Are egg rolls Chinese? Do we even know what real Chinese cuisine really is? Are these questions that need an answer? Probably not but you do need to try these Egg rolls!
When we lived in Northern California, one of our boys’ most requested day trips was going to Chinatown in San Francisco. It was a quick hour drive and suddenly there we were amongst outdoor markets with all kinds of new sights and smells, signs we couldn’t read, and lots of little alley ways that led to interesting stores with fireworks and other “contraband” that boys love. One of the must-do’s of every trip to Chinatown was the fortune cookie factory. Though it was amazing to see how many of these “prophetically” stuffed cookies could be made in such a tiny space, we quickly learned (as I’m sure most of you know by now) fortune cookies are All-American and not Chinese at all. Add that to the list of Chop Suey, Sweet and Sour fried meats and most items on menus at all “Asian” chain restaurants and I think it’s safe to say that we don’t really know what REAL Chinese food is. But how can you resist anything in a easy-to-eat wrapper that is both chewy and crunchy? Well…we can’t, apparently, so egg rolls are still a beloved part of Americanized Chinese takeout and have even given way to the versions that have no relationship to Asian culture at all (I’m looking at you weird Southwest Egg Roll!)
So I’m getting this out there…I am not claiming these are authentic Chinese cuisine in any way. Actually the definition of “Egg Roll” sort of equates to how we call anything stuffed between bread a “Sandwich” in American cuisine. Is it small and cylindrical? Yes. Is it filled with some sort of shredded vegetable filling? Yes. Then it must be an egg roll. These are simply my grain free version of American-Chinese style egg rolls. And They Are Good!
I have recently discovered Siete Coconut Cassava Tortillas and use them as often as possible since they are grain free and just as good as wheat flour tortillas. The idea for these egg rolls came after I had made a batch of oven-baked taquitos one day and mini breakfast burritos another using these same tortillas. (Make sure and subscribe to avoid missing the forthcoming recipe posts for the burritos and taquitos.) We had noticed the taquitos had the crunchy, chewy texture just like egg roll wrappers.I always loved biting into the egg roll that came with my combo takeout dinner when I was a kid mainly because of these two characteristics. But having not eaten gluten for years, I had all but forgotten about eating them ever again. However, when I made the mini burritos, the tortillas proved to be flexible enough to make a tight roll with the filling completely enclosed like an egg roll. Lightbulb! Roll an Asian inspired cabbage and ground meat filling tightly into these tortillas and oven bake then slathered in coconut oil like I did for taquitos and there you have it! Egg rolls fit for a dynasty!
You can use any shredded or cooked ground meat you have on hand. I used ground chicken. If you want to go meatless, that’s totally fine, too; add mushrooms instead to give a meaty texture to the filling. You can try the Siete Almond Flour tortillas for this, but I found the coconut-cassava tortillas have a more piable nature. If you want to go the non-traditional route, you can certainly wrap whatever filling you want to in these little guys. But the technique is key so I am giving you step by step along with a rolling demo video.
I would love to hear what you think about these and let me know if you go off the map and do something non-traditional.
Here are the step-by-step photos and directions:
Prep all ingredients.
Saute ground chicken with green onion, ginger and garlic.
Add vegetables and saute until wilted and water evaporates then add sesame oil
Spread out on a large cookie sheet propped up to cool and allow excess liquid to drain. Make the sauce while they are draining
Heat the tortillas in a hot cast iron skillet and stack in a clean kitchen towel. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment and heat oven to 375 degrees.
Spoon two tablespoons of filling onto the end of a tortilla closest to you then roll using the photos as a guide in Step Seven:
Roll the tortillas around the filling to make eggrolls.
Turn the eggroll over and press down seam. Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet. When all are rolled, brush heavily with coconut oil then place in oven to bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Turn and bake for another 10 minutes or until the eggrolls are crunchy and brown.
Cut on the diagonal and serve with sauce.
Egg Rolls as Good as Takeout (Paleo)
1 pound ground chicken
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 tbsp minced garlic or 1 tsp powdered ginger
5 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tbsp minced garlic)
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1 tsp sesame oil
12 Siete Coconut Cassava Tortillas (1 1/2 pkgs)
Coconut oil for brushing
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1-2 tbsp chile garlic sauce, optional (use an additional tbsp of rice vinegar if you choose not to use to keep flavors balanced)
- Brown chicken in a little coconut oil along with the salt, green onion, ginger and garlic.
- Add cabbage and carrots and cook until vegetables are completely wilted and almost all the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the sesame oil and mix well until the remaining liquid has evaporated. (There will still be more. Next step will help with this.)
- Spread the mixture out onto a large cookie sheet leaving a gap on one end. Place something under the other end so that any remaining liquid will drain down to the “gap” end.
- While the mixture is cooling, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line another large cooke sheet with parchment paper.
- Warm tortillas in a hot cast iron skillet until they are very pliable and have a few small brown spots on each side. Stack softened tortillas in a clean kitchen towel.
- To roll: Place about 2 tablespoons filling onto the end closest to you and turn up the sides around the filling.
- Roll the end next to you around the filling and tuck in tightly continue to quickly roll to the end then place seam side down onto prepared cookie sheet.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling (you may have enough filling for two whole packages of tortillas.)
- Brush liberally with coconut oil and place in oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until the top side is brown. Turn over and bake for another 10 minutes or until brown and crispy on all sides.
- While eggrolls are baking, mix together the maple syrup, rice vinegar, coconut aminos and chile garlic sauce if using and set aside to use as dipping sauce.
- Cut in half diagonally or serve whole with sauce.
- To make vegetarian, use 1 pound cremini mushrooms that are finely chopped. Saute until almost all the water has cooked out before adding remaining ingredients.
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