These crispy Vietnamese spring rolls are a tasty treat!
Spring rolls or Cha gio are a well beloved food in Vietnam. These crispy rolls are usually made with ground pork or crab that is wrapped in thin rice or wheat wrappers before they are fried. Traditionally the rolls were eaten by hand and would be served with lettuce leaves and fresh herbs before being dipped into a sauce. Or they were used in a popular dish Bun voi rau thom or Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs. Spring rolls are often confused with Summer rolls because of their similar names. Summer rolls are fresh rolls made with rice noodles, herbs, cooked shrimp and pork, wrapped in rice papers. While Spring rolls are made with raw pork or crab that is cooked once the rolls are fried.
Eating and making spring rolls always takes me back to childhood. My father, cousins, aunts, uncles, and I would sit down together at a table covered with spring roll wrappers, pork filling, and little bowls of water. We would sit and wrap dozens of rolls together for large family parties. It would bring us closer together because we would laugh and talk about what was going on in our lives. One of my best more recent memories of spring rolls was a few years ago when my husband and I were still dating. It was around the holidays and he had not met most of my extended family yet. We arrived at their house and were greeted enthusiastically by my family members. Not long after we had arrived, one of my distant relatives, an older woman we always called “Auntie”, had led my boyfriend to the table and started to have him wrap spring rolls without saying a word. I thought it was sweet and in our own special way it showed that he was already part of the family. I hope this recipe brings you joy and brings your family closer together!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe
Yields 25 rolls
Prep Time 25 minutes
Assembly: 20 to 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
2 ounces dried thin rice noodles (rice vermicelli)
1 pound ground pork
1 egg beaten
1 cup carrot, grated
½ white or yellow onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon sugar
25 thawed out 8 x 8-inch spring roll wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying
Serve: Nuoc Cham* (recipe below) and lettuce
Soak rice noodles in cold water until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain well; cut into 2-inch long pieces.
Combine the noodle pieces, pork, 1 egg, carrot, garlic, and onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle in sugar, fish sauce, salt, and black pepper. Stir filling mixture well. (Using your hands is best).
Assembly: Place one wrapper on a work surface, keeping remaining wrappers covered with a clean kitchen towel (to prevent them from drying out). Make sure the wrapper is angled so it makes a “diamond” shape. Put two tablespoons of filling near the bottom quarter of the diamond, and shape filling into a thin 3-4 inch log. Fold the bottom corner of wrapper over filling. Fold the left and right corners over first fold, overlapping slightly and aligning bottom edges. Roll up until wrapper resembles an open envelope. Dab top corner with water, then seal and roll the wrapper into a long thin roll, making sure the ends stay tucked inside. Place on a tray, seam side down. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
Frying: Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a 5- to 6-quart pot over moderately high heat until it registers 365°F on thermometer. Fry rolls in batches, do not overcrowd the pot. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. (Return oil to 365°F between batches.) Transfer fried spring rolls to paper towels and drain.
Serve hot with Nuoc Cham or sweet chili dipping sauce and lettuce.
Substitution: You can replace the ground pork with ground chicken or ground turkey for a leaner appetizer!
*Nuoc Cham Recipe
Yields 1 cup
Prep Time 3 minutes
Active Time 1 minute
3 tablespoons of sugar
6 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
2/3 cup warm water
1 clove of garlic, minced
Optional garnishes: 1 tablespoon carrots, shredded, or 2 chili peppers, sliced
Add all the ingredients into a jar and mix together until well incorporated.
If using right away pour some of the liquid into a sauce dish and garnish to preference.
If not using right away, put lid on the jar. The nuoc cham will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
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