Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nem Nuong/ Grilled Pork Spring Rolls

I've been on an ongoing spring roll 'kick' recently. I just can't get enough of them! I'm working my way through making every kind imaginable and in existence. My newest conquest? The nem nuong or grilled, cured pork roll. It's delicious and if you live in the Southern California area, you've probably heard of Brodard.
Brodard is a restaurant which is famous for these little rolls. They've perfected it almost down to an art. And to top it off, have created a dipping sauce that no one has ever come close to mastering or even replicating. Now mine are no where near Brodard's, BUT they are still delicious to boot. Served with a traditional 'nuoc cham' they are still a healthy and satisfying lunch.

I found the recipe from The Ravenous Couple, a blog I love! I basically use this blog to dust off my Vietnamese cooking skills, because when I grow up and have a family, I need to learn how to make this stuff! Just because I sadly, cannot speak Vietnamese doesn't mean that all of my culture has to go down the drain! This recipe isn't at all complicated; sure, there are some steps involved but if you take it one at a time, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results AND if you happen to live near a Vietnamese grocery store, they also sell pre-cured pork that you can just grill yourself!

Nem Nuong Cuon/ Spring Rolls with Grilled Pork Patties

Yields: enough for 5 - 8 people

Original recipe can be found here.

For the crispy chive rolls (optional):


Egg roll wrappers

1 egg

2 tbsn. water

For the nem nuong patties:

2 lbs. ground pork

2 heads of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves (use more or less to your taste)

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbsn. salt

1 tbsn. pepper

4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 cup water

1 package of rice paper wrappers


Cucumbers, sliced into thin rectangles (1x2 inches)



Pickled carrots & daikon (optional)

Nuoc Cham, for dipping

First, to make the crispy chive rolls, mix the egg and water and beat well, set aside. Take your chives and cut then in half, to make them short enough to fit inside the egg roll wrapper. Take an egg roll wrapper and place some chives (about 5 - 6) near the top of the paper and then roll downwards to form a cigarette. Use some egg wash at the bottom to seal it all together. Deep fry until golden brown, drain and set aside.

To make the nem nuong patties, using a food processor, process the garlic until it is a fine puree. Combine the pork, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder and water and stir. Add it to the pork and fold in, then chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Form the refrigerated meat mixture into patties or mini sausages (sausages are easier to roll in the spring rolls). Keep a bowl of water handy to keep your hands wet in order to help with forming the meat. Grill the meat until cooked, about 4 - 5 minutes per side.

To make the spring rolls, have all of your veggies ready. Grab a large bowl of warm water and have it ready for the wrappers. Take a rice paper wrapper and moisten in the warm water. Tap off any excess water and then place on a flat surface. Place some lettuce, cucumber, a fried chive roll, and pickled carrot/ daikon slaw near the upper top of the rice paper. Top with some fresh chives, if you have them, and some of the grilled pork. Do not overstuff them or else the rice paper will break. Roll the rice paper over the veggies and tuck the sides in (see tutorial below).


  1. Michelle--fantastic job!!! You got the roll perfectly with the meat showing on the outside! You can definitely celebrate your culture in other ways besides speaking, and eating/food is a great way. Thanks for the props and links to our blog!

  2. Why are you so talented?!? haha..

    Yumm..this is one of my favorite foods. <3


  3. yeah, my vietnamese isn't up to par either, but the food definitely keeps me culturally in tuned :)

    for the crispy chive rolls, the traditional ones known as "cha ram" is usually made with shrimp and green onion. for the shrimp, split in half, de-vein, and toss in some fish sauce and a little pepper. they're even good to snack on on their own!

    there's also that thicker orange dipping sauce.from what i can's rice, sweet rice, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, shrimp, and lime with the chili sauce being optional. oh, and perhaps a little food coloring. might have to look into the process though.

  4. @Ann: we think brodard used a green onion're probably right with the sauce...we just don't have time to try and recreate it... :)

  5. any chance of posting a recipe for the dipping sauce. this sounds so good.

  6. Anonymous - the 'nuoc cham' is linked on the page, as for the other one listed in the comments, I have NO idea how to make this delicious sauce :(

  7. Michelle these are beautiful!!! I wonder if I can get everything here to make them. Rice wrappers are annoyingly difficult to find in small town Idaho. Sigh...

  8. omg i love this, mom will make it occasionally for me when i come home to visit

  9. Wow. I'm impressed.Definately will try your recipies.


  10. That's great. How about to make traditional sauce?