Chả giò- Vietnamese Springrolls
Whenever I eat chả giò it reminds of the house parties where families would gather together and feast on colossal amounts of Vietnamese food.
The men would be in a separate room from the women, with slabs of beer stacked up against the wall. They would sit around in a circle and drink Victoria Bitter (or as we like to call it ‘Vietnamese Beer’) and yell “Dô” (cheers).
As the loud yelling kept flowing so did the beer, cups would be continuously filled to the brim. The goal for these macho rituals was to keep drinking until someone would admit defeat. Usually a friendly fight or two would break out because someone would accuse another person of cheating and not finishing his drink (the trouble-maker was usually my dad).
The men would have to quash any doubts of their masculinity by chugging the glass of beer down without stopping. While these scenes would play out in the lounge room or back-yard of our surburban home; the women would be in the kitchen cooking.
In the kitchen, the floor would be lined with newspaper and the women would be squatting over mountains of fresh herbs and vegetables that needed to be be plucked and sorted. Incessant loud chopping noises could be heard over roaring laughter. The wok would hiss and sizzle as the springrolls would be fried golden. Plates would be sent out of the kitchen piled high with meat and vegetables.
Occasionally a child would slow down the production by running into the kitchen and beg for a springroll with their little out-stretched hands. These requests were always happily fulfilled before being shooed out of the kitchen and told to play outside.
Every Vietanmese family has thier own secret recipe for chả giò, some have more fish sauce or salt, some even have crab meat. Here is my version of chả giò or as the Americans know it, egg rolls.
Makes 50 rolls. Preparation time for the filling is about 30 minutes and the rolling time is about an hour or more. You can make a big batch and freeze some, or grab a friend or relative to help you.
If you do decide to freeze them, a tip is to fry them frozen when you next eat them. You don’t need to defrost them.
500gm of free range or organic mince pork
½ white onion
2 cloves of local garlic
100gms of black fungus mushroom (you should be able to get fresh mushrooms grown in Australia, if not you can use dried mushrooms from your local Asian grocery store)
1 small carrot (peeled if not organic)
100gm of glass noodles, soaked in warm water for 20mins
3tbls fish sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbls cornflour mixed with 1 tbls water
1/2 litre of rice bran or vegetable oil
1. Take the springroll wrappers out of the packet and place on a clean plate with a damp towel over it. The wrappers are usually sold frozen so it will take about 30-60mins to defrost depending on how warm your kitchen is.
2. Once the wrappers have defrosted, peel one sheet at a time. Put them back under the damp cloth until you are ready to roll. This will keep them moist and pliable.
3. Make your paste to seal springrolls using cornflour and water (paste is pictured below on the right).
4. Add fish sauce, salt, sugar and white pepper to the pork mince.
5. In a food processer mince your onion, garlic, carrot and black fungus coarsely, add to the pork mince.
6. Drain the noodles and chop into little pieces and mix in with the the rest of the ingredients.
7. On a clean plate take one wrapper and place 1 tablespoon of the mixture on the edge of the wrapper.
8. Use your fingers to even out the mixture and form a small log.
9. Fold the edge over to hold in the mixture and roll once. Then fold the left and right sides in.
10. Continue to roll until you get close to the edge.
11. Seal the edge by dipping your finger into the corn flour paste and wet the edge of the wrapper. Place the roll seam side down on big plate or baking tray this should hold it in place.
12. Once you have rolled all the springrolls heat a wok or small pot for deep frying. Pour in the oil and wait for little bubbles to appear on the surface or you can dip a wooden chopstick in the oil to see if there a little bubbles. The springrolls should take 2-3 minutes to fry and become golden brown delicious.
Serve with lettuce, fresh herbs and nuoc mam cham.
Lady Rice xx
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