Vietnamese Egg Rolls
May 23, 2022 • Appetizers, One Dish Meals, Side Dishes
Many, many years ago, when I was a young sales rep for IBM, I used to love having lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant close to our office. And my very favorite was anything that was served withe those crispy, chewy egg rolls. Vietnamese egg rolls differ from Chinese egg rolls in two major ways: first, the Vietnamese version uses rice paper wrappers (great if you need a gluten free option) instead of wheat based wrappers, and second, the dipping sauce is distinctly Vietnamese with a heavy hit of fish sauce. While I’m not usually a fan of nonstick cookware, it’s critical to frying these or the wrappers will just stick to the pan regardless of how hot the oil is. My filling uses pork and some vegetables, but really you can use just about anything you like – minced shrimp or chicken can sub for the pork, and you can even make them vegetarian using chopped cooked mushrooms instead of a protein.
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 dried red chile pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, sliced
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 cup finely chopped red cabbage (or green)
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ piece of ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 ounces rice noodles, softened in water and cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 small splash of fish sauce
- 24 rice paper wrappers
- 2 cups peanut oil
- Combine the water with the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, chile pepper, and sliced garlic. Mix well and let stand at room temperature while you make the egg rolls
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook the pork until the fat is rendered and the pork is no longer pink. Remove the meat to a bowl with a slotted spoon and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- Add the cabbage and carrot to the pan and cook until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and add the garlic, ginger, cilantro, and scallions and cook, stirring constantly, for one more minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the rice noodles, sesame oil, and fish sauce.
- Working with one wrapper at a time, run the wrapper under warm water for about 15 seconds to start softening it and then lay it on a cutting board. Add ⅓ cup of the filling to the wrapper in the center and towards you. Fold the wrapper up away from you over the filling, then fold in the two sides like an envelope and continue rolling until it's sealed. Wet a second wrapper under warm water and use it to wrap the egg roll a second time to ensure the filling doesn't come out while cooking.
- Continue making egg rolls with the remaining filling and wrappers, making sure to set the egg rolls on a platter so they don't touch each other or they will stick together.
- Heat the peanut oil in a nonstick saucepan or frying pan until just barely smoking, and fry the egg rolls a couple at a time, turning them a few times, until they seem crisp. Note: they won't turn brown like a wheat flour wrapper, so just monitor for crispiness instead.
- Serve egg rolls hot with the Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.