Then one glorious day, my gram said, "Well, M., we could just leave the mushrooms out!" and my life was complete. Egg rolls minus the mushroom picking outage? Where do I sign?!
And hence, the "Greatest Egg Rolls Known to Mankind" were born. (Hush you...yes YOU, who likes mushrooms and is gonna tell me, "These would be PERFECT with mushrooms!!". Mushrooms are evil. Mushrooms are bad. Mushrooms don't make me happy, they make me very sad.)
These aren't your ordinary cabbage laden egg rolls...these are a hearty Midwestern take on egg rolls whose main ingredient is...meat.
Let's get started...
Plop some ground pork...NOT PORK SAUSAGE (that has Italian seasoning in it...) into a pan whose bottom has been covered in peanut oil. (Note to those with peanut allergies...gram said vegetable oil would be a good sub for peanut oil. She just prefers the taste of peanut oil in this recipe.) Do NOT forget to season your pork. (Salt and pepper.)
While that is starting to brown, grab yourself a celery matchstick maker (not to be confused with a candlestick maker)...aka "Mama". Yes, indeed, I have the fabulous (i.e. "fabulous" = pain in the butt but worth it) job of matchsticking the celery. And slice your celery into matchsticks. about 2 inches long.
Toss an onion into a food processor and process it into a fine dice. Then toss it into your browning pork.
Then, squish your garlic cloves into the pork...you might wanna check on the "moisture" in the pork at this time. If you find it's a little dry, toss in some...guess? Yup, butter!!
Next up, grab your line up.
Drain the sprouts and the water chestnuts...then give the water chestnuts a rough chop. Like this here. (OMG. I'm dying. "Like this here..." Sorry, family joke.)
Next add in the celery, let it cook down for a bit (5 min?) then add in the sprouts and water chestnuts and you'll get something that looks like this:
Now, you're gonna take that pot and turn it into a glorious vat of egg roll innards.
My adorable aunt. I mean, THIS is my adorable aunt. Do not add my adorable aunt to your egg roll innards. I would miss her at family gatherings...we'd have no one to pick on then.
And again with the hand measuring...sugar this time. Yup, a lot. More than I ever really knew went into her meals! (Secret # 4,387 that I've learned thus far...)
And, all the rest of the stuff. BTW, ginger in a tube? Must. Get.
Mix it all up and you have just created a magical, miraculous dish of delicious yumminess that could be enjoyed over rice...but we're gonna stuff our egg roll wrappers with it...
Crack an egg and find the cutest little girl you know to help you beat it up.
Right about here, if I were a good food blogger, I would show you a photo of the process of egg roll wrapping. But, I'm flaky. And I was hungry. And those dang egg rolls just looked so good I plum forgot to take a photo of the wrapping process. I'll do my best to explain...
Lay wrapper at an angle, so you're looking at a diamond shape vs. the square shape. Take a heaping soup spoon full of the meat mixture and lay it in the middle, but slightly nearer the top. Starting with top point, pull wrapper over mixture, then pull in sides, and roll toward end point. Brush bottom point of wrapper with egg wash to help for a seal and prevent your glorious egg roll mixture from oozing out during frying.
While you're wrapping, fill up your skillet with oil (peanut again, unless you have allergies...then, duh.) and begin to heat it up. It's the right temp when a drop (DROP) of water sizzles furiously when dropped into the oil.
Don't crowd your egg rolls, just nestle them nicely in their hot oil bath and turn them when they are golden brown on the first side.
Then, if you want the BEST sweet and sour sauce, drive yourself to Byerly's (Lund's?) and get this:
Oops, how'd SHE sneak in there?!
THIS is what you want. Not my baby. If you see my baby at Byerly's, please send her home.
Then, when you're egg rolls are nicely golden brown on both sides, set them on paper towels to drain and refrain from going all Cookie Monster, "ME WANT EGG ROLL!!!!!" on them, 'cuz these suckas are HOT right off the bat.
Not that my burned mouth is proof of that, or anything.
Then dig in and enjoy!!
Gram's Egg Rolls
2# ground pork
3 cloves garlic, ground
1 lg onion, finely diced
8 celery ribs, "matchsticked"
2 cans water chestnuts-drained and chopped
2 cans bean sprouts-drained
4-6 T molasses
1 T Hoisin sauce
4-6 T soy sauce
1 T pepper
Salt to taste (make sure to taste before adding salt, as the soy sauce contains a lot of salt)
1 T white sugar
4-6 T cornstarch (to thicken)
1/2-1 T minced ginger (or ginger in a tube...whatever floats your boat)
2 packages Egg Roll wrappers (check in the produce section)
Brown pork, garlic and onion in peanut oil. Add celery matchsticks and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add water chestnuts and bean sprouts and heat through. Add remaining ingredients (except egg roll wrappers, aduh.) and simmer until thick and bubbly and delicious. Begin heating peanut (or other) oil in skillet at this point, to about 350*F.
Let mixture cool a bit (the wrappers get soft and can "rupture" if the mixture is too hot for this step), then wrap in wrappers as follows:
Lay wrapper at an angle, so you're looking at a diamond shape vs. the square shape. Take a heaping soup spoon full of the meat mixture and lay it in the middle, but slightly nearer the top. Starting with top point, pull wrapper over mixure, then pull in sides, and roll toward end point. Brush bottom point of wrapper with egg wash to help for a seal and prevent your glorious egg roll mixture from oozing out during frying.
When you have enough egg rolls for a "batch" in the skillet, begin to fry them, flipping once when golden brown and continue to fry on flip side until golden brown all around.