Vietnamese spring rolls cha gio recipe



We're planning on a quiet night in on New Year's eve.  We already have the virgin bubbly and dessert but don't know what to eat for dinner.  All the Christmas meals are still fresh in our head and we long for comfort food.  C suggested I make spring rolls because he likes the way I make it.  Spring rolls wrapped in crisp lettuce sounds wonderful so I said to him that I'll do the mixing and if he does the rolling and cooking, this can be done.  I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant, cooking isn't something I enjoy too much at the moment :-)  I just want to eat and sleep !


Less than 2 hours of prepping, rolling and cooking, we were rewarded with tasty crunchy spring rolls with tender hot meat filling inside !  oh how I miss eating them.  It was so worth the effort.  Hubby and kids happily gobbled them up !  


Here's the recipe !  It's my own recipe as this is how I remember the taste of spring rolls in my childhood years.  Hubby and the kids likes it and even my picky mom said it's good.  I wanted to write this recipe for my girls as I hope they can make it and pass on to their kids.


As taste are subjective, feel free to experiment with chicken or turkey, add in a little shredded jicama or taro, or omit some listed here as you like.


INGREDIENTS: 
*makes about 50 of 4" X 1" rolls


-  2 lbs of lean ground pork

- 1 pounds of tiger prawn, chopped finely into small pieces (little more or less is ok)
- 2 cup of shredded carrots (loosely measured, don't pack it)
- 2 bundles of dry bean thread noodles (also know as angel hair or glass noodles), soak in boiling hot water for 3 min. to soften, makes about 2 cups, use scissor to roughly cut it into short length, about 1 1/2 inch
- 1 cup of wilted bean sprouts (soaked fresh bean sprout in boiling hot water for 5 min. Then pour into a strainer, rinse with cold water to cool then use hands to squeeze water out of the bean sprout.)
- 1/3 cup of thinly chopped wood ear mushroom (other names are cloud ear fungus or black fungus)
- 1/2 of a medium white onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper
- 3 1/2 tablespoon of good fish sauce (Red Boat or 3 Crabs brand)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar
- spring roll pastry wrapper (pack of 50, brand I used is called Spring Home, bought frozen, takes about 2-3 hours to thaw in room temperature)

Cornstarch sealant (glue)
- 3 tablespoon of lukewarm water
- 1 table spoon of corn starch 



In a bowl, mix well the carrots, angel hair, bean sprouts, and wood ear mushroom together.  Then add in the prawn, pork, pepper, fish sauce, salt and sugar.  Mix well with your hands.  I have yet to find a way to do this without using my hands.  Fork and chopsticks just doesn't mix it as good as I like.


Once mixed, set up a rolling station !  in a bow mix the lukewarm water with the corn starch, this is your sealant for the spring rolls. 


Open the pastry pack, peel out 1 sheet of spring roll pastry and lay flat on plate (the pastry should look like a diamond in front of you).  Take a spoonful of the meat mixing and put it near the mid mark of the pastry, even the meat out to about 2 1/2 in length.  Fold up the bottom the pastry, it should look like a triangle.  Roll it once then fold in the two sides to close it like an envelop.  Roll it up to where the 2 sides end, you should now be left with a section of pastry, looks like a triangle.  Now dip your finger into the bowl of cornstarch "glue" wipe across the top two section of the triangle (like how you would seal an envelop).  Roll to the end tip and the cornstarch should seal the spring roll.  


Do this until you finished with all the meat filling.




In a deep fryer (or a deep pot), fill with enough vegetable oil to fry the spring rolls.  If using pot, fill it with at least 3 inches of oil.  When oil is bubbly hot, with a thong or a pair of wooden chopsticks, slowly lower one spring roll at a time into the oil.  Don't over crowd the pot, the spring rolls won't cook evenly.  Keep turning them over until all nicely golden brown.  Usually it takes about 5-7 min.

TIPS:

- to test for when the oil is hot enough to fry, use a wooden spoon or wooden chopstick.  Put it into the pot and if bubbles form around the handle then it's ready !

- you can freeze the rolled spring rolls for deep frying later on.  Just make sure you freeze them in single layer.  You can stack them in layers if you separate each layer with plastic cling wrap.  If you are using other brand of pastry wrapper, make sure the rolls doesn't touch each other.  This is to ensure the pastry wrap doesn't get stuck to each other and be a mess when you deep fry them.  
When ready for frying, remove spring rolls from freezer and you can deep fry them in their frozen state, no need to thaw.  Add about two min. to cooking time.

- I've also deep fried all the rolls at once, save some for dinner and freeze whatever is left when they cooled down.  Since they are already cooked, you can freeze as it, stacked up, no need for single layer or keeping them separated from each other.
I freeze the cooked spring roll to avoid deep frying again in future that's all :) Laziness I guess :)  I like to snack on only a few at a times and I don't foresee myself heating up a pot of oil just to cook like 10 spring rolls!  

When anyone of our family members want to snack on them, I just pop a few in the toaster at 350 degrees for about 12-15 min and they're good to go !  Depending in toaster brand and model and the quantity you want to heat up, it might take a few min. less or another 5-7 min. to completely heat up the spring rolls, so taste test your spring rolls for hotness.