the appetizer:

Vietnamese cuisine is divided into three regions: North, heavily influenced by China; South, more influenced by the French; and Central, spicier and more complex than cooking in the northern or southern regions of Vietnam. A typical meal might include roasted meat or fish, stir-fry vegetables, rice, soup, and fish and soy sauces.

Destinations Spring Rolls  


Cha Gio (Crispy Spring Rolls)

Quintessentially Vietnamese, these delicate, crispy rolls are a refinement from the more robust Chinese rolls. The basic ingredient is minced pork, to which either prawns or crab can be added for savory flavor. The gossamer thin bang tranhg (rice paper) is hard to handle. You can use conventional spring roll skins as an easy alternative, but you won't achieve the same crispy results.

2 oz translucent rice vermicelli or cellophane noodles, chopped
2 tbsp dried tree ears (wood fungus or wood ears), soaked until soft and chopped
3 Chinese mushroom caps, soaked until soft and chopped
6 oz minced pork
4 oz water chestnuts, chopped
2 stalks spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp nuoc mam (fish sauce)
1 tsp pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
12-14 sheets banh tranhg
vegetable oil for deep frying
cornstarch (optional)

Put all ingredients except skins or rice paper in a large mixing bowl and blend well. Adding a tablespoon of cornstarch will give the mixture a smooth texture, but this is optional. To adjust seasoning, boil a small nugget of mixture and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. In a bowl of tepid water gently lower each sheet of bang tranhg or spring roll skin until soft and shake off excess water. Very carefully, lay sheets on a clean chopping board. Place a heaped tablespoon of mixture on sheet or skin, roll over once, and fold in sides. Roll over once more and tuck in firmly, patting the ends down. Finish making rolls as oil heats in the wok. Gently lower each roll in the oil to deep fry—a few at a time until light brown and crisp. Serve with fresh lettuce and mint leaves with nuoc cham.

A Little Vietnamese Cookbook
by Terry Tan
Illustrations by Sherry Tan
Chronicle Books
ISBN 0-8118-0799-1
Reprinted by permission.


Vietnamese Recipes

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Vietnam on Wikipedia

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This page modified January 2007

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