2 3/4 ounces dried glass or cellophane noodles
1 3/4 ounces dried mushroom strips (such as wood ear mushrooms or Chinese black fungus)
9 ounces ground pork
9 ounces ground chicken
1 pound 2 ounces carrots, grated
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 packet spring roll papers (8 1/2 inches square)
oil for deep-frying
Dipping fish sauce (page 33), for serving
Soak the noodles and mushroom strips separately in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain and dry on paper towels. Cut the noodles into 1 1/2-inch long pieces, then combine with all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
Cut the spring roll papers diagonally to form 2 triangles, then separate the paper into single sheets. Place a piece of paper on a plate with the base of the triangle facing you. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto the middle of the bottom edge of the paper and fold the two adjacent sides, one on top of the other into the center. Roll toward the apex to form a nice firm roll, and secure with a dab of flour mixed with some water. Repeat until you have filled all of the papers.
When freshly rolled, the cha gio can be deep-fried in oil at a temperature of 350°F, or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Alternatively, you can store them in the freezer and cook as needed. These can be cooked and eaten on their own, dipped in dipping fish sauce, or placed on top of a dressed vermicelli salad (page 118). At Red Lantern, we like to wrap the parcels in lettuce with herbs and serve with dipping fish sauce.
Note: Ensure you use the spring roll papers as soon as they thaw.
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