Mini Fried Vegetarian Eggrolls (Cha Gio Chay in Vietnamese)
Eggrolls (Chả giò in Vietnamese) are a staple in Vietnamese cuisine. Despite its name, eggrolls contains no egg. They're filled with taro root, carrot, dried mushroom and rice vermicelli noodles. They also usually contain tofu or a meat product. This version is fried but there's also spring rolls that are not fried, I'll make those and post them some time soon.
This recipe is for my version of vegetarian eggrolls. They are very convenient when you're serving a large crowd. Eggrolls are the perfect party food. You can make them large and serve them with the main course, or make them smaller and serve them as appetizers. All you need is a good fillling and a ton of little helpers to wrap the crispy delicious cigar shaped snacks. Some of my earliest culinary memories are of my mom making me wrap a bunch of eggrolls before a party.
It took all of us about half an hour to wrap everything whereas if you're alone it'll take about 2 hours. It won't take that long for your guests to devour them though!
Yields: 81 lb taro roots (or red potatoes), shredded
2 shallots, finely diced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 Tbs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 block fresh tofu, firm
1/4 cup mung bean
1 oz black fungus mushrooms, dried
1 tsp mushroom powder
1 pack rice vermicelli noodle, dried (2 oz)
2 packs eggroll wrappers, frozen
1 tsp black peppercorns, freshly ground
2 tsp salt
3 cups canola oil (or any neutral oil), as needed
Slice about 1 inch thick the block of tofu. Bring a big saucepan full of water to a boil. Boil the tofu for about 30 seconds. Drain, cool down, then hand mash it. Set aside.
Cut the root end off of the carrot. Peel it. Wash it. Then julienne the carrot into thin strips. Finely Chop. Set aside
Place the whole package of dried rice vermicelli noodles in a bowl. Don't forget to cut the little thread and discard them! Soak them in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain. Chop into 1 inch threads. Set aside.
Place the mung beans in a small saucepan, barely cover with water, then slowly cook for about 30 minutes. It will form a dry paste. Set aside.
Place the black fungus mushrooms in a large bowl, soak in boiling water for 2-3 minutes then drain. Chop finely. Set aside.
Peel, wash and shred the taro roots (or potatoes if using). Place in a big bucket. Add all the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
In the same large pan, add about 2 more tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle about 4-5 tablespoons of shredded taro evenly into the pan. Do not stir. Wait for at least 2 minutes until one side is nicely fried, crisp and golden. Flip the taro using chopsticks. Continue until all the taro is fried. Add more oil if necessary.
When the taro are nicely fried and golden, transfer to a platter lined with paper towels. As soon as all the oil is drained, transfer to a large bowl.
And now it's time to call in your eggroll wrapping reinforcement. Basically call your family in. This is a perfect way to give the little ones a taste of cooking.
Get a bowl filled with cold water ready.
Assign one person to cut in 2 the eggroll wrappers into triangles and separate them. It's sold by 30 squares and they are stuck to each other.
Assign another person to place 2 tsp of the mixture at the base of the triangle.
And assign the rest of the crowd to wrap them. You fold one of the corners along the base towards the other corner along the base so that it just covers the filling. Then roll the wrapper once towards the top corner. Repeat with the other corner that it along the base. Moisten the expose top corner with water using your finger. Then finish rolling.
Once a plate is full with uncooked eggrolls, you can either store them with plastic wrap, then place in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer up to a month. Once you're ready to cook them, fill a large frying pan with peanut oil or another neutral oil about 2 inches high. Make sure your pan is tall enough so that there is enough room to add the eggrolls without the oil overflowing. If you have a deep fat fryer, by all means, use it. Place the eggrolls in the hot oil one at a time, seam side down. You will see bubbles. As soon as each eggroll turns slightly golden, rotate it. When the eggrolls are even and golden all the way around, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to drain the oil. They should be golden, crispy and delicious.
Taro root is a firm, hairy vegetable as starchy as a potato and is used very often in Asian cuisine.
Taro root is toxic when it's raw. And it will turn sour when it's mixed and stored in the freezer. So if you plan to make eggrolls in advance, substitute the taro root with potatoes, then it can be kept in the freezer.
Store the taro root no more than a week in your refrigerator.
If you can't find the frozen eggroll wrappers, you can substitute with bánh tráng (dried rice paper sheets). It's as good, but maybe a little greasier. That was how my mom used to make eggrolls. Fill a bowl with beer and add a teaspoon of baking powder. Brush each bánh tráng with the beer mixture then let it dry for about 2 minutes on a paper towel. Then continue as you would with the frozen eggroll wrappers. Personally I prefer the frozen ones, it's a big time saver which is important considering that making eggrolls is time-consuming to begin with.
I'm not a big fan of the cabbage and bean sprout filling. You want a crispy result so you should avoid any vegetable that will release moisture.
I found this wonderful gadget from Messermeister. It's THE best utensil for julienning vegetables. Is that a verb?
A good way to check if your filling is properly seasoned is to saute some in a frying pan with a little oil. If it's not quite seasoned, add more salt and pepper as needed to the mix. Once the eggrolls are wrapped up, it's too late!
One of the most common condiment to serve with Vietnamese eggroll is Sriracha sauce. It's the red chili sauce with the green cap. For those who are not into spicy food like me, you can serve it with a soy sauce condiment. I'll post the recipe later.
I prefer to serve mini eggrolls. First because it's crispier and second because it makes you feel less guilty when you polish off half a dozen of themPublished By: on February 7, 2009.