These little morsels of goodness are always a crowd pleaser. Think minced prawn and pork, mixed with vegetables and noodles for even more texture and flavour, wrapped in pastry then deep-fried to crispy perfection. Best of all, they can be prepped in advanced and stored in your freezer, ready to go for whenever you have run out of food or are too lazy to start something from scratch.
In Vietnam these are traditionally made with rice paper (banh trang) which is the same sort you use for fresh rice paper rolls. I personally enjoy the authentic version but there is no doubt that the Chinese style wheat based wrappers are better. They are simply tastier, crunchier and easier to work with. If its your first time making spring rolls, I recommend the wheat wrappers.
In my opinion, the key to making really good spring rolls is to get them as crispy as possible. Here are few gems I have picked up along the way:
- Avoid adding too much moisture to the filling to ensure maximum crispiness. The main sources of moisture will be the carrot and the dried ingredients which require soaking. Squeeze the carrots to remove the juice, and don’t soak the bean vermicelli and black fungus for longer than you have to.
- There should be a bare minimum of 2 layers of pastry wrapped around each spring roll. The inner most layers will absorb a lot of moisture in the form of steam. This protects the outer most layers from the moisture which keeps it crispier for longer. So, try to use small amounts of filling to allow more layers to form around each roll.
- Double fry your spring rolls for maximum crunch and colour. This method involves frying the spring rolls until slightly golden and then taking out to drain. Just before serving, put the spring rolls back into the oil and fry again until golden brown. Personally I don’t bother doing this because I find it a bit too tedious, but it definitely makes a difference. If you try this method be careful, since they burn easier!
- When it comes to the filling, less is more! I know it’s counter intuitive, but the best way to make people happy is to go stingy on the filling. If you want larger spring rolls then buy larger sized wrappers, rather than packing more filling into a smaller sized wrapper. This will ensure the texture and crispiness is not compromised.
Follow my easy recipe with these points in mind, and you will be well on your way to making some amazing spring rolls for family and friends.
Vietnamese Deep Fried Spring Rolls - Cha Gio
Course: Finger food / Starter
- Boiled water for soaking
- Cold water for soaking
- 1 pack of medium (12.5 cm x 12.5 cm) spring roll wrappers (50 sheets)
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- 20 gm of black fungus / wood ear mushroom, chopped
- 50 gm of dried bean vermicelli, cut into 2-3 cm pieces
- 300 gm of pork mince
- 250 gm of raw prawn meat (approx 400 – 450 gm of raw prawns with shell), chopped into small chunks
- 2 medium sized carrots, grated
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 spring onion / scallion stalks, finely chopped
- 2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of sugar
- Fresh cracked pepper
Nuoc Mam / Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
Please see my Nuoc Mam post.
Preparing the filling
- Bring at least 3 cups of water to the boil and soak the black fungus for 5 – 6 mins.
- In a bowl, completely cover the bean vermicelli noodles in cold water for 5 mins.
- Take out a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine all the ingredients except the pork mince and prawn meat.
- Add the pork and prawn to the mixing bowl and combine thoroughly.
(See also slideshow above.)
- Peel a few spring roll wrappers at a time. Do not peel them all at once because they have a tendency to dry out.
- Place the wrapper in front of you in a diamond formation.
- Place a heaped teaspoon of filling at the bottom of the wrapper.
- Spread the filling evenly towards the edges.
- Roll as tightly as possible to the centre of the wrapper.
- Pull the sides into the middle.
- Place egg wash on the top corner of the wrapper.
- Finish the roll and ensure the end of the wrapper is sticking with the egg wash.
- Add vegetable oil to a pot / saucepan and raise the temperature to 175C -180C.
- Add spring rolls in one at a time and be careful of splash back. I usually add about 10 in a medium saucepan of oil.
- Cook the spring rolls until they are floating on top of the oil and are at a golden colour. It usually takes 3 mins for fresh spring rolls and 3 – 4 for frozen.
- Take them out with a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs and let them drain on a rack.
- Wait for the oil to warm up again and repeat the cooking process.
- Yields from this recipe will vary from person to person. This is because the amount of filling used to create each spring roll is down to personal preference. I usually use roughly a heaped teaspoon to 3/4 of a tablespoon of filling for each roll. This yields roughly 50 – 60 spring rolls.
- Do not over crowd your pot / pan with spring rolls while deep frying. This is because you will drastically lower the oil temperature which will cause your spring rolls to be softer, paler and require longer cooking time.
- To reduce overall costs, substitute the prawn meat for more pork mince.
- A good alternative dipping sauce to nuoc mam, is sweet chilli sauce.