What Are They?
Fried Vietnamese spring rolls or also known as chả giò are basically deep fried rolls that are filled with minced meat, veggies and are usually served with nước chấm, the Vietnamese dipping sauce.
Fried Vietnamese spring rolls use rice paper as the wrapper instead of flour sheet, making it different from egg rolls.
And Nước chấm is actually a reference for the varieties of dipping sauce from Vietnam. It's a simple sauce that has a balance of sweet, sour and salty. Minced garlic, chillies, carrot or lemongrass are added to the sauce depending to individual preference.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I will get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Everything I mention in this post is what I personally use and recommend.
What Is Rice Paper?
Rice paper is made from rice flour, tapioca flour, water and salt. It comes in a thin, crisp and translucent sheet that can be of different shapes. In this recipe I'm using round rice paper of 8.6" (22 cm).
When soaked in water for just a few seconds, the rice paper will start to soften. A soften rice paper is usually used to make spring rolls, an uncooked or fresh spring roll.
In this recipe however, we will fry the spring rolls and although we will still be using rice paper sheets we will handle them differently.
How To Roll Rice Paper For Frying
Don't worry, it's not difficult.
You do need to see how your rice paper sheet reacts because like always, different brands of any product are different in every sense.
So what we don't want to do is soak the rice paper sheet in water like we always do for our fresh spring rolls. No no no.
We just want to moisten it enough until it gets pliable and doesn't break when we fold or roll it.
I've tried several methods in my experiments of soaking and rolling the rice papers.
I brushed the top surface of the rice paper and pile one on top of the other and leave them for a while until they're pliable. When I pulled 1 sheet out, it got broken because it was sticking to each other. So for me, that was a no go.
I've seen Vietnamese brushing the rice paper with a mixture of coconut cream, sugar and some other ingredients. What caught my attention is the coconut cream and sugar.
I was thinking, it makes sense because the fat from the coconut cream helps the rice paper not sticking to each other. The sugar helps in making the rolls browner during frying as rice paper doesn't really produce that typical striking fried golden brown colour.
Not wanting to open a can of coconut milk just to take out the cream (yes I'm lazy like that), I though ok I will mix water with some oil and sugar. I brushed the rice paper and pile one on top of the other and I was waiting for more than 15 minutes for the pile to get pliable and they didn't. Haha!
So that was a no go for me either. If you know the simplest way of piling them all together without breaking them apart when taking them out, and using simple ingredients, please let me know.
At the end, this is the method that works for me.
I brush the top of a rice paper with some water and leave until it's pliable enough to roll without breaking. I don't use so much water nor wait that long as I don't want the rice paper to get too soft.
It should not be soft like when we roll our fresh spring rolls.
Well and then I place in the filling and roll it tightly to the center. Then I fold both left and right to the center and continue rolling. I wet the edges to seal it.
You can see it clearly in the video below. Also, I brush 2 rice papers at one time (without piling them) so that it's faster.
Then off to frying them. By all means, you use the method that best works for you.
Frying The Spring Rolls
We will fry them on low medium heat.
If the heat is too high, the skin of the rolls will have huge bubbles on it. Which is ok if you don't mind. For me, I do mind.
Also like always, don't crowd your pan while frying. These spring rolls tend to stick to each other if they're touching in the pan when you put them into the hot oil.
So try to separate them at the beginning of the frying process. Once they've develop the crust, then it's fine if while you're turning them over and they're touching.
These spring rolls will tend to soften after a while due to the moisture from the veggies so they're best served hot. Don't forget your dipping sauce. Enjoy!
More Asian Appetizers
- Crispy beef spring rolls
- Shrimp ball fritters
- Chicken and shrimp shumai
- Spiral curry puffs
- Lentil fritters (masala vada)
Fried Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Cha Gio)
- ¼ cup sugar (50 gr)
- ⅓ cup hot water (80 ml)
- ¼ cup fish sauce (60 ml)
- ¼ cup lime juice (60 ml)
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 red chillies , minced
The Spring Rolls
- 1.8 oz glass noodles (50 gr)
- 7 oz minced chicken (200 gr)
- 7 oz minced shrimp (200 gr)
- 1 egg
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 medium sized carrot , julienned to 2 inch (5 cm) length
- 1 spring onion stalk , (50 gr) chopped
- 3.5 oz bean sprouts (100 gr)
- ½ cup sliced mushroom (30 gr)
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce , or fish sauce
- salt to taste
- 15 rice paper , I'm using 8.5 inch (22 cm) sheets
- some water
- In a bowl, mix sugar and hot water until sugar is dissolved. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
The Spring Rolls
- Soak the glass noodles in a bowl with hot water for 5 minutes or until they softened. Using a tongs, remove them from the water and cut them into 2 inch (5 cm) length. Then place them into a bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients together into the bowl and mix everything well. Set aside.
- Brush the top of a rice paper with some water. Leave for it to get pliable enough to roll without breaking. Don't use too much water not wait that long because we don't want it to be too soft.
- Place some filling at one end of the rice paper. Roll it tightly to the center. Then fold the left and right end to the center also. Continue rolling, leaving 1 inch where you wet it with some water and then roll to seal.
- Continue with the rest. Do 2 (or more rice paper) at one time to make it faster. Place the uncooked rolls on a plate, not touching each other.
- Heat abundance of oil in a pan on medium low heat. Put several rolls into the pan, not touching each other as they will stick. Fry them until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on kitchen paper to absorb the oil. Continue with the rest.
- Serve them hot with the sauce. Enjoy!