Vegan Egg Rolls (Chả Giò Chay) is a plant-based twist on the traditional Southern Vietnamese egg rolls. These delectable rolls feature fillings that melt in your mouth, wrapped in a satisfyingly crispy outer crust. Pair them with a Vietnamese sweet and savory sauce for an irresistible appetizer or side dish.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- A culinary experience: Inspired by Vietnamese Chả Giò, these vegan egg rolls are the delightful snacks that will take you to the burstling streets of Vietnam.
- A heavenly combination: These egg rolls are tender and flavorful on the inside and extra crispy on the outside. The Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce) is where the magic happens, and will take the dish to another level!
- Can be meal-prepped: This recipe makes about 50 egg rolls, which you can eat some right away and freeze the leftovers.
- Versatile: You can pair these egg rolls with rice, serve them as an appetizer or snack. Or add them to Vietnamese noodle salad.
Vegan Egg Rolls (Chả Giò Chay)
Egg rolls are a popular appetizer or snack in various Asian cuisines, particularly in Chinese and Vietnamese culinary traditions. They typically consist of a filling made from a combination of vegetables, meat, and/or seafood. The filling is then wrapped in a thin pastry or dough wrapper. The filling is often seasoned with a variety of herbs, spices, and sauces to enhance its flavor. The roll is then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown.
The name "egg roll" can be misleading as the filling does not necessarily contain eggs. The term likely originated from the use of egg wash to seal the pastry or from the resemblance of the fried rolls to rolled-up omelets. Egg rolls are commonly served with dipping sauces, such as sweet and sour sauce, plum sauce, or soy-based sauces. This plant-based version uses the corn starch and water mixture to replace the egg wash.
This recipe is the plant-based version inspired by Southern Vietnamese Chả Giò. For the Northern Vietnamese rice paper version, check out my recipe for Vegan Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls!
To make the filling, you'll need:
- Tofu: Tofu is used in place of the traditional minced meat in vegan egg rolls. It adds protein as well as a hearty and satisfying texture.
- Carrot: Carrots add a touch of sweetness and provide a vibrant color to the filling, enhancing both flavor and visual appeal.
- Dried shiitake mushrooms and wood-ear mushrooms: provide a unique chewy texture and a rich and earthy flavor to the filling.
- Onion: Onions bring a savory and aromatic element to the filling, contributing depth of flavor.
- Scallion: Scallions, or green onions, lend a fresh and mild onion flavor, adding brightness to the overall taste.
- Bean thread noodles (Glass noodles): Bean thread noodles contribute a delicate and translucent quality to the filling, giving a pleasant textural contrast.
- Seasoning: sugar, salt and black pepper add umami flavors to the fillings, bringing all flavors together.
To make the sauce, you'll need:
- Soy sauce or Vegan Fish Sauce - Soy sauce adds a savory depth of flavor and a rich umami taste to the sauce.
- Lime juice (or rice vinegar) - Lime juice adds a refreshing citrusy note, brightening the flavors of the sauce and providing a subtle tang.
- Chili pepper - adds some heat and a spicy kick
- Sugar - Sugar brings a touch of sweetness that helps to balance the salty and tangy elements of the sauce
- Garlic - with its pungent and aromatic flavor, garlic adds complexity and depth to the sauce.
- Hot water - helps dissolve the sugar as well as adjust the consistency of the sauce.
Prepare the fillings:
Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms, wood-ear mushrooms, and glass noodles in boiling water. After 3 minutes, remove the noodles and drain under cold water.
Use your hands or a fork to mash the tofu over a sieve, squeezing out as much water as possible.
Grate or thinly julienne the carrot, finely dice the onion and scallions. Drain and rinse the shiitake mushrooms and wood-ear mushrooms under cold water, then cut them into fine pieces. (see note 1).
Stir fry the mashed tofu in 1 tablespoon of oil for 2 minutes. Then add the remaining filling ingredients (mushrooms, carrot, onion, scallions, noodles) and season with salt, sugar, and black pepper. Mix well and stir fry for an additional 5 minutes.
Make the corn starch mixture by combining corn starch and water and mixing throughoutly.
Wrap the Vegan Egg Rolls:
Lay a spring roll wrapper on a flat surface with the corner facing you.
To roll the egg rolls, place 2 tablespoon of filling at the bottom of the wrapper. Then tuck in the sides and roll it forward, making sure the roll is tight.
Toward the end, brush at the end to stick the wrapping paper.
Fry the Vegan Egg Rolls:
Pan-fry the Vegan Egg Rolls in oil, flipping them when each side turns golden. Use 1 tablespoon of cooking oil for each batch.
Remove the fried egg rolls and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Make the Vietnamese dipping sauce:
To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.
Serve and enjoy:
Finally, serve the Vegan Egg Rolls with the Vietnamese dipping sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro for added flavor and presentation.
Variations and Substitutions
- Protein: Instead of tofu, you can use tempeh, seitan, mock meats or cooked red lentils as a protein alternative in the filling.
- Vegetables: Feel free to customize the vegetable filling by adding or substituting ingredients like cabbage, bell peppers, taro, bamboo shoots, or water chestnuts.
- Mushrooms: If shiitake or wood-ear mushrooms are not available, you can use other mushroom varieties like cremini or oyster mushrooms.
- Noodles: If you can't find bean thread noodles (glass noodles), you can substitute them with rice vermicelli or even cooked and cooled rice.
If you have tried my recipe, please let me know what you think by leaving me a review on this page or tagging me on Instagram @veggieanh. I would love to see your creations!