Lotus Spring Rolls (Chả Giò Sen)

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Save Recipe Lotus Spring Rolls (Chả Giò Sen)
  • 4Servings
  • 25 mPrep Time
  • 15 mCook Time
  • 40 mReady In
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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.

Ingredients

  • Spring rolls
  • Marinade
  • Dipping sauce
  • Side vegetables

Step by step method

  • Preparing

    Boil the lotus seeds for about 15 minutes until they are tender but not crumbled. Cut carrots into small (julienne) stripes. Remove the roots of wood ear fungi after soaking for some time, then cut into small threads. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl.

  • Making filling mixture

    Mix minced pork, lotus seeds, carrot stripes, wood ear threads, roasted peanuts, one-egg liquid with marinade ingredients for 10 minutes until the mixture is fully marinated.

  • Wrapping

    Divide the filling mixture into 10 even-sized portions (about 30 grams for each roll), use the rice papers to wrap 10 spring rolls, then seal each of them with the glue made from the egg liquid of the remaining egg.

  • Frying

    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.

  • Making dipping sauce

    Put sugar into the fish sauce, then cook the sauce on low heat (60°C/140°F), stir until the sugar is fully dissolved into the sauce. Turn off the heat and add minced garlic, chili pepper and strained kumquat juice.

  • Displaying

    Place a dish of freshly-cooked lotus spring rolls along with a dish of fresh vegetable and a small shallow bowl of dipping sauce.

Tips & variations

  • 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.

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