Fried spring roll is possibly one of the most popular dishes in Vietnam. I fell in love with this dish from a very young age, and when I went abroad for my study this is still one of the dishes I chose to cook the most. I always make a big batch, quickly fry and store them in the freezer. On days that I feel too lazy to cook, I just have to thaw some, stick them in the oven, served with some rice noodles and fresh veggies and I have myself a delicious and nutritious meal.
It’s because the popularity of this dish that I was a bit hesitant when I started this post, just like when I wrote the recipe for caramelised braised pork, since I think probably everyone knows how to make it already. However when I think back to the first time I made this dish, I read no less than 10 recipes online because I don’t know what I should put in the filling, how to fry the rolls so that they are crunchy and stay crunchy, etc. This post, due to that, will not only be to share a recipe (because I think everyone’s taste preference is different, so this recipe is for reference only), but also to share some experience and tips to make uniformly-sized rolls, how to fry the spring rolls, etc. Of course these are just things that I’ve got from making them myself, and it is inevitably lacking, so hopefully I can learn more tips from you guys
Công thức tiếng Việt: Mẹo cuốn chả giò đều và rán được vàng giòn
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Yields: around 40 rolls (6cm long, 2cm wide)
Basically the filling for fried spring rolls has two main parts: meat and vegetable. The most used meat is minced pork, I used chicken once and it was tasty as well, there is also shrimp and crab spring rolls.
For vegetable, the most used are carrots, kohlrabi, Mexican turnip and bean sprouts. I could not find kohlrabi and Mexican turnip here in Grenoble, and bean sprouts spoil fast so they can spoil the rolls as well, so I opted for carrot and onion.
Wood-ear, Shiitake and glass noodles are also used in making spring roll filling, they give the filling more texture and a really nice sweet smell from the mushroom.
My recipe for spring roll filling is a bit difference from traditional recipe, with the addition of tofu, which reduces the fattiness of the filling and gives a very subtle sweetness.
- 200g minced pork
- 100g tofu
- ½ a carrot
- 1 small onion
- 20g glass noodles
- 3 wood-ears
- 1 egg yolk
- Fish sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, oil
- Rice paper
1. Preparing the ingredients
– Peel and finely chop the onion
– Peel and grate the carrot
– Soak the wood-ears and slice into thin strips
– Soak the shiitake mushrooms (if you use dried ones), slice into thin strips
– Chop the tofu into small pieces
– Soak the glass noodle in cold water until it’s soft, cut into 1-2cm long pieces (only soak until the noodles are soft enough for cutting, after that the noodles will continue absorb liquid from the other ingredients in the filling)
Put the meat, tofu, carrot, onion, glass noodles, wood-ears, shiitake mushrooms and egg yolks in a mixing bowl, mix well with the seasoning and 1 tablespoon of oil. You can cool a small bit of the filling in the microwave to have a taste test and adjust. The oil will help keep the filling from releasing its juice and keep the rolls crunchy for longer.
2. Making the rolls
One tip that I usually use to make uniform rolls is to put the filling in a rectangle container lined with cling film, use the back of a spoon to flatten the filling so that it’s about 1cm high, then use a knife to portion the filling into pieces of 6cm long, 2cm wide.
Dip the rice paper in warm water until it’s soft and pliable. Making the roll is quite easy. There are 3 simple steps: putting the filling into the rice paper, fold the two sides inside and roll until the end of the rice paper. Don’t make the rolls too loose or too tight, as they can break during frying.
3. Frying the rolls
This is the most important step of making fried spring rolls. Believe me, a soggy fried spring roll loses half of its deliciousness. One trick that I use the most to make crunchy spring rolls is to fry them twice. First time with low heat so that it’s partially cooked, take them out and let cool completely (or store them in the freezer for later). The second time, fry them on medium heat until they’re cooked and crunchy.
Furthermore, be generous with the oil when frying spring rolls. Deep frying will make them crunchy. You can use a saucepan or a wok to save on oil.
Before frying, stick the rolls in the fridge for 10-15 minutes for them to dry, they will be crunchier when fried.
Don’t overcrowd the frying pan when frying spring rolls, if the rolls stick to each other the outside skin can tear, making the filling absorb the oil, which will become too greasy and when served, the filling can release the oil and make the rolls soggy.
One trick to make the rolls have a golden colour is to use beer or water with some drops of caramelized sugar to dip the rice paper. I tried this and the result was quite nice. The alcohol and the smell of beer will evaporate while frying so this is still suitable for kids to eat.
If you have an oven, after the first frying, you can put the rolls in the oven at 200°C, they will be less greasy and still very crunchy.
4. Making the dipping sauce
I have written a post on different types of dipping sauce here. For me spring rolls are best served with a basic dipping sauce (salty, sweet & sour) with chili and garlic. You can adjust the dipping sauce according to the taste of the filling.
Hope you guys will cook up delicious fried spring rolls!