Vietnamese spring rolls, or cha gio, roughly means “minced pork rolls” in Vietnamese language. The filling is made of group pork, shrimp, crab meat, with shredded carrots, mung bean noodles (cellophane noodles/glass noodles), etc., and the end result is utterly delicious and tantalizing. The deep-fried, crunchy, and golden brown exterior is just another plus..(get Vietnamese spring rolls or cha gio recipe after the jump)
The most refreshing part about Vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio) is that they can be served with fresh herbs and lettuce leaves. Eat them as is, of course, with nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce), or wrap your cha gio with fresh lettuce leaves and other aromatic herbs such as mint leaves (my favorite). Either way, they are deeply satisfying!
VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS (CHA GIO) RECIPE
Adapted from Inside the Southeast Asian Kitchen
Ingredients for Spring Roll:
• 2 pounds ground pork
• 2 pound small shrimp, minced
• 1 pound crab meat, coarsely chopped
• 5 pieces black fungus, reconstituted in some water, finely chopped
• 2 bunches of mung bean vermicelli, soak in some water to soften and cut into smaller strands.
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 shallot, minced
• 1 pound taro root
• 1 medium carrot
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• 1 egg (optional)
• 1 package spring roll rice paper wrap (Asian boy brand recommended)
• Salt to taste
• 3 big dashes ground black pepper
• Vietnamese rice paper
Ingredients for Fish Sauce for dipping
• 1 tablespoon fish sauce
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/4 cup water or fresh coconut juice
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (or 3/4 tablespoon vinegar)
• 1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce (optional)
Shred taro root and carrot. When dealing with taro root, wear a pair of gloves to prevent rashes.
Combine all ingredients except the spring roll paper in a large bowl and mix well.
Dip spring roll paper, one at a time, in a bowl of fairly hot water to soften it so that it’s pliable.
To roll the cha gio, place a piece of rice paper on a clean, wet kitchen towel. Dip your fingers in a bowl of warm water and run them all over the entire rice paper to soften it. Place 1 heaped tablespoon of filling on the moist rice paper, fold the rice paper over the filling, tuck in the sides, then roll to form a cyclinder about 3 inches long.
Bring the rice paper up to cover the meat mixture, fold the sides to the middle and continue to roll up into a bundle. Repeat until all the meat mixture is used up.
In a deep pot, heat 2-inches of oil for deep frying. Heat oil over medium heat in a wok or a large frying pan. When the oil is smoking, gently put in a few cha gio in the oil. Fry them slowly until they turn golden brown.
Serve immediately with nuoc cham or roll it up with a fresh lettuce leaf and some aromatic herbs and then dip into the nuoc cham.
To prepare the fish sauce for dipping, combine fish sauce, sugar, hot water, lemon juice and chili garlic sauce in a bowl. Mix until sugar dissolved. This dipping sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 4 weeks.
Here’s a video on how to wrap the spring roll which was video taped during the cooking session. (Click here to see the video)
1. Do not deep fry the cha gio on high heat because they splatter and most importantly, high heat causes the skin to bubble, break and burn. So patience is key, use medium to low heat during frying process.
Method for Fish Sauce Dip- Nuoc Cham
Boil water or coconut juice with vinegar and sugar; allow to cool. Combine chili, garlic, and lime juice, and add to the coconut mixture. Stir in the fish sauce.
Try adding shredded radish and carrot pickles as a variation on Nuoc Mam Cham.
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