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Vietnamese egg rolls

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The Ravenous Couple

(Read caption) Vietnamese egg rolls made with rice paper are crispy, bubbly and pleasantly chewy.

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What recipe would you like to learn if you get one afternoon to learn from a Vietnamese grandmother? For us, and some friends, it was crispy banh xeo and Vietnamese egg rolls, called chả giò in the south and nem rán in the north. Since we blogged about banh xeo already, we’ll concentrate on the venerable egg roll. 

How are Vietnamese egg rolls different, than say, Chinese egg rolls? Vietnamese egg rolls are typically wrapped with a rice paper whereas Chinese egg rolls are wrapped a wheat base wrapper. They both contain a variety of chopped vegetables and can be made with pork, shrimp, or leaner meats such as chicken or turkey. The textural differences between rice paper and wheat paper is stunning. The rice paper roll is both crispy, bubbly and pleasantly chewy, a great alternative to the wheat based wrapper. Hong’s parents have been making Vietnamese egg rolls for over 20 years in addition to banh cam at their church, raising money for parish activities.

So for one afternoon we were all eager sponges, soaking up tips learned from over 40 years of cooking from Hong’s mom, a mother of four and grandmother of two and soon to be three, making banh xeo and chả giò. We’ve previously posted the banh xeo recipe so we won’t comment too much on that here, except to use a good nonstick pan and go low and slow on the heat for crispy banh xeo.  But in case you’re wondering, the banh xeo made by all the learners came out delicious!

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