Chả Giò or Nem Rán is a vegetarian dish from Northern Vietnam consisting of mushrooms, jicama, shallots, tofu, green onion, carrots and tofu rolled in rice paper and then fried. This makes about 30 spring rolls using 16cm (6.3 inch) rice paper rounds. You can deep fry or air fry.
Soak the shitake, wood ear mushrooms and brown rice noodles in room temperature water in separate bowls. You can break up the noodles to help them fit the rolls better, about 1 inch noodles work well. Soak all these for 30 to 60 minutes until soft.
Cut the jicama in half and set one half aside. Take the other half and peel it then julienne into match sticks. Set aside.
Mince the carrot, green onion and shallot into a mixture.
Gently press the tofu dry between sheets of paper towels until most of the liquid is expelled. Mash with a fork until it is fine and set aside.
Drain the noodles and mushrooms. Chop the mushrooms finely. Make sure the noodles are al dente and cut them into 1 inch long pieces.
Place the mushrooms, vegetables, noodles, tofu or pork, egg, salt, pepper into a bowl and mix thoroughly. It the mixture does not come together like a loose dough add more egg a spoonful at a time. Don't let it get soupy or too loose.
Take a dinner plate and add some water to it. No enough to overflow though.
Lay one piece of rice paper on the plate then quickly flip and lay down on the other side. It should quickly become pliable.
Using a plastic or silicone cutting board, lay the wet rice paper in the center and take 1.5 Tbsp of filling from the bowl and place in the center. Spread it out into the size and shape of a finger parallel to the cutting board as you are facing it.
Fold in the left and right sides toward the center until they just meet.
Lift the bottom and fold over the center (It will look like and envelope). Make sure you are applying a little pressure to keep the roll together but not too much to tear it.
Roll the spring roller toward the top flap and it would be in the shape of a small finger sized tube. Set aside on a clean plate or cutting board. Avoid wooden cutting board as the wet rice paper will stick. They will also stick together so avoid letting them touch.
Once all the rolls are made, add enough canola or peanut oil to a skillet on medium heat so the depth is about half the thickness of your rolls.
Once the oil hits 325°F, fry the rolls on both sides in batches of 3 or 4 until golden brown.
In a small bowl place some canola or peanut oil and brush all sides of each roll with a pastry brush.
Set the air fryer to 400°F for 12 minutes. Add 1 layer of rolls (do not stack as they will stick together) and start.
Flip them after 6 minutes and continue air frying. If using ground pork cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
Combine the fish sauce, water, dissolved sugar, lime juice, add slices of Thai chili and minced garlic to taste. For more heat, add more Thai chili.
Disclaimer: This version uses tofu instead of the traditional pork. My daughter is pescatarian so she's okay to use fish sauce, but meat is a no-no. If you want to enjoy your spring rolls with meat, swap the tofu for 10 oz. of ground pork.