There’s Wheat in an Egg Roll Wrapper?
Sadly for a celiac house, wheat is in egg roll wrappers! One of the assumptions people tend to make with East Asian foods is that it contains only traditional East Asian ingredients. Even the people who work at these restaurants are shocked to find that wheat, a considered a Western and Middle-Eastern staple, is in many of their dishes. The truth is that wheat reached China about 4500 years ago and is found in many South and East Asian cultures and ingredients. Most infamously in the misleadingly named soy sauce, which usually has a wheat to soy ratio of 1:1 and not at all like the traditional recipe.
We, too, once made the culturally ignorant assumption that rice is the only grain in East Asian foods. Most disappointingly, I thought that egg roll and wonton wrappers must be made from rice paper. Both in China and in Americanized Chinese food, wrappers usually comprise of wheat flour, egg and water. For what it’s worth, the transparent, chewy wrappers usually labeled as “spring rolls” in America, are usually rice. Well, even if I can’t order any egg rolls, I can make the egg roll filling into a stir fry. Plus, it’s infinitely easier to make!
We have made numerous other versions of this dish, and found ourselves consistently tweaking the flavors. We combined shredded cabbage, onions, carrots and mushrooms with ground pork (actually a mix of ground beef, pork and turkey is even better) to make a great one pot dish. It’s also a fast, last minute dish to throw together with long-lasting, affordable veggies you likely already have in your fridge. We use our huge Lodge cast iron wok to make quick, fun work of the stir frying.
Tips & Tricks
I do have some tips to save you time and money on this dish as well. Since I so rarely use ginger and fresh ginger, what I buy languishes in the fridge for a long time. Instead, I buy squeeze bottle ginger these days, which lasts a lot longer. I also buy raw sesame seeds and toast them myself ahead of time so they’re always available. Finally, to save you the time of slicing the cabbage, try using the shredder or slicer attachment of a food processor and achieve the same results. You could also use prepped bagged mixes.
We recommend you double this recipe. We make it in our cast iron wok and love to have leftovers! If you're feeding a crowd serve with jasmine rice, the juices from serving this on top will flavor it perfectly.
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil (or fat of choice)
- 4 C thinly sliced cabbage*
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots shredded*
- 1/2 C shiitake mushrooms, diced
- 1 lbs ground pork, or a mix of pork, beef, and turkey
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp grated ginger
- 1/2 C tamari or coconut aminos**
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- **1 Tbsp mirin for sweetness (not needed if coconut aminos used)
- 3+ green onions, sliced
- 1/4 C toasted sesame seeds
- *use food processor to make this quick work, or you can buy bagged "coleslaw" mixes and just use them
- Heat avocado oil over medium high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
- Using a large saute pan or wok, stir Fry cabbage, onion, carrot, mushrooms until softened, about 6 minutes. You want enough room to really be able to stir in the sauce and flavors well to distribute evenly as it cooks down.
- Add ground meat, garlic, and ginger until thoroughly mixed, continue to cook until browned. (alternatively, you could combine in a small bowl before adding to pan if you do not have one large enough to stir well together)
- Add sauce ingredients (tamari or aminos, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and mirin) to the pan and stir to combine. Simmer for ten minutes.
- Add green onions and sesame and stir in. Stacy likes to add a LOT more green onions (her favorite Asian dish is Mongolian Beef ), so garnish accordingly! Remove from heat and serve.
Note, Mirin is very sweet and hard to find with ingredients you may be OK with. Instead try Coconut Aminos, available at nearly all grocery stores, Trader Joes, Thrive Market, etc. It's flavor is naturally sweeter than Tamari, making Mirin not needed.
Serve over rice or cauli-rice (now found in many freezer sections!) for a complete meal. Or serve as one of a bunch of different dishes just like a family style take out night. We served this to 4 foster kids from different backgrounds, one who claimed to not like cabbage, and it was a crowd pleaser!
Pin to save for later!