Crispy, crunch egg rolls are a favorite addition to Chinese takeout, but these treats are high in fat and calories. You can lighten up your favorite egg rolls by baking, instead of deep frying, them. Baked egg rolls maintain all the flavor of the classic, as well as the crisp texture. One baked egg roll contains 130 to 150 calories, while a traditional Chinese restaurant deep-fried egg roll contains 222 calories.
While egg roll wrappers are an essential for any egg roll, you can vary what goes inside the egg roll. The traditional egg roll filling is a mixture of ground pork, napa cabbage or bok choy, carrots and green onions. Replace the pork with shredded chicken or even with chickpeas or a vegetarian meat substitute. Or opt to fill your egg rolls with just vegetables, including cabbage, bean sprouts, water chestnuts or your family favorites. While baking alone will make this a healthier choice, simple changes to the filling can add nutrition and lower the fat.
Fat adds flavor, so increasing the seasonings in your baked egg rolls will help make up for the missing fat. While soy sauce often seasons the egg roll filling, try adding garlic, cilantro and dark sesame oil for a richer flavor. Mix up dipping sauces to make these egg rolls a dish to remember. Try a hot mustard sauce for spice or a sweet mixture of soy sauce and honey for a kid-friendly dipping experience. If you are watching your sodium intake, use low-sodium soy sauce. Regular soy sauce has 1005 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon, while low-sodium soy sauce contains 511 milligrams per tablespoon. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your sodium intake to 1005 milligrams per day.
Making the Egg Rolls
Stir fry your ingredients in vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray before filling the egg rolls. Start with the slowest cooking ingredients, like meat. Add the finely chopped or shredded vegetables and seasonings and cook briefly. Use a small amount of cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken your egg roll filling if it seems overly moist or watery. Allow the filling to cool completely before placing a small amount in each wrapper, rolling them, and securing the edges with a mixture of flour and water. Avoid overfilling the egg rolls. Baked egg rolls are more delicate than fried ones, so overfilling could result in broken or messy egg rolls.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust a cookie sheet lightly with cornstarch. Brush the egg rolls with vegetable oil on all sides. Place each egg roll on the cornstarch dusted sheet, with the seam side down. Bake 10 minutes, then turn each roll so the seam side faces up. Rotate the cookie sheet and bake 10 more minutes. Serve hot.
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With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.