Egg Rolls Meet Turnovers

egg rolls meet turnovers

Of course I’ve discussed my childhood love of Chinese restaurants before. By Chinese restaurants I mean Chinese-American restaurants, of course. As a kid nothing could get me in the car quicker than the promise of cheap fried shrimp. Unless of course it was the thrill of cheap fried giant egg rolls served with a plum sauce so sweet you could ice a Coca-Cola cake with it.

It seems like years since I’ve had big, crunchy egg rolls like those I grew up on in the 70s and 80s. They’re very hard to find in Los Angeles, though I can still eat them sometimes when I travel. There are places in Florida that still serve them. There are places in Florida where you can still find some of the other dinosaurs of my youth, such as Chicken Kiev and pimento cheese. I love California, but generally when you see egg rolls on the menu it really means spring rolls. However, when you see pimento cheese on the menu– you’ve probably made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Macon, Georgia. They have good pimento cheese in Georgia (where it’s properly pronounced pa-men-ah).

Of course I’m not discrediting spring rolls. Spring rolls are delicious and I’m sure more authentically Asian than the egg rolls I remember so fondly. Spring rolls are fresher too, with crunchy insides instead of crunchy outsides.

Oh well, times have changed and I’ve changed with them– but I still love egg rolls. However, they don’t have to be fried as long as they’re crunchy on the outside. They also don’t have to be served with that sickly sweet plum sauce.

My puff pastry version is a mash up of classic egg rolls and another crunchy favorite of mine, turnovers. I call them eggroll-overs. Which may be a little too cute. So I’ve decided to serve this updated version with a modern day sweet chile sauce that has plenty of heat. It’s my favorite part of this recipe (other than the crunch, of course). GREG

egg rolls prep

Cabbage and Carrot Eggroll-overs 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6Published

Note: Two sheets from a 17.3‑ounce package of puff pastry may be stacked, folded and rolled together as a substitute for the 14 ounce package recommended in this recipe, though there will be some extra pastry

Egg Rolls


  • 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • 1 small red Thai bird chili (thinly sliced crosswise, optional)
  • 2 clove garlic (peeled & minced, separated)
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 lime (juice only)
  • 3 tablespoon sambal oelek (or similar Asian style chili paste)
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
  • 2 green onions (white, light green & some dark green parts, thinly sliced, about ½ cup loosely packed)
  • ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • ½ cabbage (sliced slaw style, about 4 cups loosely packed)
  • 2 coarsely grated carrots (about 1 cup, moderately packed)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 (14 oz) package frozen all-butter puff pastry (thawed in the refrigerator)
  • 1 egg yolk (mixed with 1 teaspoon water as egg wash)
  • 2 teaspoon black sesame seeds


Add water, brown sugar and as many of the Thai bird chili slices as you like to a small sauce pan set over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan occasionally until the liquid has thickened somewhat, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir half the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, fish sauce, lime juice, chili paste and mint leaves. Set aside.

Place oven rack in center position. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-sized sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Add green onion, remaining minced garlic and mustard seeds stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cabbage, carrot, and ½ teaspoon salt to pan. Sauté stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in stock and continue stirring occasionally until the pan is nearly dry, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature. May be made up to 8 hours ahead to this point kept covered and refrigerated.

On a lightly floured work surface use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out puff pastry to a 10-by-15-inch rectangle, a scant ¼‑inch thick. Using a paring knife and a straight edge trim edges neatly and cut into six 5‑inch squares.

Spoon a generous ¼ cup vegetable mixture across the lower third of each puff pastry square, leaving a ½‑inch border along the bottom and both sides. Fold both sides inward covering the filling about ½‑inch. Then roll the bottom edge up and over the filling like a jelly roll, creating a 4‑inch tube about 2 ½‑inches in diameter. Place the filled rollovers seam-side down onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake in heated oven until puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with Sweet Chili Sauce on the side.