Vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio)

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
2 ounces Cellophane noodles, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, then drained and cut onto 1-inch lengths
1 pounds Ground pork
1 large Onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Tree ears, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, then drained and finely chopped
20 Sheets dried rice papers (banh trang)
Basic Vegetable Platter
Carrot Salad
3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Shallots or white part of 3 scallions, finely chopped
1 can (7 ounces) crabmeat, cartilage removed and meat flaked with fingers
½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
4 Eggs, well beaten
2 cups Peanut oil
Double recipe of Nuoc Cham




Here they are! The incomparable "Cha Gio" or Vietnamese spring rolls.

Yields 80 spring rolls.

Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Cut a round rice paper sheet into quarters. Place the cut rice paper on a flat surface. With a pastry brush, paint the beaten egg over the entire surface of each of the pieces. Before filling, wait for the egg mixture to take effect, softening the wrappers; this takes about 2 minutes. When you become adept at this, you can work on several wrappers at a time.

When the wrapper looks soft and transparent, place about 1 teaspoon of filling near the curved side, in the shape of a rectangle. Fold the sides over to enclose the filling and continue to roll.

After filling all the wrappers, pour the oil into a large frying pan, put the spring rolls into the cold oil, turn the heat to moderate, and fry for 20 to 30 minutes, until a lovely golden brown. (This is Bach's special method of keeping spring rolls crisp).

To serve the spring rolls, proceed as follows: Arrange the ingredients for the vegetable platter (lettuce, mint leaves, coriander, and the cucumber slices) according to the directions preceding. Have ready the carrot salad and a bowl of nuoc cham. Each person has a bowl into which he places a bit of lettuce, 2 or 3 mint leaves, some coriander, and 2 cucumber slices. Each person then adds 1 or 2 spring rolls to his bowl, sprinkles with the nuoc cham, and eats the spring rolls and vegetables together, using chopsticks or a fork.

Additional carrot salad may be added to taste.

Another very popular serving method calls for placing the vegetables on a lettuce leaf, adding the spring roll, and rolling it into a cylinder. Holding the cylinder with his fingers, each diner then dips it into his own small bowl of nuoc cham.

NOTE: We have found that frying the spring rolls in peanut oil keeps them crisper than frying in any other oil.

From "The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam", Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerman, Barron's, 1979.

Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; March 18 1991.

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