Cultural Tuesday

Cha Gio (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)

Tonight, I will have some friends coming over as we do not see each other often. It will be another night with a lot of drinks and karaoke. As host, I was thinking what kind of snacks I will be serving. We all like something, crispy, something cultural and warm. So I came up with Vietnamese Spring Rolls! I remember the time in Vietnam when my aunt bought those. It had a crispy, crunchy texture and not to forget to mention, it was a bit sticky because of the rice paper. Also, it is a nice appetizer for other dishes such as Phó, Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Note: this recipe is a shorten version of the Vietnamese Spring Roll. Let’s get started!

Ingredients (9 spring rolls)

  • 150g ground beef (preferable pork meat)
  • 200g shrimps (not cooked)
  • 40g vermicelli (glass noodles)
  • 1 bottle (1L) bottle of sun oil
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rice paper pack
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • (Optional) sliced cucumber
  • (Optional) lettuce
  • (Optional) mint leafs

Must have

  • Salt and pepper
  • (Optional) fish sauce
  • (Optional) chicken broth powder

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STEPS

Get a bowl and put one stack in it. Boil enough water to fill the bowl ¾. Let it soak for max 10 minutes. Afterwards, pour all the water out and catch the vermicelli with a sieve.

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CHOP the ingredients! Chop the garlic and shallot to small pieces. The carrot has to be chopped fine in the length. As you can see, my knife skills needs to be updated, but if you are not a professional the size on the picture is sufficient. Next, chop the shrimps to small pieces. Now, get a smaller bowl and break your egg to fill it with egg white.

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Get a big bowl (my bowl was too small), put the ground beef and shrimps in the bowl. Add 3 table spoon salt and pepper. Optional is too add any spices you want: chicken broth powder or fish sauce.

Mix the ingredients, add the chopped cloves, garlic, vermicelli and carrot one by one.

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Time to wrap the spring roll. It is important that the rice paper should not get to wet because then it will get less crunchy and you will have a firework effect in the hot sun flower oil. Also, when you fold the rice paper, it is necessary to fold it tidy.

The rice paper must be moist to wrap so I put my hands under the hot water and made a circle movement over the rice paper. Put one and half spoon of filling on the rice paper. It should be beneath the middle.

Fold the bottom rice paper over the filling ones. This helps to spread the filling on the sides. Afterwards, fold the sides in and wrap it up.

Repeat the steps till you are out of filling. If your wrapped up spring roll is too wet, let it stand for a few minutes till it is bit dry. Note: it will get sticky so do not stack them!

Heat up the up the pan (take a pan with high sides and a lid fits), pour ¼ of the sun flower bottle.

Use a wooden kitchen tool to put it in the pan. This way you can check if your pan is warm enough. In my case, chop sticks. If there are bubbles around the wood, then it is ready! Gently, put the spring rolls in the pan, again make sure that the spring rolls do not touch each other or else they will stick. Let it fry for 4-5 minutes till it is crispy brown and turn.

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Take out a plate with kitchen paper to drain the oil. So it will be dry and will give that crispy, crunchy texture.

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Normally, the dish is served with a lot of greens (lettuce and mint leafs) and “nuoc cham”, a Vietnamese fish dipping sauce, that consist mainly of fish sauce, garlic, carrot and sliced carrots.

Unfortunately, I forgot to buy some greens and did not have fish sauce on my shelf, so I used ketchup. It is a sauce and somehow green (according to the Americans -wink-).

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Bon Appetit!

 

 

Writted by Ray

 

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