Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Cha Gio) Recipe
Adapted from Inside the Southeast Asian Kitchen
6 oz. ground pork
2 oz. small shrimp, minced
1 oz. crab meat, coarsely chopped
Some shredded carrots
1 oz. mung bean noodles/cellophane noodles/glass noodles – soaked in hot water for 30 minutes or until they turn very soft
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
3 big dashes ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Salt to taste
1 small egg, lightly beaten (use only half)
Vietnamese rice paper
Chop the soaked mung bean noodles into shorter threads. In a bowl, mix the ingredients together to form a sticky filling.
To roll the cha gio, place a piece of rice paper on a clean, wet kitchen towel. Dip your fingers in a bowl of warm water and run them all over the entire rice paper to soften it. Place 1 heaped tablespoon of filling on the moist rice paper, fold the rice paper over the filling, tuck in the sides, then roll to form a cyclinder about 3 inches long.
Heat oil over medium heat in a wok or a large frying pan. When the oil is smoking, gently put in a few cha gio in the oil. Fry them slowly until they turn golden brown. Dish out and drain the excess oil by lining them over some paper towels.
Serve immediately with nuoc cham or roll it up with a fresh lettuce leaf and some aromatic herbs and then dip into the nuco cham.
For buying tips about Vietnamese rice paper, please refer to this article by Vietnamese cookbook author Andrea Nguyen. I used the 8 1/2-inch round rice paper.
Do not deep fry the cha gio on high heat because they splatter and most importantly, high heat causes the skin to bubble, break and burn. So patience is key, use medium to low heat during frying process.
Cha Gio is also called Imperial Rolls in the United States, not to be confused with Summer Rolls.