The spring roll is considered the most common dish on banquet tables from the North to the South of Vietnam. Spring rolls are called “cha gio” in the South, “nem ran” in the North, and “cha ram” in Central Vietnam. However, whatever it is called, it should satisfy these two requirements: the ingredients are popular and the skills of the person who cooks this dish should be outstanding. Because of these two requirements, the spring roll has the most variants among Vietnamese dishes. The Saigon Professional Cook Association hosted a competition and had received more than 100 different spring roll recipes. The differences exist in both the stuffing and the wrappers. For instance, there are some types of stuffing, such as durian, seafood, and salmon, or there also are different types of wrappers, such as sheets of Pía cake, prawn crackers, and grilled rice papers. The chefs of The Golden Spoon Awards show another special kind of spring roll: grapefruit spring roll. Diners will be more excited because they will have to guess what the wrappers are made from to create such an extraordinary taste.
POMELO SPRING ROLLSPrint This
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE SPRING ROLLS
- 1 big grapefruit with a thick peel
- 100g featherback fish
- 150g black tiger prawn (60 prawns per kilo)
- 1 chicken egg
- 30g frying flour
- 20ml water
- 70g tempura flour
- 400ml cooking oil
- 5g shallots
- 5g garlic
- 5g cayenne pepper
- 50g green beans
- 50g carrots
- 1g ground pepper
- 2g caster sugar
- 5ml fish sauce
- 200g salt
- 1g seasoning powder
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
- 50g mayonnaise
- 1 passion fruit
- 5g caster sugar
Preparation: Peel off the green peel of the grapefruit, and keep the pith. With a sharp knife, slightly score from the top to the bottom of the grapefruit to divide it into 8 equal parts then cut away the pith. Add 100g of salt and a little water into the pith, knead the pith carefully to remove all the tangy taste, then clean it thoroughly. Continue to add 100g of salt into the pith, knead it again, then wash it and wring it out. Slightly poach the pith in boiling water, take it out and clean it again with cold water and leave it to cool down, then wring it thoroughly. Finally, roll the pith into thin layers with a thinning machine or a glass bottle.
Whisk the egg with 20ml of water then slowly add 30g of tempura flour and stir until it becomes a gelatinous batter. Peel the carrots, cut them into short shoestrings, about 3 mm thick, 4 mm long; strip off the “strings” along the sides of the beans, cut them into pieces of the same length with the carrots. Cut the passion fruit in half, and strain it for the extract. Clean the prawns thoroughly and drain them.
Marinate the fish: Put the featherback fish in a bowl, marinate with shallots, onions, minced cayenne pepper, 5ml of fish sauce, and 2g of sugar, then knead it until it becomes a chewy paste.
Prepare the prawns: Thread each prawn onto a wooden skewer under the tail, up between the shell and meat, then boil them. After that, rip all the shells off the shrimp and remove the heads and discard the skewers. By doing this, the prawns won’t be bent, then marinate them with 1g of salt and 1g of seasoning powder.
Make the spring rolls: Poach the carrots and beans in boiling water until they are barely cooked through. Clean them in cold water then drain them. Put some featherback fish paste to evenly cover the pith layer. Place a prawn, a string of green bean, a carrot string on the fish paste and roll it up, then add some more fish paste make the prawn stick to the pith wrapper, repeat with the remaining.
Fry the spring rolls: Pour the tempura flour into a deep plate, dunk every spring roll into the frying flour then the tempura flour to coat the rolls thoroughly. Put a wok on the stove and add 400ml of cooking oil. When the oil is heated through, slowly put flour-coated prawn rolls in and fry them on medium heat until the rolls are golden brown.
Make the sauce: Add 5g of sugar into the passion fruit extract, stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolves, then add 50g of mayonnaise and stir them constantly.
Put the spring rolls on a plate, spoon over the sauce for decoration and serve with salad.
The spring rolls should be evenly golden, the taste should be pleasing to your palate, the prawns should be fresh and have their natural sweet taste, the carrots and beans should be crispy and the grapefruit pith should not be tangy.
The grapefruit pith can be prepared and frozen in advance; when you want to make spring rolls, take it out, wring it thoroughly and roll them into thin layers. The spring rolls can also be prepared and frozen one day beforehand (if you have to serve a lot of people), then take them out and let them cool down a bit then coat them with the flour and fry them.
Constantly stir the rolls so that they will be cooked through from the inside to the outside.
Don’t fry on too high heat; the outside of the rolls will be golden but the filling will be undercooked.
EFFECTS OF THIS DISH
This dish helps tonify Qi and blood, tonify kidney, improve male virility, increase breast milk production, reduce arthritis, lessen pain, and relieve constipation. This dish is very useful for people with asthenia, blood deficiency, men with renal failure, and erectile dysfunction, pregnant women with obstructed milk ducts, for those with indigestion, loss of appetite, dyspepsia and numbness of limbs.
TRAN NGOC NGHIA Tien Loc Wedding Restaurant (Dong Nai Province) Runner-up in the Golden Spoon Awards 2013