put all your egg rolls in my basket

Around St. Patrick’s Day I saw a brilliant blog post for how to turn a Reuben sandwich into an egg roll that got me thinking. Basically, I love egg rolls, but I had never tried to make them before (I have made dumplings before, but they are never quite as good as the gyoza or shumai in Japanese restaurants or the soup dumplings in Chinese restaurants). This recipe, however, made them look very simple–especially because you can just buy the egg roll wrappers in almost any supermarket these days, instead of trying to roll out the dough from scratch. But not only did it seem easy to make these Reuben egg rolls, it made it seem pretty easy to customize them to whatever filling you wanted.

I tried out the Reuben egg rolls for a potluck-style dinner party, where they were thoroughly enjoyed (mostly by Max, I think he ate around six of them…) though I had to bring them to Brooklyn and even after heating them in the oven they weren’t as crispy as when they were fresh out of the oil. My advice: serve ’em fresh.

In fact, Max liked them so much, that he clamored for me to make more. So today I tried the out the pizza egg roll, made with tomato, mozzarella and pepperoni. So delicious!

Here are the recipes:

Reuben Egg roll (makes about ten rolls)

Ingredients

Egg roll wrappers (you can find them in most supermarkets, either in the frozen section or by the tofu)

1/2 lb corned beef, diced

1 cup shredded cabbage

4 slices Swiss cheese, diced

1/2 cup prepared sauerkraut (I just bought a jar of it)

1 egg, beaten

1 cup safflower oil (or other neutral high heat oil)

Thousand Island Dressing or mustard, for dipping

Directions

1) Combine the corned beef, cabbage, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese thoroughly.

2) Put an egg roll wrapper on a clean, dry, flat surface so that it is facing you like a diamond.

3) Place 2-3 tablespoons of the corned beef mixture near one corner of the diamond.

3) Fold that corner over the mixture, and start rolling it tightly towards the far corner.

4) Here is the only, even remotely, tricky part. Fold the corners on the left and right in over the center of the roll and then keep rolling. You want to make sure those corners are tucked tight, so that no filling will escape (and spatter like mad) when you put them into the oil.

5) Okay, that wasn’t so hard. Now all we need to do is put some of the beaten egg onto the wrapper (it’s easiest to do this with a pastry brush) and keep rolling until it’s all sealed up.

The uncooked egg roll:

6) Now all you have to do is heat up your oil in a pan and once its hot (about 350-400 degrees) drop these guys in! Be careful though, they are a bit fragile… so don’t just plop ’em down. You can also use a deep fryer if you have it. Or, if you know an intellectual monk, a deep friar might work. (badum-cha!)

Try not to crowd the pan too much and turn them so that they brown evenly on all sides. Remove with tongs, carefully, and set to drain on paper towel.

Then, repeat, repeat, repeat!

I’ve said it about something else before, but these are to fry for!

Serve with Thousand Island dressing or mustard for maximum deliciousness.

Alternately, try the pizza egg rolls (makes 8-10):

Ingredients:

Egg roll wrappers

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1.5 oz pepperoni, shredded/chopped into small pieces

10 leaves of basil, chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 cup oil (I used a mix of safflower and olive oil to give it that Italian feel, even though olive oil is not for high heat)

Optional: 1/2 cup diced mushrooms

Optional: marinara sauce, for dipping

Directions

1) Mix the pepperoni, tomatoes and mozzarella and basil in a bowl until well combined. Drain out any excessive moisture caused by the tomatoes.

2) Follow the exact same steps as for the Reuben egg rolls: put the mixture in, roll ’em up, a little beaten egg for sealing, and fry.


If you don’t think these look amazing, then you are a cold-hearted soul.

I am so eager to make egg rolls out of everything, now. Perhaps a burrito egg roll? They’re practically giant egg rolls anyway, just…not fried (yet…). Or maybe some more traditional egg rolls with cabbage and carrot and “healthy” things.

Anyway, the take away point is that these were incredibly tasty and incredibly easy. I would definitely serve them as an appetizer at a dinner party, though I might not transport them to another person’s house again (unless they lived around the corner). And they’re easy enough to make as a snack (especially if Max gives you puppy eyes).

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