Spring rolls or Egg rolls…which is the correct name to call this? Let’s call it by its Vietnamese name Chả Giò. What makes a good Chả Giò? First of all, the filling should be juicy but not soggy. When you take a bite into a Chả Giò you should notice the crispy texture. Furthermore, the rolls should be somewhat dense, meaning the filling should be tightly rolled up within the wrapper to ensure the filling does not fall all over the place when you munch on the rolls.

There are also many ways to serve these delights. Most common is to serve them as a snack or an appetizer. Many prefer to serve Chả Giò with rice vermicelli, fresh herbs, beans sprouts, cucumbers, sour stuff, crushed roasted peanuts, fried shallots, and fish sauce…sound familiar? This way of serving is known as Bún Chả Giò (pictured above) which translated into English, just means noodles with egg rolls. However, it has come across my ear many times that some people also call this a “salad”…probably because we use so much fresh veggies in the dish that it seems like we’re eating a salad…but we’re not. I would like to make it clear that we are eating noodles with egg rolls; the veggies are just a “condiment”. Another method of serving is to take a piece of lettuce and use it as a wrapper; fill with an egg roll, fresh herbs, sprouts, sour stuff, dunk the roll in fish sauce and into the mouth it goes. A little messy but soooooo good.

Traditionally Chả Giò is wrapped using Bánh Tráng (rice paper). However, using wrappers made of wheat flour is much more convenient and easier to work with. Thus, almost everybody these days uses premade wrappers which can be found in the frozen section of 99.99% of all Asian grocery stores. Try to avoid egg roll wrappers sold in American or “western” grocery stores as they tend to be too thick and doughy. They are actually many versions of fried spring/egg rolls. This is the basic recipe. With the recipe below you can tailor it to make the other versions.

Ingredients:
-1lb ground pork
-2 carrots
-1/2 onion
-1 Bundle of cellophane noodles
-5 Nấm mèo (dried woodear mushrooms)
-1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, ½ tsp pepper
-1 egg
-1 package spring roll wrappers (24 wrappers)

What to Do:
Peel and shred carrot into thin strips. Chop onion into little pieces. Soak black fungus and slice into thin strips. Cut noodles into shorter pieces. Mix everything together with one egg white (save the yolk for wrapping the rolls later). Put filling in the middle of wrapper and fold in the 2 sides and then roll starting at the bottom. Roll the as tightly as you can. Brush a little egg yolk on the top end of the wrapper secure the filling.

Frying Method:
For every 2 cups of oil add the juice of ½ a lime or lemon, or 2 tsp vinegar while the oil is still cool. Once oil is heated, drop in egg rolls and fry until golden. Frying time should take about 15 mins. If it is golden before that time; the oil it too hot which means, the filling might not be cooked, and spring roll will be soggy when cooled.

Different Variations:
Chả Giò Tôm Thịt (Shrimp and Pork):
Reduce the meat to 1/2 lb and add in 1/2 lb minced shrimp.

Chả Giò Cua (Crab):
Use 1 lb of crab meat instead of meat, or use 1/2 crab, 1/2 pork

Chả Giò Tôm Cua (Shrimp, Crab, and Pork):
Omit pork and replace with 1/2 lb of each shrimp and crab.

Chả Giò Khoai Môn (Taro):
add 1 1/2 cups shredded taro, and omit 1/2 the amount of cellophane noodles (use only 1/2 bundle of cellophane noodles)
**you can also make crab and taro spring rolls, shrimp and taro rolls, etc...

Comments (21)

On 8:26 AM , rokh said...

this is my absolute favourite. hope i have the time and strength to try it out

 
On 8:53 AM , Anonymous said...

Hi tt,
Do we need to soften the cellophane noodle before mixing all the filiing ingredients?

 
On 12:03 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

rokh,

if you have extra time make a lot and freeze them. Then whenever you feel like eating one just take on out and fry it (directly from freezer to oil). ;)

anon,
no you do not need to soften the noodles, just add them dry. That way they will soak up the excess water in the filling which in turn, helps keep the eggrolls from getting soggy later on.

 
On 3:53 PM , linnish said...

It's one of my favorite snacks whenever I go to the Vietnamese restaurants here...simply love the egg rolls!

 
On 9:38 AM , Anonymous said...

this may be a stupid question but what is the purpose of adding lime/lemon/vinegar to the oil?

 
On 9:47 AM , Little Corner of Mine said...

tt,
You got tagged by me for a meme! :P

 
On 4:49 PM , Anonymous said...

Hi tt,
YUMMY!!! Do you have a recipe for Bun Ca Kieng Giang?

LotusPetalFlower

 
On 4:52 PM , the shrewness said...

ive always called the fried ones eggrolls and the ones that are served fresh as spring rolls.

glad i stumbled upon such an awesome blog!

 
On 12:55 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

lpf,
no i don't

 
On 10:09 AM , Anonymous said...

nice.. one thing about using the tapioca starch wrapper is there's lots of stuff that comes out (for lack of better words: debris, ash) when frying some can scooped out, other falls to the bottom of the pan and sticks there burning a bit. i always wonder if this is normal. usually after a few batches i switch oil.. cool the used oil and strain it before i reuse it to fry more. i've always wonder if this is normal. perhaps it's because of how i'm frying it?
any ideas :)

thanks.. great site!

jl

 
On 1:26 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

jl,
it is not "normal" for stuff to come out when frying.

 
On 9:15 PM , Anonymous said...

Hi tt,
Love your blog! I love Vietnamese food; I made the eggrolls on Sunday and I son obsolutely loved it. I added lemon juice to the oil, and noticed a lot of black stuff floating around. Is it normal? What is the purpose of the juice added to oil?

Thanks!
HT

 
On 1:29 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

yes, that's normal. The black stuff is just the sugars in lemon juice burning off. The acid (lemon juice, vinegar, etc...) helps gives the rolls an extra crispy texture.

 
On 2:55 PM , kbelle said...

i made this yesterday for christmas eve dinner, the whole family loved it. thanks to you. i didn't know it was this easy, we're so used to buying it at restaurants.

 
On 12:49 PM , sourlemon said...

heheh I made this too. I absolutely love the recipe. But my sister said mine was too dry. She suggested that I add cu san. But the last time we made it with cu san, my sister went crazy, so...it didn't turn out too well. Have you ever made it with cu san? How much do you think I should add?

 
On 10:04 AM , Anonymous said...

Hi TT,

Can I ask you how to keep the egg rolls crispy. I made mine this past Friday and they were crispy after out of the hot oil but after they were cool, they became soft again. Is there any method to keep them crispy at cool temperature?

Issy

 
On 1:05 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

sourlemon,

i don't use cu san because it adds too much moisture and not enough flavor. That's why i use onions instead. If your sister is crazy about adding cu san, why not ask her for a recipe?

issy,

i can't answer your question unless you give me more detail about how your fried the eggrolls and how you stored them afterwards.

 
On 7:05 PM , Anonymous said...

I love Vietnamese food; the colors, the flavors, the freshness. But I'm not very familiar with the ingredients when it comes to making these dishes at home. Is there a particular brand of fish sauce that you recommend? Also, if I use rice paper do I need to soak it in water to make it pliable? I would prefer to use rice paper if possible to achieve a light, crispy texture.

 
On 7:14 PM , Anonymous said...

At Issy,

After you take the cha gio out of the fryer, leave them draining vertically in a tall colandar with paper towel on the bottom and don't crowd the cha gio. This help soak any excess oil and the cha gio stay crispy a little longer.

Hope this helps.

 
On 8:19 AM , Tauni said...

I made spring rolls with the wrappers you used but as soon as i dropped in oil (no additions to cool oil, just straight oil) they got very sticky and huge bubbles formed... then when i let them fry for a bit they were malformed and pale.. I took them out and they were crispy but they immediately turned soggy and were grease logged...What is wrong? I tried 3 batches, one with hotter oil, one with more moisture from filling squeezed off, all came out the same

 
On 12:03 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

Tauni,

you probably used the wrong kind of wrapper. From what you told me, I assume you used the wrappers that were made from rice... the kind you dip into warm water to soften, then use to make fresh spring rolls.