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What are Egg Rolls?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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Almost every national cuisine has some kind of wrap dish. The French have crepes, the Spanish have empanadas, Mexico has burritos and China has egg rolls. Actually, egg rolls are seen in one form or another, in nearly every variety of Asian food.

Egg rolls are those tasty wraps filled with meat and chopped vegetables, wrapped in a dough sheet and fried. The "egg" comes from the fact the dough sheet may be brushed with an egg wash, first. Egg rolls are usually made from a wheat-based dough, while their cousins, spring rolls, are often made from a rice flour dough.

The Cantonese cuisine of Southern China has most influenced Chinese food in America and egg rolls are a good example. Cantonese food is more often fried, as are egg rolls. Egg rolls are often served with a combination dinner in Chinese restaurants, and large ones make a good lunch, along with a bowl of soup.

Every Chinese restaurant has its own egg roll recipes. Some focus more on meat, some on vegetables. Some restaurants serve a spicy version. Recipes and techniques are widely available online for the cook who is feeling adventurous.

A standard recipe for egg rolls calls for Napa cabbage, water chestnuts, onions, bean sprouts and diced pork or small shrimp. The ingredients are stir fried first, and seasonings and sauce are added. The filling is then drained a bit and allowed to cool.

The cook then lays out egg roll wraps and fills them with the cooled ingredients. Egg rolls may be wrapped in a variety of ways, but the most common way is to put a large spoonful of filling at the short end of the wrap, and then rolling it up, tucking in the ends, and sealing the seam with a "glue" made of cornstarch and water. The rolls are then deep fried.

Although somewhat labor intensive, many cooks say egg rolls are worth the effort. The homemade kind, they say, are far superior to those in a restaurant, and certainly better than anything from a box.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at DelightedCooking. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By Viranty — On Mar 04, 2014

I love egg rolls, even the ones that come in a box. However, they definitely don't taste the same without condiments. Has anyone tried that really spicy mustard? It's pretty good, and despite how bitter it is, it goes very well with a lot of Chinese food.

By Chmander — On Mar 04, 2014

@RoyalSpyder - Well, unlike the homemade kind, which are always made and ready to eat, who knows how long the ones in the kitchen have been there? I've never been in a restaurant kitchen, but due to how many people order egg rolls a day, I'm guessing that the egg rolls come in stock. In fact, think of it this way - If you're making food for a family of five, it's generally easier to make it instead of just buying it, right? However, if you're making a dish for many many people, it's better to order everything in stock. Even better, it's a good idea to have it heated up and ready to served. Sorry for rambling on, but I hope that makes sense.

By RoyalSpyder — On Mar 03, 2014

I've never had homemade egg rolls, but I can imagine that they're a lot better than we what we usually get from restaurants and boxes. What's the difference?

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at DelightedCooking...
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