November 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
I love these cha gio spring rolls as much as I love pho. Whenever I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, I can easily finish 10 of these rolls on my own, which is a little embarrassing in public, especially when dining with others. Now, thank God I can stuff my face with as many as I want in the comfort and privacy of my own home. Just a little secret between me and the deep fryer. Mmmm…
These are delicious. I’ve made them countless times over the past few years when I first discovered that I could learn how to make them at home, and now you can too. I may or may not have inhaled more than 10 of these in the making of this post.
I also love this recipe because they freeze so well. A bit time-consuming to make, admittedly, but when you have a spare afternoon and a marathon of television to watch (for me, it was the Sopranos), it makes the time fly by.
- I use square spring roll wrapping paper for this. They’re in the freezer section of any Asian supermarket. I also let them defrost completely because if you don’t, they will tear and it will be infuriating. (Not that this has happened to my impatient self numerous times….) Also, you can separate around 10-15 at a time and leave the rest under a moist paper towel or in the packaging because it’s a bit cumbersome to separate each sheet at a time.
- Try to get the filling as DRY as possible before rolling these. I made the mistake in the past in not pre-salting my vegetables and draining my noodles and they were a disaster. A delicious disaster, but it will not make for a pretty spring roll (holes, explosions, burnt stuff everywhere).
- As a side, I really like eating these with a quick pickled cucumber or some lettuce. For the cucumber, I do 2 cucumbers sliced very thin on a mandoline, 2 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt, and then set in the fridge for an hour, covered. I drain, then enjoy for a cool, crispy snack. And they taste really good with these spring rolls.
- Try to wrap these as tightly as possible. First, they’ll look prettier, but it will help keep the oil out of the roll.
- The dried wood ear mushroom has SO many names. Every time I’ve bought it, I’ve bought it under a different name. Including but not limited to: Auricularia auricula-judae, Jew’s ear, wood ear, jelly ear, etc.
- I like my rolls to be pretty equal in ratio for meat to veggies, and I found that this proportion lends to a deliciously tender, juicy roll.
- I LOVE the taste of taro in these rolls so used taro. But if you can’t find it, don’t worry about it. You can use jicama instead, but try to find taro. You will not be disappointed. And, I found that a big bonus is that the taro helps soak up excess moisture in the filling.
- Please taste test the filling with one dummy roll before rolling the entire filling’s worth. Adjust the taste with more salt if you prefer, I like to keep these pretty well-flavored but not overly salty because the sauce is very salty.
- I use a baking sheet to hold all the rolls and pop it directly into the freezer, and then after a few hours, I transfer all the frozen rolls into a ziploc bag.
- Don’t love/eat pork? Substitute with ground chicken.
Chả giò/Nem rán Cha Gio (Vietnamese Spring Roll) Recipe
Recipe yields 100 rolls
- 6 ounces bean thread noodles, dried
- 1 cup dried wood ear mushroom
- 4 small taro root
- 2 large carrots, around 2 cups shredded
- 1 large onion, shredded
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 lb ground pork
- 1 heaping tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 3 green onion, chopped
- 100 medium-sized wheat spring roll wrappers
- 1 tbsp cornstarch/potato starch
- 1 tbsp water
- frying oil
Dipping Sauce Ingredients
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp warm water
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- juice from 1 lime (around 2 tbsp)
- 1 chili of your choice (jalapeno, Thai bird chili, Jwala pepper, etc)
- shredded carrots
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil. In separate bowls, soak bean thread noodles and wood ear mushrooms for 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil and boil taro for 10 minutes. Drain bean thread noodles well and dry even further using a clean towel. Drain wood ear mushrooms and rinse carefully until water runs clear. Using rubber gloves, peel skin off of the taro (it should come right off) and shred. Using scissors, cut bean thread noodles and wood ear mushrooms into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, sprinkle 1 tsp salt over the shredded carrots and onion. Transfer to a colander set over a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes. Discard the fluid after 15 minutes, and add carrots and onion back to the bowl. Add the pork, bean thread noodles, wood ear mushrooms, garlic, salt, sugar, white pepper, and green onion. Using your hands, mix until everything is well combined.
- Assemble work station with filling, wrappers, baking sheet. Mix cornstarch/potato starch with 1 tbsp water to form a slurry. With a square in front of you in the shape of a diamond, add 1 tbsp worth of filling on the lower corner and shape it into a roughly cylindrical shape. bring up the bottom corner so that it covers the filling and then use your fingers to press it into the tube-like shape. Roll up until you get to the middle of the wrapper, and then bring in the left side, then right side, like you’re wrapping a burrito. Add a thin layer of slurry on the top corner and then roll the entire roll up, and set it aside, seam-side down on the baking sheet. You can use this one to taste test for filling salt-level. Repeat 99x. (Did I mention it’s really helpful to be engaged in some sort of television marathon at this point?)
- Heat a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed skillet with your oil of choice (I use vegetable) to 350°F. You’ll know the oil is hot enough when you add a spring roll and it starts sizzling on the sides. Fry for 4 minutes on each side and flip over, or until each side is golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
- For the dipping sauce: Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and mix well.