In Vietnam, fried spring rolls are called Cha gio and Nem ran (North Vietnam). In This is not a spring roll I discussed the authenticity of fried Vietnamese spring rolls (with Chinese wheat flour sheets). Spring rolls of rice paper are the original. Although the difference is only on the outside, the sheets provide a very different flavor. Spring rolls of rice paper take me back to Vietnam, spring rolls of wheat flower sheets are synonymous with mobile stalls anywhere in the Netherlands. But I love both, depending on what’s inside.

Fried spring rolls of rice paper are slightly fatter than that of Chinese egg roll sheets. In both cases, you can vary endlessly with the filling. I eat rice paper preferable fresh and raw, therefor there are countless rice paper recipes. But if I go fry rice paper anyway, I go for the luxury version, with fresh crab.

Preparing fresh crab is an uphill struggle. But it’s so incredibly delicious, so I can’t stop myself. For this recipe, I went out of my mind and I bought 1.2 kilograms of crab claws. Which I combine with a little shrimp. But choose your own ingredients, amounts and proportions. Minced pork, fresh crab, shrimp or fried tofu can be used alone or in combination to taste. Carrots, jicama, taro and / or bean sprouts, it does not matter. Just make sure that all the ingredients are combined as dry as possible. These spring rolls are usually dipped in basic fish sauce dipping.

Ingredients
About 25 spring rolls. Make use of the conventional rice paper size, usely 22 cm. Smaller is also possible, but then you have a chance that during frying the egg rolls burst quickly.

  • 1 kilo of crab claws
  • 20 g wood ears / black fungus
  • 30 g glass noodles
  • 250 g shrimp, peeled
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • rice paper
  • oil

Necessities

  • cleaver, crab fork and tongs
  • bowl of warm water, clean tea towel

Eat fried spring rolls the Vietnamese way

Preparation

  1. Put a large pot filled ⅔ with water and a pinch of salt on the fire and bring to a boil. Clean the crab claws by placing them in a colander and scrub them under flushing water. Put them into the boiling water and make sure that all the claws are under water. Cook the crab about 7 minutes or as soon as the water begins to boil again (depending on the amount of crab). Put them back in the colander and let cool.
  2. Soak the wood ears about 15 minutes in a bowl of warm water. Pat dry and chop. Remove the hard bits.
  3. Soak the glass noodles about 15 minutes in a bowl of warm water. Let them drain in a colander. Pat dry the glass noodles and cut them coarsely into short strings.
  4. Chop the shrimp coarsely.
  5. Cut the carrots into julienne.
  6. Remove the crab meat from the claws by using a cleaver, crab fork and tongs. Put the crab meat directly into a large bowl for the rest of the filling.
  7. In the bowl of crab meat, add the shrimp, wood ears, glass noodles, carrot, onion, egg, sugar, fish sauce and black pepper. Use disposable gloves or sandwich bags to mix the stuffing with your hand. Let the stuffing stand for about 20 minutes.
  8. When using rice paper fresh, it is dipped in warm to hot water to soak. But with frying, the rice paper should not be too soft. Put a rice paper sheet on a plate or cutting board. Put hot water in a bowl and dip the corner of a clean tea towel in it to wet. Rub the rice paper on both sides a little wet, so that the paper is manoeuvrable but not too soft. I prefer to dip the rice paper in water, but I will use less hot water for this, and do it very briefly. Spoon about a tablespoon of the filling on the rice paper. Roll up into spring rolls. If the rice paper still cracks, wrap  another (soaked) rice paper around it.
  9. Heat oil in a wok or use a deep fryer. Fry the spring rolls about 6 minutes light brown. When using a deep-frying wok I fry 4 spring rolls at a time. Keep the fried spring rolls preferably on a oven rack, so they remain crisp. Eat them in the ways described above.