Chả Lụa, cooked ground pork rolls in banana leaves traditionally. It is finely ground emulsified pork sausage similar to bologna sausage. The banana leave will add flavor and color to the outer of the roll. The leaves of Musa balbisiana/Lá Chuối Hột, a species of will banana plant, are preferred because they have a greener shade after being cooked. In the shortage of banana leaves abroad, plastic wrap and foil is used.
In the old age, pork has to be very fresh and pound into a paste but partial frozen or extremely cold ground pork can be emulsified successfully. Baking powder from France “Alsa” is used in commercial Cha lua but double acting aluminium free”Rumford” works well too. I can made good Ch̉ả lụa without baking powder and water but water and baking powder help Chả Lụa tender and springier. Water is also increase the yield of sausage. Increase water amount will make Chả lụa softer while less water (1/8-1/4 cup per one lb of pork) will make it crisp. Potato starch is used as a binder and prevent shrinking but I left it out one time and the texture was not too different. Fresh garlic and shallot can be used instead of powder in this recipe. Crushed ice can be used in place of cold ice water but the blade may be worn out sooner.
After being emulsified at step 3, raw pork paste “Giò sống” can be shaped into round balls and cooked in broth/soup or a flat oval, or rectangle,etc and deep fried. This recipe is less salty than the previous recipe.
Make 2 large rolls (about 1 lb & 4-5 oz water weight each roll) or 4-8 small ones
2 lb ground pork or pork butt, sliced (with all the fat) thinly or 1 in. cubes
3 Tbs fish sauce and extra for taste
1.5 Tbs sugar and extra for taste
1 tsp black pepper coarsely ground
1 tsp baking powder, Alsa or Rumford double baking powder aluminum free
2 Tbs potato starch
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup ice cold water or 240 gram of crushed ice
1 package of frozen banana leaves
- Arrange meat on a rimmed metal tray/baking sheet. Transfer to the freezer and wait until the meat is partially frozen-outside is harden but inside is not solid about 2-3 hours. Put a large mixing bowl and and a large glass/cup holding 2 cups water in the freezer at the same time with meat.
- Take the meat and bowl out. Grind the meat with a large dice (1 in. cubes) or medium dice (thinly slices) first into the cold bowl. At the end, return a handful of ground meat through the hopper to push all unground meat out . Graduate to smallest dice. Mix all remaining ingredient in a small bowl except water and add to the ground meat, stir to blend well. Return the meat to freezer, wash the grinder. If use ground meat, mix with other ingredients except water and freeze for 2-3 hours until semi-frozen.
- Put ground meat to a food processor. Work in batches if use a small food processor. Add 1/2 cup of ice cold water and process until water is absorbed, add remaining 1/2 cup water and continue process about until the texture is smooth and shiny about 3 minutes total. Stop and clean the side with a flexible spatula at 1 minute interval. Cook a tsp pork mixture in microwave 15-20 seconds, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. The pork paste can be wrapped and steamed at this time or transfer meat to a bowl, cover with a plastic wrap directly on the surface of the meat to prevent oxidation. Chill in the fridge overnight and wrap when you ready to wrap it up. Divided the meat into 2 portions for large rolls or 4-8 for small rolls and wrap them up. If you do not have banana leaves, just use 1-2 layers of aluminium foil or any heatproof container ( glass, ceramic, stainless steel)
- Steam until internal temperature should register at least 160 oF about 30-45 minutes for large rolls and 10-20 minutes for small rolls. Keep the steam steady but no need to have vigorous boiling water. The large rolls can be boiled in gently boiling water about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, let it cool down at room temperature. Use right away as an appetizer or in other dish as sandwich, Banh Cuon, Bun Bo Hue, etc or store in the fridge up to a week, or freeze for longer time.