March 11, 2011

Chia Gio & Nuoc Man Cham (Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Fish Sauce Dip)

Last week I went for a Vietnamese cooking class in a local kitchen ware shop.  I have been receiving the classes schedule from this shop for a while and I wasn’t sure a two hours class would teach me much. I had never attended a cooking class before and since I love Vietnamese food I felt it was the perfect excuse to try it.

I was very surprised to find out that two hours is enough to teach you 3 to 4 recipes in a very relaxed and informal atmosphere still giving you the opportunity to participate hands-on in some of the recipes. I learned 4 recipes, several tips about Vietnamese food and ingredients and got to meet a bunch of interesting people that like me love food and eating.

I am sharing with you today two of the recipes I learned in the class and hope you like them as much as I did: Chia Gio & Nuoc Man Cham (Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Fish Sauce Dip). After the class I did some research on internet and found there are several versions of Vietnamese spring rolls each one of them with a slightly different ingredient. The recipe in this post has the same ingredients from the class handout with quantities adapted a bit to suit our family taste. I’m sure once you try this recipe you will be adapting it to your style as well.

Chia Gio Recipe (Vietnamese Spring Rolls)
450g of lean minced pork meat
½ cup of noodles, thin cellophane mung bean noodles or vermicelli
½ cup of carrots chopped or grated
½ cup of chopped white onion
2 tablespoons of chopped green onions
2 tablespoons of chopped coriander
½ cup of chopped mushrooms ( I used white mushrooms)
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
25 pieces of Vietnamese rice paper for rolls

Nuoc Mam Cham (Fish Sauce Dip)
½ cup of orange juice
6 teaspoons of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of white vinegar
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
5 to 6 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 chili peppers finely chopped and deseeded
2 cloves of garlic minced

Start mixing all the ingredients for the fish sauce. Next chop all  the ingredient for the spring rolls. Soak the noodles in warm water for 4 to 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking and cut the noodles in several pieces of 3-4cm long.

To prepare the spring rolls filling mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl and use your hands to mix them all well. Let this mixture marinating for 20 to 30 minutes.

Once the filling is ready it is time to start rolling the spring rolls. Get one piece of rice paper each time and dip it quickly in warm water. Dry the rice paper in a kitchen towel and transfer it to a flat surface.

Add one tablespoon of filling on the lower part of the rice paper.

Fold the rice paper once or twice in a roll shape.

Fold the two ends inside.

Adjust the upper part of the rice paper to have more triangular shape.

Roll it to the end of the rice paper.

If you think it is too complicated remember that my 8 years old daugther was helping me doing the rolls ...

When all the spring rolls are rolled it is time to deep fry them in hot cooking oil. The oil temperature should be medium/hot to assure the filling is cooked and the outside of the rolls is slightly brown.

Serve the spring rolls with the fish sauce dip.

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