Chuc mung nam moi (belated)!!! It’s my year – year of the rabbit (cat in the Vietnamese tradition) – and I have a great feeling it’s going to be a good one! It’s been so hectic lately with work, school and life in general that I haven’t been able to post in a while. However, I do have recipes lined up so hopefully the next few recipes will be up quick!
As a family tradition on Tet, or Lunar New Years, our family has a vegetarian feast. Traditionally in the Vietnamese culture it is not vegetarian – in fact they usually roast an entire pig! However, my grandma, a vegetarian herself, believes we should not kill an animal for celebrations as it may bring bad luck in the future. For the Lunar New Year, we have a celebration party over the weekend, and on the actual day of, we honor the dead with a quiet family dinner. All events include lots of money in lucky red envelopes!
Cha gio, or egg rolls, is a recipe we made for Tet and one I have been wanting to do for a while. Why? Because I think my grandma’s are the absolute best! I have had no other egg roll I enjoyed as much as hers (certainly not the stuff they serve at restaurants…and God forbid Chinese-American restaurant ones). The vegetarian egg rolls are incredibly easy to make, but it is rather time consuming making each egg roll. I hope you enjoy my grandma’s cha gio recipe!
Cha Gio Chay – Vegetarian Eggrolls
Makes ~50 small eggrolls, 25 large
- 1 Leek – the green part diced
- 2 Fried Tofu – sliced into long thing strips
- 1 carrot – julienned
- 1/2-1 sweet potato – julienned
- 2/3 pkg Black fungus – soaked for a few hours before cooking (see ingredient guide for picture of packaging and brand)
- 1-1.5 bunch Bun Tau – soaked an hour before cooking
- Salt, Pepper
- Mushroom Powder
- 1/2 pkg of egg roll wrappers
Making the mixture
**Can be made day before
1. Saute the leeks in a large, wide saucepan on med-high until golden brown.
2. Switch heat to high. Add in your carrots, tofu, and sweet potato. Mix in about 1 Tsp salt, pinch of sugar, and 1/2 Tbsp of mushroom powder. Stir around, switch to med and cover until carrots and sweet potatoes are softened.
3. Add in your black fungus and let cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Taste the mixture and add any salt, mushroom powder or sugar to desired taste.
4. Add in your bun tau. Cook until noodles are clear and soft. Set aside and let cool.
Wrapping and Cooking the Cha Gio
1. Take your egg roll sheets and cut diagonally in half.
2. Take one wrapper sheet and place on a flat surface so that it looks like a triangle. Spoon a little (or a lot depending how big you want it) in the center.
3. Place a piece of tofu in the center of your mixture.
4. Fold in the right and and left corners. Roll it towards the top corner. Try to make it as tight as possible without tearing the sheet!
**Note: My grandma likes to make a food glue of water and start and put a little at the top corner to ensure it sticks. You can do this, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 until all your mixture is gone.
6. Deep fry the egg rolls (bring out the deep fryer if possible or just use a pot with oil) until gold brown. Drain on a paper towel.
6. Let cool and serve immediately.
Wishing you a year full of happiness, health, fun and of course, good food and happy cooking!!