Posted by: SV | April 13, 2008

Vietnamese Egg Rolls (Cha Gio)

My favorite dish has to be Vietnamese egg rolls. It’s one of the first dishes I learned to cook and enjoyed doing because I new the reward I would reap at the end! From start to finish, it’s about a two hour endeavor but well worth the time and effort. It takes even less time if you enlist the help of your friends and family. No one actually minds because they want the egg rolls to be done ASAP. (Of course, those involved in the cooking process have the right to taste test.) Another time saver is to buy pre-cut cole slaw package instead of shredding cabbage and carrots.

In our family, there can never be too many egg rolls. We always make a huge batch and it magically disappears. In the rare event that there are left overs, you can place it in a zip-lock baggie lined with paper towels and refrigerate. Just plop them in the oven on 350˚ for 7-10 minutes and they are nice and crispy again.

Vietnamese egg rolls are traditionally made with rice paper giving the egg rolls a nice crispy exterior. They can also be made with phyllo egg roll wrappers found in the frozen section of the Asian market. You can make do with Chinese egg roll wrappers avialbe at most grocery stores but the egg rolls will have a thicker skin and not as light as the other wrappers.

What ingredients go into an egg roll? It varies widely depending on your taste and what is in your cupboard or available at the grocery store. You can make it with just meat or vegetables. I like the combination of meat, seafood and vegetables. The recipe below is made with my favorite ingredients. Pork is probably the most common ingredient to any egg rolls but for the health conscious, other meats can be substituted. Below is a list of substitutable ingredients – you can choose one or a combination of ingredients:

Ground meat: pork, turkey, chicken

Seafood: shrimp, lump crab meat

Vegetables: shredded cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, shredded jicama

How to enjoy Vietnamese egg rolls? Of course, simply devouring the egg rolls without anything else. The sweet fish sauce makes a nice dipping sauce for the egg rolls. Often egg rolls are served at restaurants with the lettuce wrap fixings – I’ve included this option below. If you want to make egg rolls more of a meal, you can cut the egg rolls into bite size and serve with rice noodles. The rice noodles (thin, round variety – Bun) are cooked and cooled to room temperature. In individual serving bowls, top rice noodles with shredded lettuce, julienned cucumber, sprigs of cilantro and plenty of bite size egg rolls. Final touch to the cold egg roll noodle bowl is to dress it with the sweet fish sauce.

My recipe below will make between 40-50 eggrolls. The amount will be dependent on how generous the fillings are for each of the eggrolls. As long as you are taking the time to make egg rolls, I think you should have plenty for left overs! It may sound like a lot but it should easily serve a crowd. You can half the recipe if you plan to only serve this as an appetizer for 4-6 people.

Vietnamese Egg Rolls (Cha Gio)

Serves 10-15

Egg Rolls:

  • 1 lb ground meat – pork
  • ½ pound peeled shrimp
  • 1 cup of lump crab meat
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • ¼ cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium size jicama shredded
  • 2 ounce dried vermicelli noodles
  • 1 ounce dried black fungus/cloud ear mushrooms
  • 2-3 large eggs
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp of fish sauce (depending on taste)
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
  • Egg roll wrappers – 12 oz package (30-50 rice paper sheets, 10 inch diameter)
  • Frying oil – vegetable, corn, canola, peanut

Sweet Fish Sauce:

  • 2 garlic cloves chopped or smashed
  • 1 fresh Thai Chili (or ¼ tsp of hot chili peppers flakes)
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp shredded carrots (or Vietnamese Relish)

Lettuce wrap fixings (optional):

  • 1 washed head of lettuce (crisphead, butterhead or red leaf)
  • 1 cucumber julienned
  • 1 bunch of cilantro

1. Soak vermicelli noodles and mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes.

2. In a food processor pulse grind shrimp, crab meat, garlic until roughly chopped. Add to mixture, drained vermicelli noodles and mushrooms, pulse grind briefly until all ingredients are integrated.

3. In a large mixing bowl, transfer ingredients from food processor and combine with ground meat, shredded vegetables. Add black pepper, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and 2 eggs. Use hands to mix ingredients together. If the mixture seems dry, add the other egg.

4. Wrapping the egg rolls with rice paper. Fill a shallow dish with 1 inch of warm water. Quickly dip rice paper in the water bath, making sure all parts of the paper is wet. Place wet rice paper on a clean dish towel/plate and let it soften. Once it is soft and pliable, peel it off the towel and place on to a plate. Lay 1 ½ tbsp of filling on the lower edge of the rice paper, near you, leaving 1 inch edge. Begin to fold egg roll like an envelop: first, fold over the lower 1 inch edge over the filing, then the left edge, then the right edge. Now roll the roll up to the top edge. Place the wrapped egg roll on a platter and keep on rolling!

5. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium high heat. Tess the oil by dipping the tip of a wooden spoon or wooden chop stick – if it bubbles around the tip then the oil is ready. Place egg roll one at a time into hot oil, with the seam down (this will keep it from unraveling) and then quickly turn the egg roll to ensure the skin crisp up and does not stick to other egg rolls in the pan. Adjust heat so that the oil is bubbling gently and not too vigorously around the egg rolls. Each egg roll will take about 5 minutes to cook – golden brown spots and skin is super crispy. Shake the egg roll over the pan to help remove the excess oil. Place egg roll on layers of paper towels to drain.

6. Next, make the sweet fish sauce for dipping. Either finely chop garlic and pepper OR use a mortar and pestle to smash garlic and hot pepper. If you are using pepper flakes, no need to smash. Place the chopped or smashed garlic and pepper into a small bowl then add the rest of the ingredients for the dressing. Stir well until sugar dissolves. If the sauce is not quite sweet enough add a bit more sugar. If the sauce is too sweet and not tangy enough for your taste, squeeze in some lime/lemon juice to cut the sweetness.

7. Prepare the lettuce wrap fixings. Gently unwrap and separate the lettuce, one leaf at a time and arrange leaves on serving platter. On another small plate, arrange the julienned cucumber and the cilantro.

8. Serve egg rolls with the dipping sauce and the lettuce wrap fixings. How to eat – use lettuce as a wrap and place the egg roll in the middle with the cucumber, coriander, roll the lettuce up (like a burrito). Dip into sauce and enjoy.

Vietnamese Egg Rolls (Cha Gio), originally uploaded by simpleviet.

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Responses

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for the nice recipes. Would you like me to post them on http://www.vnmoi.com so my friends can enjoy the recipes too?
    If you have a google publisher account, google will share revenues with you. Everytime someone visits the web site and your recipes, google will credits your accdount with some money.
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    Come and join us.
    Best regards,
    Chinh Nguyen
    cv77503#yahoo.com

  2. Glad you like this. Will you have a link to my blog? Thanks.

  3. I’m making these tonight I can almost taste them. Blessings!! I’m using fyto dough instead of rice paper but I have a good feeling it’ll turn out lovely. PEACE and JOY!! 2009 OBAMA

  4. Thanks for the recipe :)
    Looks goood -I prefer these versions to the ones using egg roll wrappers too.

  5. love em

  6. hey

  7. thank you

  8. Another party fave…..people can’t stop asking me to make these little pockets of deliciousness. Thanks

  9. This an Good wordpress post, I will bookmark this in my Diigo account. Have a great evening.

    • Thanks. Let me know if you try any of the recipes.

  10. wonderful, and accurate recipe. thanks for sharing. :)

  11. Please excuse mine use of English, I’m just schooling. I much like your blog greatly, I believe it is quite interesting also I saved a bookmark from it in our internet.

    • Glad you like it. Enjoy cooking!

  12. I first tried these at a family-owned Vietnamese restaurant near my work. Needless to say, all other egg rolls now pale in comparison, especially with the sauce (I always wondered what that was. I also wasn’t sure what to do with the lettuce and cilantro the first time, but eventually figured it out!)

    Thank you for sharing a recipe for this – I look forward to trying these at home!

    …I’ll still be a regular at our local restaurant, too =]

  13. […] Ava happily shared my dad’s Bo Luc Lac (Rock’n’Roll beef) and chomped down on their favorite, Cha Gio, pork egg rolls wrapped in lettuce leaves. My fortune at the end of the meal: “You will have much […]

  14. i dont have enough gr pork..can i add some gr beef to the mixture ??? want to make these tomorrow, so need a reply asap please ..via email thanks

    • Should be fine to add beef.

      • thanks !! will be making them today :)

      • Enjoy! You can substitute with ground turkey or chicken also for people who are not pork eaters.

      • love them with the gr pork ! my daughter adds gr shrimp when she makes them..but,I dont like shrimp..I usually use just the gr pork..but this time i didnt buy enough..so added the gr beef..they are very YUMMY..like always :) also had to use eggroll wrappers..because the last time in the asian store-forgot to get springroll wrappers….have extra filling mixture thinking of freezing it OR making little “hamburger” patties out of them which would you do ? or i can fry them as meatballs and freeze them?

      • You can freeze for next egg roll batch. Or you can stir fry with vegetables (e.g., shredded napa cabbage or regular cabbage, carrots OR book Choy) add some oyster sauce and or soy sauce or fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

  15. Can you bake these little jewels? I don’t get along with deep fried. I’m dying to try them.

    • You can bake these if you use phyllo eggroll wrappers (frozen section of Asian markets). You can spray them with cooking oil and then bake. Need to turn them when golden brown. Suggest baking at 375 F.

  16. Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue with your web site in internet explorer, might test this? IE still is the marketplace leader and a large part of folks will miss your magnificent writing due to this problem.

  17. Hi! I would like to bring 25 Vietnamese Egg Roll to deer camp. What would be the best way to preserve and transport to keep them fresh? How would you re-heat them? Thank you, Gus

    • That is quite ambitious for camping to have fresh egg rolls unless you plan to fry them at the campsite. My advice is to fry them like you normally would. Once the egg rolls cool, I would put into a ziploc bag lined with paper towels. You can eat them cold – the skin will be on the chewy side. If you want to eat them warm, put it into an very hot cast iron pan and keep turning until all the sides heat up.


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