Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mom's Recipes: Ram Bắp (Corn Spring Rolls)

Ram bắp (corn spring rolls) is a specialty of Quảng Ngãi, where my mom grew up. Typically, chả giò (Vietnamese spring rolls) are made of pork and crab. These special spring rolls are mainly made of corn instead. My mom usually makes them in the summer when corn is in season but she has been known to freeze some (before frying) and fry them during the off season.

This is a favourite of many friends of mine, including my friends C & R who invited my sister L, her boyfriend D and myself for dinner. So I thought I would bring this for an appetizer and take the opportunity to write about it.

Ram Bắp (Corn Spring Rolls) - makes about 36
A few notes about the ingredients. These are the same ingredients my mom uses for chả giò, replacing the corn with pork, and with the addition of shredded carrots. I remember one of my aunts in California adding mung bean to the mixture and my aunt in Quảng Ngãi adding taro root. Wandering Chopsticks also made it with grated carrots. So you can really add whatever you want. Vietnamese spring rolls are typically rolled in rice paper but we use Chinese wrappers. I actually like the saltiness and chewiness of rice paper, but it requires more work (dipping it in water first).

* 3 ears of corn, thinly sliced (fresh corn must be used to be sliced!)
* 1 little bunch (37.5 g) bean thread noodles, soaked and drained
* 1 handful of nấm mèo (wood ear mushroom), soaked and drained
* 1-½ tsp salt
* ¼ tsp pepper
* 1-½ package (or more) spring roll wrappers of your choice
* a bit of cornstarch mixed into water
* oil for deep frying

Package of spring roll wrappers.

Soak and drain bean thread noodles and wood ear mushroom.
Roughly cut the noodle and mushrooms with scissors.
Thinly slice corn by holding the corn in one hand, and knife in the other. I should have take a picture... but Wandering Chopsticks has a good one!
Mix everything together with salt and pepper.
If the mixture is wet, drain it through a sieve (or it will tear the wrapper).
Roll the filling in a wrapper - pictorial below.
Heat up oil. You can test it by adding a spring roll - the oil is hot enough if there are little bubbles.
Deep fry each spring rolls.

Corn mixture.

Step-by-Step Pictorial for Rolling Spring Rolls
Everyone has their own way of rolling spring rolls; Wandering Chopsticks also has posted how-to-roll pictures - she rolls in while I roll out. My mom suggested I cut the wrapper in half diagonally and work with a triangle but I was worried it would be too thin. My mom also wanted to get the smaller wrappers to make cocktail size spring rolls but I was too lazy. I actually did a good job rolling here but I am not always consistent. Also, this represents years of rolling so don't worry if it doesn't come out well - practice makes perfect!

Place wrapper diagonally and fold one corner in.

Lay out about 1 tablespoon of the filling along the edge. Not too much or the spring roll will brake.

Fold the long side of the wrapper over the filling.

While holding the filling secure, fold each side in. This picture isn't accurate because I was taking a picture... I hold the filling with the left hand, pull the right side in with the right hand, hold it with the right hand and pull the left side in with the left hand. Got that?

The two sides folded in.

Once you have both sides tucked in, continue rolling with both hands. I just do it in one movement. Make sure it's tight enough or the spring roll will be limp. Dab the water and cornstarch mixture to the remaining edges so the spring rolls seals properly.

Complete rolling. If some spring rolls do tear, put them aside and fry at the end, in case the filling spills out.

Spring rolls ready to be deep fried.

My mom drains the spring rolls after deep frying.

Yummy inside!

We dip it in nước chấm or Thai chili sauce. I like to alternate with both, which means you can't just have one spring roll!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Món này làm mình nhớ nhà quá. Thường ăn ở đường "Trần Dư" (có tên này vì lúc đó k có dân ở, chỉ nhớ là chạy dọc qua bưu điện tỉnh, gần bánh xèo Lâm), cả bò bía nữa chứ