lamb eggroll

Lamb Egg Rolls

 

lamb eggroll

Lamb Egg Rolls

These egg rolls are inspired by Uyghur lamb samsa.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 38 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings 12 egg rolls

Ingredients
  

filling:

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 Napa cabbage, sliced lengthwise then chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 carrot julienned
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

for the wrapping:

  • 18 oz egg roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten

dipping sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons black vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame chili oil

Instructions
 

  • Brown the lamb with the garlic in a large pan. Drain off any excess grease. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the cabbage and carrot are just softened.  Remove from heat and allow to cool until comfortable to handle, about five minutes.
  • Heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a large, shallow pan to 350. Place a small amount of filling (about 1/4 cup) in the center of the egg roll in sort of a log shape on each wrapper.
  • Place the wrapper so it like a diamond in front of you then fold each side towards the middle, brushing each edge with egg, and roll towards the top. Repeat until the filling is gone.
  • Fry until golden, flipping occasionally, drain on paper towel-lined plates.
  • Whisk together the dipping sauce, divide it into sauce bowls.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • I used Twin Dragon eggroll wrappers, my personal favorite.
  • Reheat egg rolls on a paper towel-lined baking sheet in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes. 

I posted a recipe recently for samosa eggrolls that were an entry for a contest. They were actually the second eggrolls I made last month. I also made these lamb egg rolls and I have to say, I liked them even more than the samosa eggrolls which were excellent so you know these are really good. The theme for the contest was “fusion” and I decided to make egg rolls (a very Chinese American dish) filled with an Uyghur cuisine inspired lamb filling. We don’t see a lot of food from Xinjiang Provence in the United States so I was worried it would require too much explanation and I wasn’t sure if it quite fit the brief (Chinese-American-Chinese fusion?) so I held back on the recipe.

I’ve had the good fortune to try the cuisine when in NYC during the before times and loved it. The Uyghur population in the US is very small so there are few Uyghur restaurants but if you have the opportunity, take it! The Uyghur are facing ongoing genocide in China and members of the group who are living outside of China have been trying to preserve their culture as best they can and in one of those ways is through food. Here is an article that goes into a little more detail and it has some links to more information.  What is going on is truly horrific yet I hear little of it in the US press even though the US fairly recently classified what is going on as genocide and introduced new sanctions.

Uyghur food is fairly meat-heavy and as they are largely Muslim, doesn’t utilize pork but rather makes a lot of use of beef and lamb. I had some delicious samsa (sort of a cousin to a samosa–it is a spiced meat pastry) filled with lamb that I based this egg roll recipe on. Now that I think of it, both of my egg roll recipes were based on pastry-wrapped meat dishes that no doubt had similar evolutionary roots.

I really can’t be more excited about these egg rolls. I always feel like egg rolls are too much effort until I make them and realize that they are slightly time-consuming but if you are using store-bought wrappers (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t) they roll up easily and even though I am a little sloppy and not as exact and precise as my husband is when he makes, well, anything, I’ve never had one come out less than perfect. These are just juicy, savory, flavor-packed perfection, and the dipping sauce really sets it off. Black vinegar (also known as Chinkiang vinegar)  is easy to find in any store that has a large Chinese or pan-Asian section and is used in other Uyghur dishes as both an ingredient and as a condiment. Well worth picking up a bottle!

 

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