Crispy Fried Spring Roll with Rice Paper Wrapper (Cha Gio)

31March 2022

Vietnamese crispy fried spring rolls (cha gio)

If you tried to make fried spring rolls with rice paper wrappers and didn’t have much luck, I got you!

Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls

A traditional Vietnamese fried spring roll is a deep-fried appetizer with a rice paper crust and a filling made of ground pork, vermicelli noodles, and minced wood ear mushroom. These spring rolls are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. It’s crispy, crunchy, and utterly delicious.

Vietnamese crispy fried spring rolls (cha gio) with sweet chili sauce

How to Serve Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls

You can serve fried spring rolls on their own with your choice of dipping sauce. I like to use a homemade Vietnamese dipping sauce but you can also get your favorite store-bought sweet chili sauce.

Serve these spring rolls with a platter of fresh leafy lettuce for wrapping and pickled daikon and carrots (Do Chua). You can also serve them as a component of a noodle dish (Bun Thit Nuong).

Vietnamese crispy fried spring rolls (cha gio) on wire rack

Spring Roll vs Egg Roll

I actually call these egg rolls, and not fried spring rolls. I only titled this recipe as such to appease some people. It turns out what you call it depends on where you are from.

If in Vietnam, don’t call these appetizers egg rolls. “Egg rolls” is an American term and people are quick to correct you. Fist-fights often start over the correct terminology of this appetizer.

In Vietnam, they call these appetizers a type of spring roll. There are fresh spring rolls, Goi Cuon. To differentiate the two, fresh or fried is used. Sometimes, summer roll is used instead for the fresh version to further confuse people.

And why is it called an egg roll? Beats me. There’s no egg in the filling. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Vietnamese crispy fried spring rolls (cha gio)

Fried Spring Rolls with Regular Rice Paper Don’t Work!

In the past, my fried spring rolls made with rice paper don’t end up all too great.

The outside is perfectly crispy, just like it should. But the inside layers of the rice paper don’t fully cook all the way through, despite frying them a little longer. 

The interior where the rice paper is overlapping ends up very gummy. It’s hard to chew and sometimes it gets stuck to the roof of my mouth. This creates an unpleasant and awkward eating experience.

Vietnamese crispy fried spring rolls (cha gio)

Spring Roll Pastry / Lumpia Wrapper

Because regular rice paper never works for me, I opt for a spring roll pastry wrapper made of wheat flour. You can find spring roll pastry wrappers in the freezer aisle in most Asian stores. They come in large square sheets of about 30. Sometimes they are labeled lumpia wrappers.

When deep-fried with these pastry wrappers, it looks like the American egg rolls but with a much smoother surface. It’s golden brown and perfectly crispy and flaky, without fail each and every time.

For those in the United States like me, we tend to use these spring roll pastry/lumpia wrappers for crispy spring rolls/egg rolls because it’s readily available.

Vietnam Rice Paper

For those in Vietnam, these wheat pastry wrappers are not available so they use rice paper for their fried spring rolls.

Rice paper in Vietnam is so much more awesome than in the States because of the variety. This is the very reason I pack them home with me in suitcases full, smuggling them across countries like a bandit.

Some Vietnam rice paper is used to wrap fresh spring rolls (Goi Cuon) that first requires a bit of moisture to become pliable.

Then there is another type of rice paper that doesn’t require moisture at all that is used for immediate consumption in dishes like butter grill beef (bo nuong vi). They also have solid rice paper that is perfect for deep frying. They also have the net rice paper that looks like exactly how it’s described, a net.

Vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio) with rice paper wrapper ready to fry

Net Rice Paper

Rice Paper Wrapper that Actually Works for Frying

I finally found the net rice paper wrapper here in beautiful California and it works so well for frying.

Look for Net Rice Paper or Netted Spring Roll Wrapper on the label. It’s often labeled with its Vietnamese name, Banh Trang Re. You don’t even need the label. They are physically recognizable.

Because of the holes, the oil can get underneath to fry up those hidden layers nicely. And a quick look at the ingredient list reveals that there’s a small percentage of wheat flour in these net rice paper sheets, which produce that extra crispy texture once fried.

Where to Find Net Rice Paper Wrappers in the Store

I found these net rice wrappers in the frozen aisle. It was located next to the egg roll/lumpia/fried spring roll pastry wrappers. I’m not sure why they are in the freezer section, because they are just dried rice paper. It may require refrigeration because of the small percentage of wheat flour. Who knows.

If you don’t see them in the freezer aisle, check the dry goods aisle where they keep the regular/solid rice paper in case they are placed there instead.

They come in a clear square packaging of about 30 circular sheets. Each rice paper sheet was separated by parchment paper to prevent sticking.

How to Use Net Rice Paper Wrappers

Wet the rice paper in a shallow bowl of lukewarm water. Then immediately transfer to a clean flat surface to wrap the filling.

The water will make the rice paper pliable so they don’t break into a million brittle pieces. However, if you leave the rice paper wet for too long, the rice paper will also break when handling into a millon softened pieces.

The trick is to work quickly, but have no fear. If it tears or breaks, rice paper is forgivable. Just continue to overlap the broken areas with rice paper and you are good to go. You couldn’t even tell if there was a tear …if you squint.

Recipe with photo illustrations below to guide you. And a video!

Happy cooking!

Crispy Fried Spring Rolls with Rice Paper Wrapper (Cha Gio) Crispy Fried Vietnamese Spring Rollshttps://youtube.com/shorts/Aw–SuMA-1ICrispy Fried Vietnamese Spring Rollshttps://i9.ytimg.com/vi/Aw–SuMA-1I/mq1.jpg?sqp=COSWkpIG&rs=AOn4CLC6P1dFJ5HnlbS2Z89k9sBBm5tuKw2022-03-29 Yield 30 spring rolls Author Vicky Pham Prep time30 Min Cook time30 Min Total time1 Hour

Crispy Fried Spring Rolls with Rice Paper Wrapper (Cha Gio)

If you have tried to make fried spring rolls (sometimes called egg rolls) with rice paper wrapper and never had much luck, this is the recipe for you. Perfectly fried spring rolls with traditional ground pork, vermicelli noodles, and minced woodear mushroom, these fried spring rolls are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. And they are made with rice paper! Just like in Vietnam!

Ingredients

Ground Pork Filling

Wrapper/Oil/Dipping Sauce

Instructions

Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, rehydrate dried wood ear mushroom and dried vermicelli noodles in warm water for 15 minutes. Remove from water and rinse. Mince finely and set aside.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, mix together ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, minced vermicelli noodles, green onion, shallot, sugar, black pepper, sesame oil, salt, oyster sauce, and mushroom bouillon powder. Set aside.

Wrapping

  1. Quickly submerge a netted rice paper in a shallow water bowl so that top and bottom are wet then immediately transfer to a large plate or clean flat surface.
  2. wet rice paper

  3. Add 2 tablespoons of filling towards the bottom end of the rice paper.
  4. add filling

  5. Roll the rice paper up to cover the filling until you reach the middle.
  6. roll up to cover filling

  7. Tuck in both sides.
  8. fold in sides

  9. Continue to roll up to seal.
  10. roll up to seal

Frying

  1. In a wok or tall skillet, heat vegetable oil to 325°F or when a small piece of rice paper wrapper dropped in oil starts to sizzle gently. Oil can be warmer than needed, as you can always increase the temperature without ruining the spring roll. Oil too hot will produce a burnt crust and an uncooked interior. Not good.
  2. Once you get the right temperature, fry in small batches for 4-5 minutes or until spring rolls are golden brown. Transfer spring rolls onto a wire rack or a paper-towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.

Serving

  1. It’s best to serve the fried spring rolls immediately after frying for the crispy crust. Serve with a traditional homemade Vietnamese Fish sauce dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham) or you can get your favorite sweet chili sauce from the store.
  2. Serve these spring rolls on their own or, my favorite, with a platter of fresh leafy lettuce for wrapping and pickled daikon and carrots (Do Chua). You can also serve them as a component of a noodle dish (Bun Thit Nuong).

Recommended Products:

14-inch wok Baking sheet with wire rack

Nutrition Facts

Calories

96

Fat

4

Sat. Fat

1

Carbs

11

Fiber

0

Net carbs

11

Sugar

0

Protein

4

Sodium

224

Cholesterol

12

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