Easy and Tasty Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe (Cha Gio/Nem Ran)
Cha Gio or Minced Pork Roll
Cha gio or minced pork roll is the most popular Vietnamese appetizer. This finger foods often translated as spring rolls because they look like a variant of Chinese spring rolls which is not correct and misleading.
This rolls are made from varying filling such as minced meat (commonly pork), shrimps, crab, mushrooms, carrot, cabbage and jicama and rolled up in rice paper then deep fried. Some Vietnamese who lives abroad like to use Lumpia wrapper or Chinese spring rolls wrapper which are crispier and have better presentation. But the true Vietnam cha gio use rice paper made of rice flour or combination of rice and tapioca flour.
Here is my simplified minced pork roll or cha gio recipe. It's easy to fix and of course delicious. Making and wrapping this roll at home is not impossible. You just need little bit practise and in no time you will master it. Homemade cha gio have better taste since it is fresh, contain no preservatives or msg and low cost. Serve this rolls for potluck, or picnic or snack time. Enjoy.
What You Need for Fixing Cha Gio
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 dried Chinese mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 scallions, finely minced
1/2 cup crab meat
1 cup ground chicken or pork
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup cellophane noodles (soaked and drained)
15-20 rice papers (banh trang) or spring rolls wrapper
vegetable oil for deep frying
sweet and sour fish sauce (dipping)
vegetables and herbs for garnishing
How to Fix Cha Gio
- Soak mushrooms in hot water for about 1 hour or until it is soft. Trim and discard hard stems. Drain and pat dry. Chop mushrooms coarsely. Set aside.
- Soak cellophane noodles in hot water until it soft and pliable. Drain and cut it into 1-inch lengths.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine egg, mushrooms, scallions, onions garlic, meat, crab meat, noodles, salt, ground pepper and cornstarch. Use your hand to knead it gently. Set aside and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Prepare a pastry brush, a bowl of warm water, and a dampened dish towel. Use dampened pasty brush to dampen whole surface of rice paper and place it on your work surface. Dry excess liquid with dampened dish towel. It will need about 2 minutes to soften the rice paper. When it is pliable and soft, place about 2 tablespoons filling of fillings on the lower third of rice paper area. Shape the filling into about 3-inch long log and 3/4-inch diameter. Then fold in rice paper on each side. Roll over the remaining edge to enclose the fillings.
- Repeat this procedure with the remaining ingredients. Put your rolls in a platter and do not stack it or it may stick to each other and tear.
- Heat oil over medium heat or about 325-350 F. It is important to use moderate low frying temperature to prevent the rolls from bursting and bubble skin. Add rolls and fry it about 5 to 10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
- Remove from the heat and drain it well. Transfer it to serving platter. Serve it warm with vegetables, herbs and dipping sauce.
- You can use Chinese spring rolls wrapper (or lumpia wrapper) which is crispier and brown beautifully, but not Chinese egg rolls wrapper which is too thick. For true traditional Vietnam flavor, use rice paper (banh trang)
- To freeze it, if you are stacking them, lay fried cha gio with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Throw it into the fridge. Once frozen, you can collect them and put in into plastic freeze bag. This method will prevent cha gio stick to each other.
- To reheat, I prefer to warm it up in the oven until it warm and crisp or you can return them to the room temperature and re-fry them.
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