Southeast Asia—Vietnamese Spring Rolls

 

Vietnamese Appetizervietnamese springrolls

Spring Rolls & Hot Sauce
Cha Gio
(Makes 10 pieces)

Crispy pastry rolls filled with a delicate mixture of shrimp and pork. Served with a spicey hot sauce.

Sauce
1/4 C lemon or lime juice
1/4 C water
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1 T shrimp sauce (see sidebar)
4 dried chilies (crushed)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
______________

Filling
1 T dried mushrooms (any type) 
2 oz. rice noodles—"rice stick" (see sidebar)
4 oz. cooked shrimp (finely chopped)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
3 scallions (finely chopped)
1/4 lb. ground pork
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. shrimp paste (see sidebar)
1 T. fresh parsley (chopped)

10 egg roll skins (find at local Asian markets)
oil for frying

Sauce: combine all ingredients in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 15 mnutes. Set aside. (Make this first so it's cooled down by the time the spring rolls are done.)

Filling: soak mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes, drain, and finely chop. Soak noodles in warm water to soften for about 20 minutes, drain, and cut into 1" lengths. Finely chop shrimp. Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl, mixing to blend thoroughly.

Rolls: place 2 T filling in the center of each eggroll wrapper. Press down to flatten and fold in sides to cover filling. Roll up, from one of the short edges. Run your finger under the faucet and press it along the edges of the wraps to seal them.

Frying: Heat oil to 350 in large skillet or wok. Fry rolls in batches for 7-8 minutes, till golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve accompanied with Hot Dipping Sauce.

| See more SE Asian recipes |

 

Tips & Glossary

Southeast Asian cuisine seeks a balance of hot, sour, sweet, and salty—all in a single dish. Adjust to suit your taste perferences.

Many of the ingredients below are unfamiliar to Westerners, but you can find most in any local Asian market.

Fish Sauce: a liquid made of fermented anchovies and bottled (like soy sauce).

Galanga: a root related to ginger though with deeper tones of citrus and pine. Tough to slice...use a sharp knife. (If galanga is not to be found, use ginger root.)

Lemon Grass: tall, stalky, critus-flavored grass. Prior to cooking, pound or crush gently to release flavor.

Rice Sticks: aka rice noodles or vermicelli; thin dried noodles from rice flour. Soak before using, about 1 hour, or less, (depending on how soft or chewy you like your noodles.)

Shrimp Paste: fermented, ground shrimp. It carries a pungent aroma but is essential in cooking.

Taffir Lime: a lime bush native to the region. The leaves and pebbly rind (as zest) are used for flavoring, but not the juice. The leaves can be bought dried.

Tamarind: tropical tree grown in Africa and Asia; its fruit pulp is used as souring agent. It’s also found in Worcestershire sauce and some ketchup.

 

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