Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vegan Egg Rolls

I love egg rolls.  But they of course usually have eggs either in the filling, the shell or both, and generally have some form of meat inside, usually pork.  Yuck!  So, what else to do but make them myself?  So much better for you because you can control the ingredients, and so much more delicious for the same reason.  I have made these several times before, but I have never written down the recipe.  I usually just take whatever vegetables I have on hand that follow the egg roll theme and prepare them all before cooking and seasoning them. 

The last time I visited my parents, where all of my extra kitchen stuff is stored, I took almost a whole suitcase of stuff back home to ny with me, and I intend to keep doing this until all the stuff I love and want is in the same place I am.  Anyway, the last few years when I lived at home through my late teens, my parents would always buy me kitchen stuff for Christmas - it's all I ever wanted.  Every time I go back home, I keep finding new things I had forgotten I even had and getting excited all over again to discover them.  The last thing I found was a salad shooter.  I had never even used it back home, so I brought it here and have been using it pretty frequently.  Of course it does a lot of great things and is smaller and easier to clean than a food processor, so I have been mainly using it to shred things, such as the carrots and cabbage for this dish, but also for the hash browns I made for breakfast a couple days ago.  If you don't have a salad shooter or food processor fitted with a shredding blade, you can definitely use a hand held box grater - it will just take a little more time. 

The other great thing about this recipe is that it freezes well.  If you have a pack of vegan egg roll shells that contains 24, you can double the recipe, make the rolls and freeze them.  The easiest way to do this is to put them on a sheet tray lined with waxed paper with a small amount of space between them and freeze them for several hours, or until nice and firm all the way through.  Then you can remove them from the sheet tray and place them in a Ziploc bag, label them and keep them frozen for several months, although I am sure they will be long gone by then!

Egg Rolls: (Egg Free of Course!)

Perfectly Browned Outside, Warm & Delicious Inside!

Yields 11-12

12 egg free egg roll wrappers

2 tablespoons canola oil
6 cups shredded cabbage, about 1 medium head
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots, about 3 medium
1/2 cup snap peas, julienned
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons shoyu/tamari
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Shred the carrots and cabbage first.  Place the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and once the oil heats, add the cabbage, carrots and julienned snap peas.  Cook, stirring often, until the cabbage wilts and becomes about half the size.  This may take about ten minutes.  Add in the scallions and garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. 
2.  Add in the shoyu or tamari, sherry, mirin, sea salt and black pepper.  Stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated.  Continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until some of the wetness in the cabbage evaporates.  Turn off the heat and place the hot cooked cabbage mixture onto a sheet tray in an even layer so that it cools quickly. 
3.  If you plan on cooking the egg rolls today, now is the time to get a medium pot out and fill it with about an inch of no taste oil, such as canola.  Do not turn on the burner quite yet, just have it ready.
4.  Get an assembly line ready: have your cooked cabbage mixture, the egg roll wrappers, a small bowl of cold water to seal the wraps, a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the mixture into the shell, a towel to put beneath the wrap and a clean baking tray that has been lined with waxed paper. 
5.  Let's get started on the fun part!  Place one of the wraps with a corner pointing towards you - it should look like a diamond.  Dip your fingers in the water and trace your wet fingers along the four corners of the wrap - this will help the wrap seal once it is rolled up.  In the very center, place a little less than 1/4 cup of the filling.  Use your hands to mold it into a rectangle shape.  Starting at the bottom corner of the diamond, roll towards the center of the filling and tuck under the filling.  Bring the two sides in and tuck them in as well.  Now, start rolling the wrap towards the other end, folding  in the sides as you go, and remembering to keep the whole thing nice and tight.  When you're done, it should look like an egg roll!  Of course, they will only get better the more you make and boy are they delicious!
6.  If you are going to cook them today, heat the oil you prepared in step 3.  Turn the heat on medium.  The oil is ready when you drop a piece of the cooked cabbage in the center and it immediately comes to the surface and starts bubbling. 
7.  CAREFULLY place the egg roll into the oil - the oil will start bubbling like crazy - this is normal.  Allow the egg roll (or rolls- you can cook two at a time - any more and the temperature of the oil will decrease too much and your rolls will be oily) to cook for a couple minutes on each side, or until the outside is nicely golden.  If your rolls are getting brown too quickly, turn the temperature down. 
8.  Drain these bad boys on paper towels and serve immediately with additional shoyu or tamari and duck sauce.  These are seriously damn delicious!
9.  If you want to freeze these, follow the instructions in the introduction.

All of the Egg Rolls, Prior to Frying



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