Ella’s Island: Soviet Egg Rolls


Lots of Polish and Russian immigrants came through Ellis Island. Fewer Chinese came there but this snack nods to the not-too-much-later wave of Asian immigrants as well. Inspired by borscht, Polish cabbage rolls,  Blintzes, and Chinese take-out.


  • 1 finely-shredded white cabbage (or a bag of shredded cabbage)
  • 1 chopped white onion
  • fresh dill
  • sour cream
  • 1 package egg roll wrappers
  • OPTIONAL: 1 package smoked kielbasa (and if you do this, halve the other quantities or get a second package of eggroll wrappers)
  • oil for frying
  • for borscht sauce:
    • 3 beets or 1 can of beets with juices
    • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp allspice
    • salt and pepper


  • For borscht sauce, blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth, then cook in a saucepan until the desired consistency (ketchupy), then allow to cool
    • Season to your preference but the dominant flavor is tangy, then slightly sweet
  • Sautee the onion in oil until translucent
  • Add the finely-shredded cabbage and stir for a few minutes until it’s just starting to soften.
  • Finely mince the dill and stir it in, then turn off the heat, and allow the ingredients to sit together as it cools
  • For each eggroll, add either 2-3 TB of veg or a piece of kielbasa and 1-2 tsp of veg, and roll it like a burrito
    • With one square wrapper in front of you, gently dampen the 4 edges
    • Put filling at bottom with 1/2″ margins at bottom and 1″ L/R
    • Roll once away from you, then fold in L and right sides, then continue rolling away from you
  • Fry in a skillet of 1-2″ sizzling-hot vegetable oil, frying 6 at a time and gently turning after 2 minutes or when brown and then removing to a paper toweled-plate to absorb excess oil
    • If you have a deep fryer, you do you
    • If you want to try baking them or sautteeing them go for it, that is actually more Russian and anyway the contents are fully cooked at this point so you don’t have to overthink it
  • Serve with borscht dipping sauce and sour cream

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