The egg roll is a difficult topic because if you order an egg roll in an Asian country, you will be given what Americans know as a spring roll. Americans have even Americanized the traditional egg roll! Since egg rolls are a beloved food group here in America, we are devoting an entire blog post to them.
The egg roll actually originated in Vietnam. Egg rolls are usually served as an appetizer and are made from flour dough wrap before being baked or fried. In Vietnam, however, the wrapper is made out of rice paper rather than eggs and flour. In America, we usually refer to this dish as a spring roll. Egg rolls are usually stuffed with pork, shrimp, or chicken and filled with cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, and other vegetables.
The “American” egg roll was invented in New York in the early 1930s. One of the chefs who claimed the honor, Henry Low, even included an egg roll recipe in his 1938 book “Cook at Home in Chinese.” The recipe consisted of bamboo shoots, roast pork, shrimp, scallions, water chestnuts, salt, MSG, sugar and pepper – which sounds much better than the cabbage medley we get in egg rolls today. That’s because this was based off the traditional egg roll. Since it was published in a cook-at-home cookbook, American households changed the recipe little by little. This is how we have come to know the pork and vegetable egg rolls we love today.
This might seem like such a short time ago that the egg roll was created – so much that it’s hard to believe it’s true. Even different Asian countries like to argue that they have created the egg roll. Foodtimeline.org says egg rolls and spring rolls date back to ancient China. It is very likely that egg roll-type foods were made and consumed in the U.S. by the first Chinese settlers in the mid-1800s. Now, that starts to make a little more sense. However, we still don’t have enough factual information to determine exactly who or where it came from.
If we look past its history, egg rolls have become a fun staple in cooking today. From pizza egg rolls to mac and cheese egg rolls, the opportunities in the kitchen are endless. Egg rolls have evolved in many parts of the world, and there are number of versions of this tasty dish today. The Tex-Mex have created the Southwestern egg roll, bringing together Texas and Mexican foods and rolling it in an egg roll wrap. Even India and Australia have created their own versions of the egg roll by using food and popular condiments from their homelands.
Here are two of the most unique and delicious egg rolls that you can make right at home for dinner and dessert:
Cheese Steak Egg Rolls
When we say you can make anything into an egg roll, you can literally make anything into an egg roll. This one is for all you meat lover out there.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 onion chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
- 12 slices American Cheese
- 24 egg roll wrappers
- small bowl of water
- canola oil for frying
- Start by browning the beef in the skillet. Get a nice brown sear on the beef, then break apart as little as possible. (You want the meat to resemble a pea in size)
- Add the salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Stir gently, then remove from pan.
- Add 2 tbsp. of butter in the pan, and add the chopped onions and green bell pepper, cooking until browned and caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once browned, add the meat back in and mix together.
- Let the mixture cool while you prepare your egg roll wrappers and cheese. Make sure to keep the wrappers covered when you aren’t using them so they don’t dry out. Lay them on a flat surface and place half a slice of American cheese on the wrapper.
- Add 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture on top of the cheese.
- Starting from the bottom left, pull the corner over the meat, and fold the two sides in. Wet the edges, and roll tightly.
- Heat the canola oil on a pan about an inch high. Drop 3-4 egg rolls in at once.
- Once they have browned, remove the egg rolls, and dry them on a cooling rack. Don’t devour all at once!
S’more Egg Rolls
We had to include a dessert, and this is the perfect the blend of gooey and crunchy. Making a campfire shouldn’t be the only way we should be able to enjoy s’mores.
- Egg Roll Wrappers
- Graham Crackers (finely crushed)
- Chocolate Chips or chocolate bars
- Marshmallow Fluff
- Vegetable Oil (optional if baking)
- Soften the egg roll paper by quickly dipping in water for 2-3 seconds. This will prevent the wrapper from drying and tearing.
- Lay the wrapper flat to create diamond shape. Place two spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff going across. Add your chocolate and crushed cracker crumbs.
- Fold over the sides and then begin rolling from the bottom tucking under until roll is complete.
- Fry in hot oil or bake at 350 degrees until golden and crisp.
- Remove from heat and drizzle in melted chocolate.
- Then, sprinkle powdered sugar and crushed graham cracker crumbs over the top.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream for an extra treat!