The egg roll, with it’s thick and crispy wrapper, is a Chinese-American variation of the smaller, more delicate spring roll.
Egg rolls take me back to my childhood, picking up take-out from the local Chinese Restaurant, and feasting on sweet and sour chicken, and watching Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Good times.
These egg rolls are filled with vermicelli noodles, sweet potato, shallot, ginger, and ground pork.
To celebrate the Chinese New Year, I had really wanted to make spring rolls. But my grocery store only carries egg roll wrappers, so egg rolls it is!
C’est la vie.
But! You can use either kind of wrapper with the recipe below. You can even use rice paper if you wish, for Vietnamese style rolls.
Although I love traditional egg roll and spring roll filling, I decided to do something a little different, which is where the sweet potato comes in. Sweet potato offers a lovely, starchy, soft, and lightly sweet note to the dish.
Feel free to fill your egg rolls or spring rolls with whatever your heart desires, so long as the ingredients aren’t too wet. Get creative and have fun with this recipe!
Dragons love egg rolls
Let’s (Egg) Roll!
Egg rolls are one of the many dishes I thought I’d never make, because it seems far too labor intensive and technically daunting.
Here’s the thing though– it isn’t that bad!
Making the filling is similar to making a stir fry, egg roll wrappers are very easy to work with while assembling, and the rolls fry very quickly. It’s pretty awesome!
As always with frying, be sure that you have a thermometer to help you keep an eye on the oil temperature. Oil that is too cold will make your rolls absorb too much grease, and oil that is too hot will over-brown your wrapper.
Give yourself some extra time on the clock during your first run through, and enjoy the experience!
Here’s a visual to help you with your egg roll origami:
Sweet Potato + Pork Egg Roll Recipe
Pre-fried egg rolls
Sweet Potato + Pork Egg Rolls
- 4 oz dry vermicelli noodles (about half a standard package)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp oil, divided
- 2 medium Sweet potatoes peeled and julienned, (I cut mine with a mandoline), totalling about 2.5-3 cups
- 1 lb ground pork
- 3 medium Shallots, minced (about ¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp ginger finely grated
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 15-20 egg roll or spring roll wrappers, defrosted if frozen
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
- Canola or other neutral oil for frying
Making the Noodles:
- Place the half package of dry vermicelli noodles in a large bowl with high sides (otherwise your noodles will fly everywhere as you cut). Using kitchen shears, cut the bunch into 1 inch pieces. Use your hands to separate the pieces if they are clumped together.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water + 1 tsp of oil (this will keep your noodles from sticking together) to a boil. Add the vermicelli noodles, stir, and watch carefully as they cook. The noodles cook very quickly, in about 1-3 minutes. When the noodles are limp and cooked through, drain well, return to the large bowl, and set aside.
Creating the Filling:
- Heat oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. Add shallot, stir and cook until transparent, about 1-2 minutes. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
- Reduce heat to medium-high. Add the sweet potatoes and ginger and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 6-8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch, fish sauce, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. When the potatoes are tender, add to the skillet or wok and combine well. The filling should be a little dense and sticky. Be sure it isn’t watery, or your rolls will be soggy.
- Transfer the pork and potato mixture to the large bowl with the noodles, and stir vigorously to incorporate. Then, allow the mixture to cool. If you’re in a hurry, pop in the refrigerator. If you’re in a big hurry, spread out on a baking sheet and refrigerate.
Making Egg Rolls:
- Combine the cornstarch and the water in a small bowl for sealing your rolls.
- Let's roll! Check out the gif above if you're a visual learner 😉 Place one egg roll wrapper on your workspace in a diamond orientation. Plop one large heap of filling near the bottom corner of the diamond (nearest to you.) Fold this bottom corner over the filling. Then, fold in the sides one at a time. (I found that i needed to pinch in the corners of the side folds.) Roll halfway up to the top and pause. Spread the cornstarch mixture along the final edge of the wrapper like you would seal an envelope, then roll all the way up! Repeat until all of the filling is used. (If you’re planning on freezing the rolls, now is the time. Freeze unfried, then defrost in the refrigerator and fry when you’re ready.)
- Prepare a cooking rack over paper towels for your finished rolls. In a skillet or wok, pour in enough oil to cover the rolls at least halfway. Heat the oil over medium high heat, until it reaches 365-385 F.
- Carefully place 3-5 rolls into the oil. If they aren’t completely submerged, flip early on, and flip a few more times throughout cooking. Fry until deep golden brown (about 2-ish minutes), and transfer to your prepared cooling rack. Serve hot with hot Chinese mustard or sweet and sour sauce!