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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Egg rolls from Jenn Anderson

One thing most family members remember about my grandmother was her cooking. After she came to the United States from Japan after WWII, she quickly learned how to sling hash with the best of them. Her Japanese food was a staple as I grew up, along with her biscuits with gravy. And because of her passion to fill our bellies, my entire family can really cook. We pride ourselves on good food.

Today, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite recipes from my grandmother. Her egg rolls. I know what you’re thinking. Egg rolls aren’t Japanese but Chinese; actually a Japanese egg roll is exactly that. A thick egg, almost spongy, rolled and often served as a breakfast food or alongside sushi. But my grandmother put her own twist on this wonderfully, crunchy, totally bad for you, food item and once you have one, you won’t be able to stop.

 What you’ll need:

1 lb. ground beef

½ white onion chopped, fine

1-2 cloves of garlic, grated (I’ll explain later)

3-4 Tbsp of soy sauce (you can use low sodium)

2-3 button mushrooms (can omit)

2 cups of shredded cabbage

½ cup of bean sprouts (can omit)

1 pkg of egg roll skins (usually found in produce section; 15 per pack)

½ of a large pot filled with vegetable oil (get one bottle)

Start browning beef. Add in your chopped onions and stir. Next, toss in your mushrooms. I used ½ of a portabella mushroom I had on hand, but you can always omit. Stir around until mixed well. Then, grate 1-2 cloves of garlic over the pan with a microplane or grater. I learned this new trick on a favorite cooking show. It eliminates large chunks in your food. As you are adding ingredients, you will notice the meet browning, the onions getting clear and lots of juice in the pan. Don’t drain. Next, stir in your cabbage, 1 cup at a time. You don’t want to over whelm the pan, but have a nice mixing. I used 2 cups but you are welcome to use more or less; the cabbage will soak up the drippings. I was unable to find bean sprouts at the store but you’d add those next. Stir in 2 TBSP of soy sauce and mix. Take a taste as long as the meat is cooked. You don’t want it to overpower the pan. If you want more soy, add more, 1 TBSP at a time.

Once all mixed and cooked, cover with a lid and remove from heat. My grandmother never liked to roll egg rolls while the meat was hot. It would start cooking the skins and then you’d have a gooey mess. Wait until meat is room temperature.

Place your egg roll skin in front of you, looking like a diamond. Spoon about 1 heaping TBSP of mixture in a line across the diamond near the bottom. Bring the lower tip up, over the mixture until it hits just above ½ way. Fold in both sides then roll up. With the top tip sticking out, dab with a finger of water and wrap it around the roll. The water works as glue. As you roll, make sure to keep it tight and firm. If too loose, the filling will fall out while it cooks. Continue rolling until you’ve made them all.

Next, heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When oil it hot, slowly slide in up to 4 rolls at a time. They cook fast so keep an eye and try to turn them with tongs as you go to make sure all sides are browned. Once they are golden, remove, carefully allowing excess oil to drip. I placed my cooked ones on a cooling rack inside a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.  Allow to cool. I find they are best served at room temperature. Add your favorite sauce, soy, wasabi or mustard, and enjoy!  The outside should be crispy while the inside soft.

Thank you for cooking with me and thank you to Judy for having me on. You can catch my debut YA novella, Ice Princess, on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Smashwords and on the Turquoise Morning Press website. Like my cooking, as a YA author, I enjoy bringing a smile to people’s faces and a lasting memory of a sweet time. You can visit my blog at
 or my website at


  1. Thanks Judy and Jenn, for sharing this fascinating recipe. Jenn, I love how your grandmother became so American while holding on to her Japanese favorites. I hope you'll share more of her recipes!

    ~ Krista Davis

  2. Love to try new recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you Krista and Cheryl! I love to cook and have asked to come back and share. My grandmother is a strong influence in everything I do!