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Authentic Chả Giò Recipe – How to Make Vietnamese Imperial Rolls

Authentic Chả Giò Recipe - How to Make Vietnamese Imperial Rolls

Discover the irresistible crunch and savory flavors of Vietnamese Imperial Rolls, also known as Chả Giò. These delectable appetizers feature a crispy rice paper exterior wrapped around a flavorful filling of pork, shrimp, and vegetables. Perfect for parties, family gatherings, or as a delicious addition to your favorite Vietnamese noodle bowls!

The Art of Rice Paper Wrapping

Rice paper is the secret to the unique texture of Vietnamese Imperial Rolls. Unlike Chinese egg rolls, these wrappers are made from rice flour, sometimes mixed with tapioca starch. The result is a wonderfully crispy exterior that sets Chả Giò apart from other fried appetizers.

Three main types of wrappers are used for Chả Giò:

  • Rice flour mixed with tapioca starch
  • Pure tapioca flour wrappers
  • Netted rice paper (chả giò rế) made from vermicelli noodles

While chả giò rế offers the best crunch and golden color, it can be hard to find. Both rice-based and tapioca-based wrappers work well in this recipe, with tapioca-based ones being slightly easier to roll.

Perfecting the Filling

The heart of any great Chả Giò lies in its filling. This recipe combines ground pork, shrimp, carrots, jicama, wood ear mushrooms, and cellophane noodles for a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The key to success is managing moisture – be sure to squeeze excess liquid from ingredients like jicama and mushrooms to ensure your rolls stay crispy.

Mastering the Roll

Rolling Chả Giò is an art form. In Saigon, you’ll find shorter, rounder rolls, while Hanoi favors a longer, cigar-like shape. This recipe focuses on the Saigon style. The trick is to roll them snugly, avoiding large air pockets, while not making them too tight. Aim for about 1/4 cup of filling per roll for the perfect balance.

Frying to Perfection

The frying process is where the magic happens. As the rolls hit the hot oil, the rice paper blisters and puffs, creating that iconic crispy texture. For best results, fry at 350°F (175°C) for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through. This method ensures a golden, crispy exterior and a perfectly cooked filling.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy your Chả Giò with a variety of accompaniments for a true Vietnamese experience:

  • Fresh herbs like Thai basil, Vietnamese coriander, and mint
  • Lettuce leaves for wrapping
  • Pickled vegetables (daikon, carrots, and leeks)
  • Nước chấm dipping sauce

Wrap each roll in a lettuce leaf, add herbs and pickles, then dip in the sauce for a burst of flavors and textures in every bite!

Ingredients

For the Dipping Sauce (Nước Chấm):

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) warm water
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh lime juice
  • 2 to 3 (12g) medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bird’s eye chile, stemmed and thinly sliced (optional)

For the Filling:

  • 4 ounces jicama (114g), peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 small carrots (4 ounces; 114g), peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 ounce (30g) cellophane noodles
  • 1/2 ounce (16g) dried wood ear mushrooms
  • 10 ounces (282g) tiger prawns, peeled, deveined, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces (230g) ground pork
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 1 ounce; 30g)
  • 2 scallions, green parts thinly sliced
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 3/4 ounce; 25g)
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (6g) Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Forming and Frying:

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces; 475ml) soda or beer
  • Fourteen 8-inch Vietnamese rice papers
  • 2 quarts (2L) vegetable oil, for frying

For Serving:

  • 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
  • Thai basil, Vietnamese coriander, perilla, peppermint, and/or fish mint
  • Pickled daikon and carrot
  • Pickled leeks (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Dipping Sauce: In a medium bowl, mix warm water, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice until sugar dissolves. Stir in garlic and chile. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the Filling: Squeeze excess liquid from jicama. Spread jicama and carrot on a paper towel-lined baking sheet; air-dry for 1 hour.
  3. Soak cellophane noodles in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain, squeeze dry, and cut into 1-inch strands.
  4. Soak wood ear mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse, and finely chop, discarding tough stems.
  5. In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Cook a small amount to test seasoning; adjust if needed.
  6. Form the Rolls: Mix warm water and soda in a wide bowl. Dip rice paper until pliable. Place 1/4 cup filling on wrapper, shape into a log, fold sides, and roll tightly. Repeat for all rolls.
  7. Fry the Rolls: Heat oil to 350°F (175°C) in a Dutch oven. Fry rolls in batches of 4-6 for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and crispy. Drain on a wire rack lined with paper towels.
  8. Serve: Arrange rolls with lettuce, herbs, pickled vegetables, and dipping sauce. To eat, wrap each roll in lettuce, add herbs and pickles, and dip in sauce.

Notes

Choose your preferred rice paper style: rice flour with tapioca starch, all tapioca starch, or chả giò rế (made from vermicelli noodles). For thinner rolls, use 2 tablespoons of filling per wrapper to make about 28 rolls. Pickled leeks add a delightful aroma and flavor.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Prepare filling up to 1 day ahead. Dipping sauce can be made 2 days in advance. Uncooked rolls can be frozen for up to 1 month; fry from frozen, adding 2-3 minutes to cooking time.

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