Vietnamese Recipes

Spicy Steve's Vietnamese Recipes

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
(cha gio in the south, nem ran in the north)

A mainstay at Vietnamese restaurants, spring rolls are traditionally eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves with fresh herbs and dipped in nuoc cham dipping sauce. The combination of these crispy rolls with fresh lettuce, herbs and the tangy dip is one of those uniquely memorable Asian food experiences. For extra crispy rolls, the version made around the old royal city of Hue in central Vietnam, are double fried.

- 1 packet dried rice paper rounds – 8 ½ inches diameter (Coconut Tree Brand is best)
- 8 cups warm water
- 2/3 lb ground pork
- 1/3 lb cooked crab meat
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup taro root, finely julienned
- 1/2 cup carrots, finely julienned
- 3 green onions cut thinly
- 6 shallots, chopped finely
- 6 dried wood ear mushrooms, stems removed, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to soften and then chopped finely
- 2 ounces bean thread noodles (cellophane), soaked in luke-warm water for 45 minutes, drained, then cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp white sugar to add to water
- 2 Tsp white sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Vietnamese Dipping Sauce for serving

1. Mix together in large bowl the eggs, fish sauce, garlic, salt, 2 tsp sugar, and black pepper.

2. Add in bean thread noodles, mushrooms, onion, taro root, green onions,carrots, crabmeat, pork and mix together gently.

Making Rolls:
1. Fill a large bowl with warm water and mix in the remaining sugar. This helps the rice paper to go golden in the cooking process.

2. Dip the rice paper rounds into the water one at a time. Immerse water to cover both sides. Lay rice rounds after they have softened on a damp kitchen cloth. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling on the bottom third of the sheet and using your fingers, shape into a cylinder. Lift the bottom edge over the filling, then fold in both sides. Roll into a small cylinder about 2/3 of an inch wide and 4 inches long. Place seam side down. Do not stack rolls as they will stick. Continue making rolls and setting them aside to dry. If any tears appear you can always patch them with another small piece of dampened rice paper.

3. Fill wok or skillet with enough oil to be at least 2 inches deep. Heat oil to around 360 degrees. Use about the same temperature in a deep fryer. Add rolls when oil is at correct temperature. Try not to crowd them Initially as they will stick and possibly rip. After cooking for a minute or so you can add more to the skillet, or a second layer in your deep fryer. You want to cook your rolls until golden brown and the rice paper is cooked on the inside. This can take 5 to 10 minutes depending on how you are maintaining the temperature of the oil. When you think they are ready, take a roll out, drain on paper towel and cut in half to check.  When ready remove all rolls to drain on paper towel and briefly cool.

4. Serve with lettuce leaves, fresh basil, Asian mint and cilantro and nuoc cham dipping sauce. You can serve whole or sliced into segments.