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Monday, December 29, 2014

Rice Paper Egg Rolls /Cha Gio /Nem Ran

2015 is going to be a good year.
How do I know?
Because I can make egg rolls with rice paper without them exploding everywhere.
Yesterday I went on and on about my quest to find egg roll wrappers at the Asian supermarket.. and today I'm posting egg rolls with rice paper instead of egg roll wrappers.
The answer to your question is, no, I have not gone completely madd and schizo.. although sometimes I do wonder...
It's just that my egg roll wrappers came in packages of 30, and since they need to defrost, if I open one, I'd better use the whole package.
I had just a touch of filling leftover after rolling and frying my 30 "normal" egg rolls, and since rice paper is dry, I can use one sheet at a time without worrying about wasting the rest of the pack.  I always have rice paper handy for spontaneous spring roll action, so I made my 5 last egg rolls with this rice paper.
There are only 4 pictured.. because I ate one before photographing to make sure the crispiness was worthy of my nimble fingers typing about this adventure.
The result?
Fabulous crispiness, just the way my Mother would like them.
They are a bit trickier than the egg roll wrappers because you have to prep each sheet within seconds of rolling.. and you can't really roll them all at once and then fry (or at least, I didn't think it was a good idea) because damp rice paper tends to stick to the surface it is in contact with... so I was afraid they'd rip apart as I would pluck them before getting them to the hot oil.
So how do you achieve this result?
Well, this is a big load of trial and error.  Really.  I think the rice paper I used was probably one of the   reasons it worked this time.  I used Banh Trang brand 22cm diameter with Bich-Chi Bong Thap stamped onto the package.  This brand is not my favorite for spring rolls, however.  For those, I prefer the Lion Brand.  They are more pleasant for cold appetizers.
Anyway, here is my technique:
1.  Dip the edges in some water, then dip your index in that water and slide it across the middle of the sheet on both sides.  This pretty much means, do not soak the whole sheet in water.  You want the edges to be malleable and the middle to be just damp.
2.  Place 1 Tbsp filling onto the bottom half of your circle.
3.  Roll tightly starting with the bottom until you get to the middle.  Tightly is the key.  When you get to the middle, fold in each side, then continue rolling tightly until you get to the top.  Since that top edge is wet, it will "seal" the roll.
4.  Place directly into the hot oil and fry for about 3-4 minutes.
5.  Remove onto paper towels, to soak up the oil and keep them crispy.

Filling all mixed together for 35-40 egg rolls:
500g (1 lb) ground turkey cooked in 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp black vinegar
1 section (2oz) bean thread noodles, soaked, drained, and cut
10 dried shitakes, soaked, drained, and sliced
3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cup shredded red cabbage
bunch scallions, chopped
1 bunch chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 egg yolks

Nuac Mam Cham (Dipping Sauce) for 20 Egg rolls:
2 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
3 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 piment oiseau (birds eye chili) chopped and seeded
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Serve with some salad and mint (not shown because I was not planning on showing anything today).
These "normal" egg rolls preceded my rice paper egg rolls.
Quite a fiasco happening in my kitchen, really.

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