Spring Rolls (Cha Gio)|
Fried Spring Rolls (Cha Gio)
8 oz Thin rice vermicelli
-vermicelli (bun) or
2 bn Of Japanese alimentary
-paste noodles (somen).
6 Dried Chinese mushrooms
1 tb Dried tree ear mushrooms
6 Water chestnuts or 1/2
-small jicama, peeled and
4 oz Fresh or canned lump
-crabmeat, picked over and
8 oz Raw shrimp, shelled,
-deveined and minced
12 oz Ground pork shoulder
1 md Onion, minced
4 Shallots, minced
4 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tb Nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish
1 ts Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c Sugar
80 sm Rounds of rice paper (banh
-trang), each 6 1/2 inches
Peanut oil, for frying
This is another version of the superlative Cha Gio (also called
Nems). The filling here is a bit more elaborate than in the first
one. Boil the noodles. Prepare the Nuoc Cham and Vegetable Platter.
Prepare the filling: Soak the two types of mushrooms in hot water
until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain. Remove the stems from the
mushrooms and squeeze to extract the liquid. Mince the mushrooms.
Combine the mushrooms with the remaining filling ingredients in a
large bowl. Mix with your hands to blend. Set aside.
Assemble the rolls: Fill a mixing bowl with 4 cups of warm water and
dissolve the sugar in it. The rice paper sheets are brittle and must
be handled with care. (The water is used to soften the sheets for
handling. Sweetening the water helps the rice paper turn a deep
golden color when fried and also produces crisper rolls.) Work with
only 4 sheets of rice paper at a time, keeping the remaining sheets
covered with a barely damp cloth to prevent curling. One at a time,
immerse a sheet in the warm water. Quickly remove it and spread flat
on a dry towel. Do not let the sheets touch each other. The rice
paper will become pliable within seconds.
Fold up the bottom third of each round. Put 1 generous teaspoon of
filling in the center of the folded-over portion. Press into a
compact rectangle. Fold one side of the paper over the mixture, then
the other side. Roll from bottom to top to completely enclose the
filling. Continue until all of the mixture is used.
Fry the rolls: If possible, fry in 2 skillets. Pour 1 to 1 1/2
inches of oil into each skillet and heat to 325F. Working in
batches, add some of the rolls to each skillet, but do not crowd or
let them touch, or they will stick together. Fry over moderate heat
for 10 to 12 minutes, turning often, until golden and crisp. Remove
the rolls with tongs and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a low
oven while frying the remaining rolls.
Traditionally, Cha Gio is served with the accompaniments suggested in
To eat, each diner wraps a roll in a lettuce leaf along with a few
strands of noodles and a variety of other ingredients from the
Vegetable Platter before dipping it in the Nuoc Cham. If served as
an hors d'ouvre, allow 4 or 5 rolls per person; serve 8 to 10 as a
NOTE: Another popular way of serving this dish is to divide the
noodles and elements of the Vegetable Platter evenly among the
individual bowls. Top each with cut-up pieces of Cha Gio, ground
roasted peanuts and Nuoc Cham.
As a quick and easy appetizer, Cha Gio can be served with just Nuoc
Yield: about 80 spring rolls.
Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; March 27 1991.