From Wire Reports
cuốn, the humble spring roll, is a traditional dish
served on all occasions: Tet,
engagements, weddings and death anniversaries.
Though it is easy to make and thus often made when there
are visitors at home, it is not without its subtleties.
In different parts of the country, there are differences
in its ingredients and even name. It is called nem rán in the north, chả giò in the south, and ram cuốn in
The filling changes according to local tastes but usually
has some common ingredients such as pork, shrimp, crab, fish, finely threaded
taro or sweet potato. The wrapper is made of rice paper.
In the central province of Quang Ngai, there are several
variations of the dish.
For the filling, people here use a whole shrimp,
marinating it, stir-frying it and adding thinly cut green onions and pork.
In another variety, they use fresh corn seeds as the main
A popular delicacy in the province, it comes in two
versions. The deep fried one tastes crispy and greasy. When grilled over
burning coals, it is less greasy but still delicious.
When preparing the corn, people often choose glutinous
baby corn with soft seeds to make the dish more delicious. The seeds are taken
out, put in a mortar and ground fine, and mixed with onion, garlic and pepper.
Oil is heated in a pan, the mixture of corn seeds is put
in it and stir-fried quickly until the fragrance wafts through the house,
indicating the seeds are done.
The mixture is then placed in rice paper and rolled up,
ready to be fried.
To make the dish more delicious, the mixture of corn
seeds is added to eggs, pork and chopped boiled shrimp before being placed in
either thick or thin rice paper and wrapped to produce thumb-sized spring
People often use monosodium glutamate instead of salt to
enhance the flavor and taste.
To keep the spring roll crisp, some lemon juice is added
to the oil or some sugar is put in the water used to dip the rice paper before
The spring roll can be fried or grilled.
It has a greasy, salty taste from the shrimp, fragrance
and sweetness from the corn seeds, and a crispy texture from the rice paper.
It should be enjoyed with a dipping sauce, pickles,
lettuce and herbs.
Carrots, radishes, and green papaya are thinly sliced and
added to sweet and sour vinegar to make the pickles.
The dipping sauce is made by adding lime, chili, garlic
and sugar to fish sauce.