Vietnamese Egg Rolls (Cha Gio)
Vietnamese Egg Rolls are marinated ground pork rolled in wheat wrappers and deep fried. It can be eaten as a main dish with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham) or as a component to a main dish like Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Vermicelli Noodles (Bun Thit Nuong). Vietnamese egg rolls filling may also include ground shrimp, chopped jicama, shredded carrot and cabbage. The below recipe is a basic traditional recipe of ground pork, minced woodear mushroom and thin rice vermicelli noodles.
Traditionally, egg rolls are made with rice paper. To work with rice paper, you have to wet each sheet so that it is pliable for rolling and folding. I prefer to use wheat wrappers over rice paper because I can exclude that extra step. Also, rice paper doesn’t maintain the crispiness as well as wheat wrappers when fried.
Because of the traditional use of rice paper, some people refer to these as fried spring rolls. I have always called them in egg rolls (wrappers made with wheat flour and eggs). In northern Vietnam, they call these Nem Ran. In southern Vietnam, we call them Cha Gio. Whatever you call it, it’s just deep-fried goodness that needs to go in my face quickly.
Vietnamese Egg Rolls (Cha Gio)
Makes 30 egg rolls
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 1/2 cup dried Woodear mushrooms (rehydrate in water for 30 minutes or until soften then finely mince)
- 2 oz dried bean thread vermicelli/cellophane noodles (approximately 1 cup, rehydrate in water for 30 minutes or until soften then finely mince)
- 2 green onions (trim off ends and slice thinly)
- 1 small white/yellow onion (peel and finely dice)
- 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 beaten egg yolk (to seal egg rolls)
- Menlo All Purpose Wrappers or TYJ Spring Roll Pastry Wrappers
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Vietnamese Fish sauce dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham)
Egg Roll Wrappers
- In a medium-size bowl, mix together ground pork, Woodear mushroom, vermicelli noodles, green onions, white/yellow onion, sugar, black pepper, salt and oyster sauce. Set aside.
- Thaw out the egg roll wrappers if frozen. Separate into individual sheets by pulling them apart slowly to prevent tearing. There will be one side of the sheet with a hard edge (the side that connects all the egg roll wrappers together). Tear or cut off that hard edge so that all sides are the same thickness.
- Use about 2 tablespoons of filling for each egg roll and follow the step-by-step picture instructions below on how to wrap egg rolls.
- In a wok or tall skillet, heat vegetable oil to 325°F. Fry in small batches for 2-3 minutes or until egg rolls are golden brown. Transfer egg rolls onto a wired rack to drain off excess oil.
- Serve immediately with Vietnamese Fish sauce dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham). You can eat the egg rolls by themselves or wrapped with lettuce and assorted Vietnamese herbs such as sorrel (rau chua), fish mint (diep ca), Vietnamese coriander (rau ram), and perilla (tia to). Leftover egg rolls can be frozen and deep-fried straight from the freezer. Frozen egg rolls take about 6-7 minutes to cook.