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Vietnamese Egg Rolls – Cha Gio

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

These egg rolls are unlike any other, only due to the fact that the wrapper is different. A super crispy exterior with garlicky, pork goodness on the inside, these will have you coming back for more.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dried Mushrooms
  • 1 whole Bundle Bean Thread Noodles, Sometimes Referred To As Cellophane Noodles, Chopped
  • 1 pound Ground Pork
  • ½ pounds Shrimp, Cleaned, Deveined, Chopped
  • 1 whole Carrot
  • 1 whole Large Onion, In Quarters
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce (optional)
  • ½ Tablespoons Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 package Banh Trang Rice Papers (12 Ounces Or 340 Grams Package)
  • 3 cups Canola Oil
  • 1 whole Egg, Beaten
  • INGREDIENTS FOR SERVING:
  • 1 head Boston, Or Bibb Lettuce, Whole Leaves
  • 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro, Torn
  • 1 bunch Fresh Mint, Leaves Only
  • 1 whole Carrot, Grated
  • 1 whole Cucumber, Thinly Sliced
  • ½ cups Asian Dipping Sauce (optional)

Preparation

Begin by soaking your mushrooms in some hot water. Keep them soaking until they are nice and tender. Once tender, after about 15 minutes or so, drain them, then chop them. Set aside.

Prepare your bean thread noodles according to package instructions. You do not want them to be mushy, so just soak them until they have softened. Once softened, drain, and chop them. Set aside.

Into a large mixing bowl, add the pork, shrimp, chopped mushrooms, and bean thread. Set aside.

Into a food processor, add the carrot. Pulse until it is nicely grated. Remove the carrot from the food processor and place on some thick paper towels. Bundle up the paper towel and press out any liquid. Trust me, there is plenty of liquid from one carrot! Once drained, add the grated carrot to the mixing bowl with the pork mixture.

Add the onion and garlic to the food processor, and pulse that down until finely grated. Add this into the mixing bowl.

Add the oyster sauce and black pepper to the mixing bowl, and with both hands, preferably with cooking cloves on, mix and thoroughly combine all of the ingredients.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.

Take a bit of the mixture and add it to the preheated skillet. Cook the mixture until the pork nicely browned. Once cooked, taste it. Does it need any salt? More pepper? If so, season the mixture, and repeat until you have the balance you are looking for. There is nothing worse than wrapping 25-50 egg rolls and have a unseasoned meat mixture, trust me. Repeat with the remaining pork mixture until it’s all cooked.

Once the mixture is ready, get a large bowl of warm water ready. We are going to soak the wrappers until they are softened, then begin wrapping. We will repeat this process several times.

Get your frying pot ready, and add the oil. Bring the oil up to about 325 F. This will take a while, so we will begin wrapping the cha gio as it heats.

Add a wrapper to the bowl of water, and move it around with your hand until it gets soft, or workable for wrapping, about a minute or so.

Lay the softened wrapper on a plate, and add about two tablespoons, or more, of the filling. Lay the filling on the side of the wrapper that closest to you, with about an inch or so of the wrapper closest to you open.

Fold the wrapper over the meat mixture, and gently roll it up half way. Then fold over both sides, and continue to roll it the rest of the way. Lightly brush just a bit of the beaten egg onto the end of the wrapper. Press gently to seal the wrapper. Make sure there are no tears or areas where oil can enter the roll. Place on a baking sheet, lined with lightly moistened paper towel. Repeat. This takes a bit of time, so have some good music playing.

The oil should be ready now.

Carefully place a few of the rolls into the oil, and let them sit there, cooking for about a minute or so without interacting with them. After a minute or so, carefully move them around, being careful not to tear the wrapper. Cook for about 5 minutes total, cooking all sides. Then remove them from the oil with a kitchen spyder and place them on a baking sheet that you’ve lined with paper towel to let any excess oil drain. Repeat.

When you are ready to eat, and trust me, you will be ready after removing the first few of them, plate them up.

This is the best part. Take one of the lettuce leaves, and add one of the cha gio into the center of the leaf. Place some fresh mint, cilantro, carrot and cucumber onto the side of the cha gio. Fold the lettuce leaf over the mixture, dip into some nuoc cham, and eat.

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