Crisp, with a steaming hot center and dipped into a sweet sauce, egg rolls are a study in contrasting textures and flavors.
Pre-roasted char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) from a Chinese barbecue is the easiest way to start your filling, though you can also substitute cooked ground pork with a bit of hoisin sauce.
A quick stir-fry of julienned carrots, napa cabbage, and shiitake mushroom caps forms the bulk of the filling.
Keep Your Wrappers Under Cover
Spring roll and egg roll wrappers dry out very quickly. Keep them under plastic or under a damp kitchen towel while you work.
One At a Time
Lay one sheet down with a corner pointed towards you.
Add your filling to the lower third of the wrapper, keeping it in a nice, tight row.
Roll from the bottom corner towards the top, keeping everything nice and tight. You don't want large air pockets in there! Roll until nearly half way up, then stop.
The next step is to fold the left and right corners towards the center. Start by first pressing in on the edges of the filling with your fingertips to make sure it's packed nice and tight.
Fold the corners towards the center, again keeping everything tight. Moistening the edges of the wrapper with a bit of water will help it stick to itself and keep its shape. You want the bottom edge to form a 90° angle with the new edge you've just created by folding over the corner.
After both corners have been folded in, continue rolling towards the top of the paper.
Moisten the top corner of the wrapper with a bit of water and continue rolling until the entire package is sealed.
The ends of the spring roll should form a neat, tight package like this, with no large bits of rice paper hanging out. Practice!
Deep fry the spring rolls in a wok with 350°F peanut, canola, or vegetable oil until light golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.
Serve egg rolls immediately while they're still hot.