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Larry Crowe, Associated Press
Use large, square wonton wrappers, preshredded veggies and deli meat to make Easy Egg Rolls.

No matter how delicious they are when you pick them up from your favorite Asian takeout, egg rolls always seem to turn into cold, oily logs by the time you get them home.

Like so many fried foods, egg rolls are meant to be eaten hot and almost immediately after cooking. Getting them at their prime means either eating them at the restaurant or making them at home.

The latter isn't as daunting as it sounds. Great egg rolls can be made in less time than it takes to get takeout.

First, the wrappers. Wontons, which can be found in a variety of sizes in the produce section of most grocers, are best. Large square wrappers are the easiest to fold around a filling.

It is important to seal the edges of the wrapper when folding. Otherwise, they can open during frying. This recipe uses egg, but water also could be used.

Most egg rolls are stuffed with a blend of vegetables and meat. The bagged shredded coleslaw mixes offered by most grocers are perfect for egg rolls. They usually contain cabbage, carrots and several other vegetables.

For the meat, you could brown ground pork, but that dirties a pan and takes time. Faster and equally tasty is chopped deli-sliced ham. Lump crab meat, chopped cooked shrimp or tofu also would be good.

Canola oil is the best bet for frying. It can handle the heat (350 F) and imparts no taste of its own. The result is a crisp, savory egg roll that can be eaten at just the right time and temperature.

EASY EGG ROLLS

Start to finish: 30 minutes

3/4 pound deli sliced ham

2 cups coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage, carrots and other vegetables)

1 cup mung bean sprouts

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup fish sauce

Twenty 6-inch square wonton wrappers (sometimes called egg roll wrappers)

1 egg, beaten

2 to 4 cups canola oil

Bottled duck sauce, to serve

Preheat oven to 200 F. To make the filling, place the ham in a food processor and pulse until it is coarsely ground. Alternatively, use a knife to finely chop it. Transfer the ham to a medium bowl.

Add the coleslaw mix, sprouts, scallions and fish sauce. Toss to mix well.

Set a wonton wrapper flat on the counter, with one of the corners pointed toward you. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling across the center of the wonton (between the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions).

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the edges of the wonton with egg. Fold the corner of the wrapper closest to you (the 6 o'clock position) over the filling, gently tucking the corner under the filling.

Fold both side corners over the center, then roll the entire thing away from you, creating a tight cylinder. Set aside and repeat with remaining ingredients.

Once all the rolls are formed, add about 1 inch of oil to a large, deep saucepan. Heat the oil over medium until it reaches 350 F (use a clip-on or instant read thermometer).

Use a slotted spoon to carefully lower 3 or 4 egg rolls at a time into the oil, frying for about 2 minutes, turning as needed, until crispy and lightly browned. Transfer the rolls to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining rolls.

Once the cooked rolls have drained, transfer them to a clean ovenproof plate and place in the oven to keep warm while the remaining rolls cook. Serve hot with duck sauce. Makes 20 egg rolls.