Nem ran/cha gio
Chả giò, or nem rán, also known as fried spring roll, is a popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine and usually served as an appetizer in Europe and North America, where there are large Vietnamese diaspora. It is ground meat, usually pork, wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried.
Why do people like Nem ran/cha gio
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Ingredients that go into Nem ran/cha gio
- spring roll wrappers: these white sheets are made from rice flour and sun-dried before packaged and sold to consumers. In Vietnam, we don’t use spring roll pastry or egg roll wrappers to make cha gio.
- ground pork and chopped shrimp: I often use a 50-50 or 60-40 ratio of pork to shrimp. When we have fresh crab meat on hand, I also love to add it to the filling.
- glass noodles (miến, also called cellophane noodles or mung bean thread noodles): you can find these at Asian grocery stores. Make sure you choose Vietnamese or Chinese glass noodles. The Korean ones are not suitable for this dish.
- dried wood-ear mushrooms: these add crunchiness to the filling.
- shredded carrot and beansprouts: these are among the most popular veggies used in spring roll filling. Some people like to use jicama or kohlrabi. When I was in the US., I sometimes took a shortcut by using a bag of slaw with pre-shredded cabbage and carrot
- eggs, shallot, fish sauce, salt and pepper
How to cook Nem ran/cha gio
This dish is not difficult to make at all, although if you make a large batch, it can be quite time-consuming to wrap the rolls. First, you will need to slice or cut ingredients into small pieces and then mix them well to combine.
The next step will be wrapping. Use your fingertips to dab water over the wrapper to make it pliable, then add the filling and roll.
Here’s a very important thing: when you make these Northern-style spring rolls, do not wrap too tight, or the rolls may burst when you fry them. The reason is the noodles in the filling will expand when frying.
One of the things that make this dish tasty is its crispy exterior. In order to achieve that, here are my family’s tips:
- Add just a few drops of vinegar to the water you will use to dab over the spring roll wrappers
- Fry twice: first time with medium heat to cook the interior and second time to crisp up the exterior
- Use a generous amount of frying oil
- Fry the rolls in a single layer and leave some room to move them around. Overcrowding the pan will lower the heat too much and the rolls may not turn out crispy
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What can Nem ran/cha gio be served together with
It is best to eat the rolls right after the second fry. If you plan to eat them the next day, do the first fry, refrigerate them, and do the second fry the next day. If you want to freeze them for later, do so after the first fry.
The most common way to serve these is with rice vermicelli noodles, soft lettuce, fresh herbs and nuoc cham dressing. There is a variety of herbs you can use: cilantro, Thai basil, spearmint (peppermint is fine too), and perilla leaves.
Other popular Vietnamese food
Besides Nem ran/cha gio, there are other vietnamese food dishes that are highly popular in Singapore and around the world. Below is a list of some of the most mentioned ones:
Pho, Cha Ca, Banh Xeo, Cao Lau, Rau Muong, Nem Ran Cha Gio, Goi Cuon, Bun Bo Hue, Banh Khot, Ga Tan, Nom Hoa Chuoi, Hoa Qua Dam, Pho Cuon, Ga Nuong, Pho Xao, Ca Phe Trung, Bo La Lot, Xoi, Banh Cuon, Ca Tim Kho To, Bot Chien, Bun Dau Mam Tom, Banh Goi, Com Suon Nuong, Chao, Bo Luc Lac, Hat De Nong, Banh Uot thit nuong, Bun Cha, Banh Mi, Lau, Banh Bao, Com rang, Bo Bit Tet, Com Chay, Che, My Xao Bo, Dau Phu Sot Ca Chua, Canh Bun
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