Tuesday, October 9, 2012

# 7 Vietnamese Spring Rolls - Cha Ram

Vietnamese spring rolls

After my love affair with Tom Yum in Thailand I decided to stay in Southeast Asia and go to Vietnam. Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its healthy food, but I was happy to make an exception to that rule with these spring rolls.

Vietnamese spring rolls can be filled with many different ingredients, usually some kind of mixture of pork, shrimp, rice noodles mushrooms, onions carrots and other vegetables.  This recipe is a lot simpler though, it only contains shrimp & green onions. It originates in Southern Vietnam, but I found it on a great blog called wandering chopsticks. I love the simplicity of the recipe. It goes really well with the homemade chilly sauce. Making your own chilly sauce is a piece of cake, so please try it!

Vietnamese spring rolls are traditionally made with rice paper. But most spring rolls that we get over here are made with wheat wrappers. Spring rolls made with rice paper are uglier then their wheat paper cousins. There are two reasons for this. First of all, rice paper does not brown as much, nor as evenly as wheat paper. Second of all, when you fry rice paper it starts bubbling, and let's face it even on a spring roll bumps lumps & blisters just don't look pretty.. Do not judge them by their cover though! These ugly ducklings turned out to taste better then their pretty wheat paper cousins. The rice paper is crispy but chewy at the same time! [plus ricepaper is glutenfree]

Hurray for Ricepaper!
Rice paper looks a little bit like a really big uncooked noodle. You put it in warm water to soften it. And then it's ready to go.

Before we start...a little safety warning here. I don’t have a deep fryer, so I just use a regular pan and oil.. I assume everybody reading this blog knows that frying is dangerous, so you all understand safety-precautions are not a bad idea. I totally recommend a real frying pan, I just don't have one. This fireman  and this blog will tell you more on frying safely...

Fresh Chili sauce - Nuoc Cham
2-3 small fresh red chili
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
1 tablespoon white vinegar 
1 teaspoon Sugar
2 tablespoon Fish sauce
4 tablespoon water
1 clove of garlic 
handfull of Coriander
chopped peanuts

Vietnamese Spring Rolls (makes 5) - Cha Ram
2 green onions
10 uncooked shrimp [medium size]
5 sheets of rice paper
frying oil - [vegetable/ sunflower oil]
lettuce for decoration
 Kitchen towel

To make the chili sauce remove seeds from the chili and chop finely

Crush and chop the garlic

 Add the chili, garlic and sugar to a small bowl

Add fish sauce, lime, vinegar and water

Mix everything together

The chili sauce is now done, set aside

Clean the shrimp

If you need some instructions for that, here's a video on how to clean shrimp

Cut the clean shrimp into small pieces about 1 cm / 0.5 inch

Chop the green onions

Mix this together with the shrimp

If you like you can add a pinch of salt
Now the fun part, putting your rolls together!

You will need:
a cutting (rolling) board 
a bowl [big enough to fit the rice paper] filled with warm water
the shrimp-onion filling
a tablespoon

Place the rice paper in the bowl of water for 10 -15 seconds
until it's soft

Place one tablespoon of filling on the top of the ricepaper

Leave enough space on top of the ricepaper to fold it over

Fold the top of the sheet over the filling

 Fold both sides over

Grab and make a nice tight roll

Roll all the way down

Make as many spring rolls as you can / want

Heat the oil

Make sure the oil is hot enough for frying yet not too hot. I always check by throwing in a small peace of paper, if the oil starts to bubble around it you know it's hot enough
Fry spring rolls for a couple of minutes 3-5,
Don't fry too many at once, otherwise they'll stick together [yes that's what I did...;-)]

The color of the rolls will be lighter compared to golden brown wheat based spring rolls most people are used too..

Let them rest on tissue paper romeove the excess oil...

You can make the ugly ducklings look better by serving them on a 
bed of lettuce

Serve with the chili sauce [you can garnish the sauce with the coriander and some chopped peanuts]

Ăn ngon nhé!

Visit wandering chopsticks for more great vietnamese recipes!


  1. Zeg uh, Ellen de Pellen,

    Wordt het niet eens tijd dat je mij te eten vraagt binnenkort? :)

    Sieht gut aus, let's meet binnenkort!

  2. :-) ja wordt inderdaad wel eens tijd! Gaan we snel doen! XX


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