salt black pepper
1 medium pan 1 baking sheet
Step 1: Prep!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain the tofu and dice half into 1/4-inch pieces. (You can save the rest of the tofu for another day.) Finely chop shredded carrots and half of shredded red cabbage. Rinse the scallions, trim and discard roots and slice white and light green parts of the scallion. Throw out the dark green parts. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel and finely chop.
Step 2: Cook the eggroll filling.
Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add tofu, carrot, red cabbage, scallion, mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce into the heated pan. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Step 3: Make the egg rolls.
Put warm water into a small bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil onto a baking sheet. Lay 1 wonton wrapper on a dry surface in a diamond shape. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of the wrapper. (Note: When I first made this, the filling was still piping hot! Make sure you let the filling cool down a bit before placing it into the wrapper—otherwise, the filling will overheat the wrapper and it will break.) Fold bottom edge and then the sides. Dab warm water onto the top edge of the wrapper and roll tightly into a cylinder shape, pressing to seal. Place seam side down onto the baking sheet. Repeat.
Step 4: Bake egg rolls.
Brush 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil onto the egg rolls and bake in the oven until golden and crispy—about 20 minutes. Make sure to flip the eggrolls halfway through the baking.
Step 5: Make sauce and radish slaw.
While egg rolls are baking, combine remaining hoisin sauce, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar and half of the sesame oil into a small bowl. Add salt and pepper if necessary. In a large bowl, combine remaining rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.
Step 6: Plate the meal!
Add the rest of the shredded red cabbage, daikon radish and green cabbage to the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil in a large bowl and toss to coat. Once the egg rolls are done baking, divide them up and separate onto two plates with the slaw. Serve with sauce on the side for dipping, and enjoy! Here’s how my meal turned out:
Once you’re finished enjoying it, you can save any leftovers by putting them in a Tupperware and fridging it for the next day. If you’re like me, and you’re trying to lead a somewhat healthy lifestyle, baked egg rolls are a delicious alternative to eating fried egg rolls. ☺
Do you have a recipe you've been wanting to try? Or one you'd like to share?