Before leaving for Canada, on a trip to my favorite antique place an hour away from where we stay, I got a good deal on a second hand copy of Todd Wilbur’s copycat recipes. The moment I got it I instantly bookmarked the recipes I wanted to try. One of the recipes I adapted for my Bruschetta post. The other, I am sharing today- Cheesecake Factory’s Copycat recipe for avocado egg rolls.
To be honest I have never tried the avocado egg rolls at the Cheesecake Factory. But the description of the recipe and the ingredients in its dipping sauce- tamarind, cashews, honey sure intrigued me to give it a try.
I made these egg rolls for the coffee I hosted the Friday that went and my friends really liked them. Then I made them again the next day and V really liked them. As for me, if something is fried, I always like it. Plus, I love avocado. And sun dried tomatoes. And tamarind based dipping sauces. Plus, I love it when things that I love come together pretty quickly as well. Bottom line, I love them!
There is hardly any prep required. The only part that I don’t like is the chopping of the onions- which left me in tears, like it always does. But besides that, the pre-prep is a breeze. And you have delicious egg rolls in no time.
While making these egg rolls, I was slightly confused about the difference between egg rolls and spring rolls. Egg rolls are a term I heard only after I came to the US. In India, we have spring rolls.
A quick google search did not help either since each site had something different to say. Some said egg rolls are a north american thing and spring rolls the traditional chinese version. Others claimed that egg rolls originated in China, while spring rolls are a Vietnamese dish, although now each country has its own versions of egg rolls and spring rolls. Another difference pointed out was in the filling- that egg rolls have meat in them while spring rolls vegetables, but then some sites refuted that theory as well, that nowadays egg rolls can be vegetarian and spring rolls have seen to have meat. Go figure.
A common difference that I found though was in the kind of wrapper used. Egg roll skins are thicker and made from noodle dough with eggs and spring roll skins are made without eggs similar to crepes, with a much thinner rice based wrapper.
Well whatever you want to call them, (I will choose egg roll because that’s what the Cheesecake Factory calls them), these egg rolls are extremely tasty and so easy to throw together if you have some friends coming over and need an appetizer.
Another thing I learnt while making these is that I have been going around wrapping egg rolls the wrong way. And the back of my egg roll wrapper showed me the correct way to do it and thought would share it with you as well.
The following photos are taken from my iPhone, and might not be of the highest quality, but they do the trick of explaining hopefully. You can use egg to brush on the sides of the wrappers so that they stick together, but I used water and in my experience it worked perfect as a glue.
And what can I say about the dipping sauce. Other than the fact that you MUST make it. I did get lazy the first time and did not. But, later regretted depriving my friends of the sauce. So do make it. Its just a question of throwing everything in the blender. Seriously. And yes, I can be so lazy at times that even throwing everything in the blender is a task. I am not proud of it. (Well, maybe just a little 😉 )
At the restaurant they are served on a plate of crispy fried noodles. So if you want to go all out, you should fry some noodles too. But, as you figured, I was too lazy to do that! And to be honest I did not miss any noodles.
- 1 large avocado, chopped into bite sized pieces (not too small, else you might end up mashing them when you mix it with the tomatoes and onions)
- 2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes (bottled in oil)
- 1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
- pinch salt
- 3 egg roll wrappers
- water, or beaten egg for brushing
- vegetable oil for frying
- ¼ cup cashews
- ⅔ cup chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch piece ginger
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 4 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp tamarind pulp (can be found in Asian stores)
- ½ cup honey
- pinch ground saffron (it's ok to leave it out if you have too much trouble finding it)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- You can add green chillies to the filling to make it spicy. Also pine nuts to the filling is a fun addition!
- Combine the cashews, cilantro, garlic, green onions, sugar, black pepper, and cumin in a food processor or blender and blend till mixture is well blended and paste like.
- Combine the vinegars, honey, tamarind and saffron in a small microwaveable bowl and heat for a minute in the microwave, then stir till the tamarind pulp is completely dissolved.
- Pour tamarind mixture into the blender and blend till well mixed.
- Pour blended sauce into serving bowl and add oil. Stir by hand to combine. Refrigerate sauce for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Combine the avocado, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and salt. Do not smash the avocados.
- Prepare egg rolls by spooning ⅓ of the filling into egg roll wrapper and roll it up as shown in the photograph above, brushing the corners and edges of the wrapper with the water or beaten egg. Keep them covered with a wet paper towel while you make the rest.
- Heat oil in a deep fryer or thick bottomed pan, over medium high heat.
- When the oil is hot enough, fry the egg rolls for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels
- When slightly cooler, slice each roll diagonally and serve with the dipping sauce.