Jewish Pastrami Egg Rolls


It wasn’t until I moved to New York City for college that I learned how much affinity the Jewish population there has for Chinese food. In joining my new Jewish friends for Sunday dinners, I was surprised that we’d usually end up having Chinese food, some of which was even kosher! Since then, I’ve learned a great deal about Chinese food from my friend Ed Schoenfeld, the New York restaurateur behind Red Farm and self- described Chinese food expert who popularized this egg roll with pastrami, which tastes like the Chinese specialty la rou but is much easier to find and is quintessentially New York.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying the egg rolls

1 small yellow onion, diced

¼ pound lean pastrami, cut into thin strips

1 ½ cups prepared sauerkraut, well drained

2 tablespoons brown mustard, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

10 egg roll wrappers (available by the package in the frozen food section of Asian groceries), thawed

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until translucent. Scrape the onions into a medium bowl, add the pastrami strips, sauerkraut, mustard, and mayonnaise and toss to mix well.

For each egg roll, lay a wrapper on a clean work surface with
one point facing you, forming a diamond shape. Put a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center and fold the bottom point up, just over the filling. Fold the two side points over the center, and then dab a little water on the top point. Roll upward to seal the top. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Lay the egg rolls on a baking sheet, spacing them so they do not touch. Line a serving platter with paper towels and set it near the stove.

Pour vegetable oil into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan to
a depth of 1 ½ inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until it measures 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches, fry the egg rolls for 2 to 3 minutes, until the outside of the wrapper is golden brown and slightly blistered. As they are done, transfer the cooked egg rolls to the platter. Serve at once, with extra mustard on the side.