new and improved egg rolls

i've been making eggrolls for years. as tasty as we've always thought they were, they were never quite "right". i finally found out from the owner of the local asian food market, what was wrong. i've always bought the eggroll wrappers you generally find in the local grocery store and they're not like the ones you might find in a chinese restaurant. that and a few ingredient changes really made all the difference in the world. another secret is the oil you fry them in. since learning to render lard and tallow, we've found that eggrolls taste the best fried in animal fat in the deep fryer. once you've tasted one of these, you'll never go back to peanut or corn oil or anything resembling crisco.

1 lb ground beef or pork raw (may substitute or add shrimp if desired)
2-4 cups shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix works well)
1 large (yellow or white) onion diced
1 to 2 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon black pepper
ground red pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons fish sauce (soy sauce may be substituted)
3 eggs
2.5 to 4 oz mung bean threads
50 to 60 spring roll wrappers

1. soften bean threads in hot water. drain. with kitchen scissors, cut threads into 1-3 inch lengths.

2. mix threads and all other ingredients (except wrappers) in a large bowl. i use my hands and knead the mixture as if making a meatloaf.

3. place 1 to 2 Tablespoons of mixture into each wrapper and roll.
(learn how to roll an eggroll here. because these have raw meat in them, you'll want to roll these smaller than my previous recipe--no larger around than a quarter. if this concerns you, you may cook the meat ahead, but it really does taste better if prepared raw and cooked only once.)

4. fry in deep fryer at approximately 365o for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

5. drain and serve with dipping sauce and rice.
(our favorite dipping sauce is equal parts soy sauce and white vinegar with a few sprinkles of toasted sesame seeds thrown in.)

mung bean threads, also known as vermicelli are usually found at the local asian markets with the rice noodles. these don't carry alot of their own flavor but they absorb flavors well and add a unique texture to eggrolls that cabbage alone just doesn't have.

spring roll wrappers (left), also called eggroll wrappers. these are made with wheat flour and should not be confused with spring roll wrappers (right) which are sometimes called rice paper which are made with rice flour. the wrappers you want are square and soft (like filo or pie crust); whereas, rice paper is generally round and stiff (more like plastic) and must be moistened before using and are generally eaten without frying. i use a particular brand (TYJ) which is made with coconut oil and is very stretchy before it's cooked. these make an excellent eggroll and to date, we've not found anything better.

fish sauce is a sauce used in asian cooking (i use it in kimchi too) which basically adds a salty flavor. it comes in many varieties, shapes, sizes, etc. if you can't find it or if you don't like it, soy sauce and/or salt may be substituted. i generally use the 3 crabs brand.

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