Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cha Gio (Egg Rolls)--my cousin's way, makes 60 rolls

The other day Di Y (my 2nd maternal aunt) came over and mentioned that Sieu Hui (her daughter) will be making cha gio, in Vietnamese (known in the United States as egg rolls) the next day. I told her I would like to come over to help. Later this morning she called and asked if I was still coming over. I totally forgot about our plans. I was out making a short film of the village market and lost track of time. I gathered my things and quickly peddled my borrowed bicycle to Minh Chau restaurant (my aunt's family owned restaurant located down the other side of the village). We ate a delicious hot pot made from pig's organs and lots of green leafy vegetables. There were constant customers for several hours and when there were none I helped do a deep cleaning of their restaurant. I cleaned all the tables and chairs and wiped down all the glass cases where they stored the packaged goods. After all the cleaning she made me black ice coffee which was very refreshing in this tropical heat! Then we made the egg rolls. There are many ways to make these delicious rolls. However, this is one way to make using ground pork, ground shrimp and shredded taro. Taro is a root vegetable that is grown in abundance and is very cheap in this region of Vietnam. Here is my cousin, Sieu Hui's way of making these delicious rolls.

-banh trang bo pia (egg roll skin made in Vietnam)
-each package has 30 sheets
-bot chien gion
(flour mix for frying made in Vietnam)
-Vinh Thuan is a brand that is sold in
Asian grocers found in the United States

3 cups of ground pork and shrimp (about 1 lb of each)
3 cups shredded taro
1/3 cup chopped or thinly sliced shallots
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/4 cup Vietnamese 'bot chien gion' flour (see photo above)
1 egg (plus an egg yolk or water for egg roll skin sealer)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp MSG (optional)
2 packages of 'banh trang bo pia' (or egg roll skin)--16 cm or about 6 1/4 inch in diameter
Oil for deep frying


1) Ground the pork and shrimp together by pulsing a few times (if not already done). Avoid over grinding. Place these ground items in a large container.
2) Add taro, shallots, garlic, flour, 1 egg, sugar, salt, pepper, and MSG.
3) Mix all ingredients until well blended. Avoid over mixing.
5) Divide the mixture into 60 relatively equal balls.
6) Separate each egg roll sheet or skin by peeling it one by one and put these under a dish, towel or bag to prevent from drying out. Take only one out at a time to roll.
7) Take one ball and place it about 1 1/2 inch from the bottom of the skin. Spread the filling into about 2 1/2 inch length across the skin. Roll from the bottom up as tightly as possible without tearing the skin. Fold in the sides when you get close to the center of the skin. Continue to roll as tightly as you can and smear a little egg yolk or water (using your finger) on the top edge to seal the roll.
8) Fry these rolls in hot oil until golden brown. It will take about 5 to 7 minutes. Avoid over crowding the rolls when frying (as this will cause your oil to cool down making the rolls soggy and oily).

*You may make one roll to test to see how it tastes. This way you can adjust the seasoning according to your taste.
*You may divide the filling portions out according to your skin. This way you will not have too much left over of either the filling or skin. If you happen to have more filling then you can make patties out of it and make sandwiches with them.
*The egg roll skin is made in Vietnam. There is a similar size sold in the Asian stores in the United States but it is square instead of round. You can use these instead. Another option is to use Vietnamese rice papers known as banh trang in Vietnamese.

here is a rice noodle dish (called bun
cha gio in Vietnamese)
made with egg rolls,
fresh herbs, lettuce, bean sprouts and a
drizzle of Vietnamese dipping sauce
Minh Chau restaurant in Nga Ba An Trach
the glass cases that I helped clean and rearranged neatly

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