I’m a sucker for recipes that have existed for generations without any changes because they are that good. You just know you are going to get a winner with a recipe like that. This recipe for egg rolls fits the bill in a most deliciously authentic way. Last year while living in Wisconsin, I met a Hmong woman named, Mary. We instantly connected and became really good friends. My last wish before moving was for Mary to teach me how to make her (actually they should probably officially be called Mary’s husband’s great-great grandmother’s famous egg rolls). It is actually a recipe passed to her from her mother-in-law who lives with her and who came to the United States from Vietnam and still speaks very limited English. This egg roll recipe is a staple in their family – they make it at least four or five times a week and the cutest thing you’ll ever see is Mary’s four-year old son, Kinkai, pound down four of these piping hot egg rolls like it is no one’s business.

When Mary taught me how to make these, I had to force measured ingredients out of her because she has the recipe memorized and basically throws things together. We finally got a written recipe together and oh my, they are divine. Here are the secrets to these egg rolls that will make them better than any egg roll you have ever tasted (honestly, I wasn’t a fan of egg rolls until these babies came into my life):

1) Do NOT use traditional egg roll wrappers (large wonton wrappers) – the reason these egg rolls are so good is they are wrapped in spring roll pastry. This makes the egg roll light and crispy instead of heavy and greasy. I have only ever found the TYJ (SpringHome) brand. They are square, about 6 inches, and are usually sold frozen. Just leave them out for an hour to defrost before wrapping the egg rolls.

2) These egg rolls are light on cabbage and heavy on vermicelli noodles and that is just the way my anti-cabbage husband likes them.

3) It wouldn’t be the same eating these egg rolls without dipping them in a sweet red chili spring roll sauce. Find some at a grocery store near you – and clear the shelves. It is really delicious.

What To ServeThese rolls would be perfect as an appetizer, or as a main dish (which is how we ate them with some crisp veggies and salad on the side).

Mary’s Very Authentic Egg Rolls

Makes 50-100 egg rolls

Mary’s Very Authentic Egg Rolls

Ingredients

    Filling:
  • 2 packages vermicelli (or Muong Bean Thread noodles) noodles (6 ounces total)
  • 2-3 pounds meat (I use a combination of ground pork and ground turkey)
  • 1 head of cabbage, shredded finely (or use 1 10-ounce package of pre-cut cabbage)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites (save the egg yolks for sealing the egg rolls)
  • 1/2 pound carrots, shredded finely (or use the 10-ounce bag of shredded matchstick carrots)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 8-10 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 4-5 tablespoons black soy sauce (I have trouble finding this so I just use normal soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 50-100 spring roll pastry wrappers (not traditional egg roll/wonton wrappers - these are much thinner and lighter)

Directions

  1. Put the vermicelli noodles in a large bowl and pour hot water over noodles and let soak for 15-20 minutes (if using boiling water, soak for 10 minutes). Once soaked, drain very well and chop noodles up a bit into 2-3 inch pieces (not too short).
  2. Mix all the filling ingredients (noodles, meat, cabbage, whole eggs, egg whites, carrots and onions) in a large bowl. Hand mixing works best. Then add the sauce ingredients.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Pull apart spring roll pastry wraps. Leave main stack of wraps covered with a damp towel while rolling egg rolls. Lay the wrap so it is a diagonal in front of you. Put a large spoonful of filling about an inch above the bottom diagonal. Fold up the bottom triangle and tuck under the filling then proceed to roll up the egg roll, folding in the sides and tucking them in. Moisten the top triangle with the remaining egg yolks and roll/press to seal.
  5. Heat canola or vegetable oil (I always use canola oil) 1/3 full in pot. (I use my electric fry pan). Heat the oil to about 375 degrees. Fry egg rolls until golden brown and cooked through. Constantly turn the egg rolls so they don't overcook on one side. Drain on crumpled paper towels and serve with sweet chili sauce.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/marys-very-authentic-egg-rolls/

31 Responses to Mary’s Very Authentic Egg Rolls

  1. Melanie Anne says:

    Wow these look great! Freshly made egg rolls are the best!

  2. Melanie says:

    Hi Jenn – I love that you have been trying recipes and commenting back. It means a lot so thank you. I’m glad you liked these, although, I agree that the recipe can be tweaked to your tasting and it sounds like you’ll be able to revamp it to suit your family’s tastes more.As for the sweet chili sauce – the kind I buy isn’t spicy at all. It is perfectly balanced with sweet and heat. I wish I had some in the cupboard and I could tell you the exact brand but I can’t remember what it is called. I found it at a local Asian market but I’ve also seen a similar style of sauce in the Asian section of my average grocery store. I would highly recommend it with these egg rolls!

  3. Jenn says:

    I’m your newest blog stalker. I really love your recipes. Not crazy stuff, but things that sound good, look good, and aren’t so froofy. I made these last night for us and a friend’s family. We both really enjoyed them. Although next time, I will probably play with the recipe a little to fit our tastes (my husband wants more cabbage and I’ll use less oyster sauce or salt next time–something was a little too salty for me). But I enjoyed the muong bean threads and the spring roll wrappers. Next time I’ll have to get the sweet chili sauce. Do you know if it’s hot?

  4. Deborah says:

    Melanie – In response to your question about the butternut squash bread – it’s not sweet. I actually ate quite a few sandwiches with it, and loved it!

  5. Deborah says:

    Oh, you have read my mind!! I was just craving egg rolls today! These sound wonderful!

  6. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – I just made these this week, too! They are hands down my favorite egg roll recipe – in fact, I don’t even try other recipes because I like this one so much. I’m so glad that this was a hit with you and your family! I was thrilled to read your comment, thanks!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh my gosh, these are the best! My husband has fond memories of Vietnamese egg rolls made by a member of his church for a church festival. He had talked about these great egg rolls for years. When I came across your recipe, I had to give it a try. I followed the recipe exactly. It was like going back in time for him. The whole family devoured these. We even froze some of the mixture to fry at a later time. That worked great! We will definitely make these again and again. I want to have company over just so I have an excuse to make them soon. These are better than restaurant quality. Many, many thanks!!

  8. Hillary says:

    Hi Mel! Have you made these egg rolls all the way and then froze them? Can I fry them and then freeze them for fast lunches? Should I just roll them and then freeze them? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hillary – I’ve never frozen these egg rolls prior to frying them. I’d probably opt to fry them, let them cool and then freeze them so they could be reheated in the oven/micro for a fast lunch.

  9. Stacy says:

    Hi. I have phyllo dough in my freezer and am looking for something to make with it. Can I use that for this recipe? I’m not sure what the difference is between phyllo dough and spring roll wrappers. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Stacy – unfortunately, I don’t think phyllo dough will substitute well for the spring roll wrappers. It’s a bit too fragile. Spring roll wrappers are more like a very thinly rolled sheet of pasta.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Mel, When you say two packages vermicelli what sized packages do you use. The ones I found in the grocery store were about 3 times the size of the packages I found at the local Asian market.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve made these a few times and flash froze them, then put each in a snack bag and then put all in a freezer bag. My son loved them when he was in high school and would take 3 or 4 a day and microwave them (out of the snack bag, wrapped in paper towel) for his lunch :) I work with quite a few Hmong (how they spell it LOL) ladies and they taught me to stand them up in a dutch oven lined with paper towels to drain. Works great!!

  12. Crystal says:

    I just happened upon this recipe and had to look. My sister is married to a man from Laos and her in laws taught her how to make THE BEST EGG ROLLS. I wanted to compare and this is exactly how she makes them (or close they never measured either). My sister and I will make up like 100-150 of these at a time. Then freeze them and microwave in a hurry or for just as good as fresh pop them in the oven! They are so delicious. The dipping sauce is the same too and so good. (Have you ever used it as salad dressing-Mmmm) My problem is finding the wrappers. My sister gets them at an Asian store back home. Has anyone had any luck at regular grocery stores. Melanie is definitely right about egg roll wraps not being the same.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Crystal – I have found the spring roll wrappers at two of the grocery stores in my area. One of them has them in the cooler at the end of the Asian foods aisle and the other has them in the frozen foods section next to the frozen pie crusts and such.

  13. Lisa Hill says:

    Is the meat suppose to be cooked or uncooked? I just made these with uncooked meat, but I’m not sure that was right.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lisa – I’ve made this recipe both ways but I far prefer making them with the meat mixture uncooked. The texture is a lot more cohesive than if you cook the meat before mixing all the ingredients together.

  14. Mmmm…we lived near a Hmong community in my hometown, and the egg rolls were to die for. This brings back memories, I can’t wait to try it out.

    BTW just wanted to point out that the Hmong people are remarkably sensitive about how their culture name is spelled/pronounced. It’s spelled Hmong, not Muong, and the “h” is silent. I’ve seen them drop contact with people for spelling it wrong, so I thought I’d let you know.

  15. Michelle says:

    Hi Mel! Why I didn’t just come here first when searching for a recipe I’ll never know – you always come through for me. I’ll be making these this weekend. I don’t think I’ve ever had an egg roll with vermicelli in it. Can’t wait.

  16. Mel says:

    Fran – hmmm, I don’t have access to those markets! I find the Asian ingredients at Woodmans around here and sometimes Festival Foods.

  17. Maggie says:

    Do you brown the meat before mixing it?

  18. Mel says:

    Maggie – I’ve tried it both ways but prefer to fill the egg rolls with the raw meat mixture. The texture, to me, is a bit better than browning the meat before filling the wrappers.

  19. Maggie says:

    Fabulous! Thank you! My husband (who is Chinese) has been after to me to make my own egg rolls. I can’t wait to surprise him at dinner with these.

  20. I really love the sound of this, will have to give it a try, I am thinking Chicken mince and beef? We’re a no pork house, these would be great for a party, easy dinner for the kids etc especially if you have a stash in the freezer.

    Thanks so much for going the hard yards and getting the recipe, I know I struggle with the measurements too – everything savoury is usually just a bit of this and a bit of that :D

  21. Vicky Nguyen says:

    Hi everyone! I come from a Vietnamese family and I am the first generation living in the U.S. My mother and I used to make these all the time growing up, especially when parties came around. One piece of advice I would give to all the viewers is when you wrap the eggrolls, make sure you wrap it tightly. I noticed in the pictures that the end pieces of the wrapper started to come loose while they were frying, thus making it puff a little. To avoid this, after you fold over the bottom corner over the meat, press down very firmly where the two side corners and the meat meet and fold them over tightly, it should look like an envelope that starts going narrow at the top. Continue to roll up and do not be afraid to use a lot of the egg to seal it tight!

  22. Darci says:

    I’ve tried this 2x so far, with hamburger & with pork. Pork turns out MUCH tastier! I am rather the opposite of your husband, this has too many noodles & not enough cabbage for me! :) I think next time I make these I’m going to omit the noodles altogether & double the amount of cabbage. My hubby & I make these on nights we have off together, I’m on filling/rolling duty & he fries them up. We halve the recipe & get 38 egg rolls, plenty to freeze for us to reheat at our ease.

  23. Katie T. says:

    Oh my these look delicious!

    I was wondering… is there any way these can be made by using only an oven? Would you have any advice as to how you might do that? I hate battling with oil on a stove top!

    • Mel says:

      Katie – I’ve never tried baking these because I hate to admit it, but they are so delicious fried. However, if you want to try it, maybe 400 degrees for 15-30 minutes? You really want to make sure that filling gets cooked through. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.