Cha gio (Vietnamese: chả giò) is a Vietnamese traditional dish, often translated as Vietnamese spring rolls. The basic version of cha gio is deep-fried rolls with fillings made of a mixture of minced (pork) meat & shrimps, and whisked duck eggs.
Lotus spring rolls or “chả giò sen” /charr-your-shen/, is a variation with the addition of boiled lotus seeds in place of shrimps. This recipe is contributed by Chef Trần Minh Dũng in Cao Lãnh city (Đồng Tháp province) where lotus plants are widely cultivated.
There are three types of flour papers that can be used to wrap “chả giò”: bánh đa nem (thin rice paper), bánh tráng pía (fluffy wheat flour paper), and bánh tráng rế (netted rice paper). In this recipe, bánh tráng pía papers are used, however they are hand-made and can be only found in some South Vietnam’s markets, so if you cannot find them, use the common rice papers instead.
A perfect “chả giò sen” roll should showcase the crispness and fattiness of the outside crust, the sweetness or umami flavor of the meat, the nuttiness and aroma of lotus seeds as well as the balanced saltiness and acidity of the dipping sauce.
Heat the oil at 170°C (338°F), until you see bubbles when checking with a chopstick. Put the lotus spring rolls into the frying pan, and slightly stir so that the rolls receive equal heat from all sides. When the rolls float to the surface and have brown color, get them out of the pan and put on oil absorbing sheets.
Place a dish of freshly-cooked lotus spring rolls along with a dish of fresh vegetable and a small shallow bowl of dipping sauce.
Black wood ear fungi after being sliced should be marinated with a bit of black pepper to enhance the flavor.
Rolls must be deep-fried so that they can be evenly-cooked from every side.
Use common rice papers if "bánh tráng pía" papers are not available. You can also use "bánh tráng rế" (netted rice papers) to create a different crust texture.
Calamansis can be used as a substitution for kumquats.