My husbands family is made up of amazing cooks & bakers. No one is a professional chef, but any one of them easily could be. My mother-in-law could take a clove of garlic, a potato and some flour and come out with a delicious pot roast. My father-in-law has an extra chromosome allowing him to always grill a piece of meat over a wood fire perfectly. Needless to say, my husband inherited those genes. I grew up in a house where good food was a regular thing, but I didn’t really start cooking until college. I knew the basics, but I vowed I was going to learn to cook good food, and it was going to be delicious – no holds. My father is great at cooking more complex things, and my mom has a knack for comfort food. Thankfully I got a little of both sets of skills, though they took some time to flesh out. You never would have known I had the genes for it in high school when I opened a bag of salad – and it went all over the floor (first mistake – buying bagged salad).
So, with all that background aside, whenever we have time, Andy and I cook together. With the house renovations and other projects it’s become a rare thing, but when we can we absolutely do. It’s one of my favorite things.
Last week, after picking up a new fridge & dishwasher from my mom, Andy and I went out for some Thai food. Andy was immediately smitten with the egg rolls. That said, he’s smitten with egg rolls in general. This time though he mentioned we should try making them at home. We dissected one at the table (because we’re those people), and Andy took notes of the undertones of the chili sauce. In the words of Andy, “you don’t need a recipe, all you need is an idea.”
Our idea was inspired by what we had left in the garden; you can use anything you want to fill these. How we made them is below. There are no exact measurements for this recipe, so I’m taking a guess. As Andy said, “…it’s all optional. You can make it different every time.”
Garden Egg Rolls
- Egg roll wrappers, found in most grocery stores in the refrigerated produce section (at least at our Shaws and Hannaford)
- 1/2 head green cabbage
- 3-4 kale leafs
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup diced green onion
- teaspoon or two ginger powder
- teaspoon or two garlic Powder
- a bunch of basil
- 1/2 to 1 cup diced white button mushrooms
- 1lb ground pork
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
1.) Slice and dice everything up small and cook together in peanut oil. Add in the basil, ginger and garlic and let it all cook down.
2.) In a separate pan cook your ground pork and keep cutting it up with your spatula so it doesn’t clump. Or, cook it like I did in a large thin patty and then chop up. Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze a lime into the pork. I sprinkled a little ground ginger on top too, why not?
3.) Combine the veggies and pork and set aside.
4.) Make sure your counter is dry and layout an egg roll sheet. Put a tablespoon or two of filling in the center on the diagonal. Fold the sides in first, then the bottom and then roll. Seal with just a little water. I just dipped my finger into a ramekin of water and pressed on the fold.
While you’re rolling start heating up your peanut oil, and gently place the rolls in the hot oil. Only do 2-3 at a time. You don’t want to crowd them, or let your oil boil over or you will have an oil fire. On second thought, keep your fire extinguisher close by anytime you fry. On third thought, never leave anything you are frying. Even for a second. Ever.
If you don’t seal them properly, like our first one, it will look like this. Delicious none the less, but it started to open. Andy was able to keep it sealed slightly with a spoon so the filling didn’t come out.
If you seal them right, they will look like this.
Now for the tasty sauce.
Honey Chili Cider Dipping Sauce
Everything below but make sure to also add in about 1/3 to 1/4 of a medium Hungarian wax pepper and a shake or 2 of cracked red pepper. As a note Hungarian wax peppers are less hot than a jalapeno but hotter than a banana pepper. Cracked red pepper is a different kind of heat, and it hits in a different way. We tried a second batch without either, but it just wasn’t the same. This sauce needs the heat, and it’s delicious.
This is a sweet sauce, that slowly transforms to have just enough heat to make the flavor profile unbelievably delicious. I asked Andy how he made it, so in his words, “You start off with a lot of sweet, add just enough liquid to make it thinned out and then it punches you with heat”. If you don’t like any amount of heat, and want to leave it out then that makes me sad. But really, I would lessen the honey and add a little more vinegar. It will cut the sweet and give a bite. It won’t taste the same as with the heat, but it would still be okay. If you don’t have a wax pepper, sub any other hot pepper and see what happens. We used a Hungarian wax because we have a plethora of them from the garden.
1.) Start with about 3-4 tablespoons of honey
2.) Add a tablespoon or so of apple cider, and a teaspoon of cider vinegar to thin it out.
3.) A small splash of peanut oil next
4.) Whisk together and assess the thinness. It should easily drip off leaving just a thin coat on the spoon, i.e. not honey like at all. At this point the mixture is very sweet with just a little bite from the vinegar.
5.) Add a few shakes of cracked red pepper, just a tiny pinch of garlic powder and a pinch of salt.
6.) Here comes the deliciousness – dice up about 1/4 teaspoon or the Hungarian wax pepper and add it to the sauce. Stir in and taste. Preferably on a hot delicious egg roll.
If you want, add in a little basil at the end, it gives it another great level of flavor.
Oh. So. Delicious.
Happy Homemade Egg Rolls,