Egg Roll In A Bowl Ditches The Fried Wrapper And Keeps All The Flavor

While the exact origins of the egg roll may be disputed, there's no question that the little fried pockets of meat and vegetables have become a staple dish in Chinese-American cuisine. Whether you order takeout or dine out at your favorite eatery, they make for an ideal accompaniment to your Kung Pao chicken or beef and broccoli entrée. Unfortunately, that doughy egg roll wrapper tends to make the bite a bit heavy, and it may not be ideal if you're avoiding fried foods for health or dietary reasons. 

If you crave the taste of egg rolls but would prefer to go without the deep-fried shell, you can always opt for an "egg roll in a bowl." Simply put, this concept involves taking all the classic egg roll fillings you love and serving them sans the fried wrapper. You'll still be able to enjoy all the flavor without getting bogged down by fried dough. The best part? This twist on the dish is extremely versatile, so you can get creative with the preparation and enjoy it in a multitude of ways. 

You can eat the filling on its own as a side dish or appetizer, or bulk it up by serving it over rice or noodles. To start, you'll want to gather your classic egg roll ingredients, including cabbage, carrots, ginger, and sesame oil for that classic flavor. If you'd like, you can also add onions, celery, mushrooms, and a protein component like beef, pork, or chicken.

How to make your egg roll in a bowl

To achieve that distinct egg roll filling texture, the secret is in the shredding. Be sure to shred your cabbage and carrots, and finely chop any of your other meat and veggie ingredients. For the perfect step-by-step instructions for preparing your bowl fillings, you can turn to Tasting Table's own vegetarian egg roll recipe – just up until the add-to-wrapper part. Recipe developer Alexandra Shytsman of The New Baguette blog creates this plant-based mixture using shiitake mushrooms in place of ground pork, but if you'd like to include meat in your recipe, simply brown it up in a pan before adding the other ingredients.

Per the recipe, you'll want to add the shredded cabbage, carrots, and other components to a saucepan with canola and sesame oil. Cook them all up until softened — which should take about five minutes — then top with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper and cook for another 30 seconds more. Once everything is nicely seasoned and softened, you can serve the "filling" as a warm side, or serve it over white or brown rice. 

You might even try mixing it into chow mein noodles for a fun, egg roll-inspired take on the dish. Whichever way you choose to enjoy the shredded vegetables and meat of your egg roll in a bowl, the whole shebang should take less than 30 minutes to prepare. Plus, you'll save yourself the trouble (and potential indigestion) of frying up those greasy shells.