April 24, 2015

Vietnamese Ham (Cha Lua)

Vietnamese ham, also know as Vietnamese pork roll or cha lua, is one of the simpler sausages to make. All you need is some ground pork, some seasoning, and baking powder. The baking powder and tapioca flour add the desired bounciness you're looking for. In fact, some chefs bounce the meat on the counter to make sure it's cooked. If it bounces, it's done. To get it just like you would find in a grocery store or restaurant, use the ingredients below. Otherwise, go crazy and mix it up!

This goes particularly well with some stir-fried veggies and rice, in soup, or in spring rolls. The leftovers freeze quite well too. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Ham (Cha Lua)

Yield: 8 servings
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl, add the pork and fish sauce and mix.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the water, tapioca flour, and baking powder and mix.
  3. Fold this into the pork. It will be quite moist.
  4. Cover and allow to rest at least 6 hrs in the fridge - preferably overnight.
  5. When ready to cook, grind the mixture in small batches in a food processor. It’s very important to keep the mixture cold, so only work in small batches and keep remainder in the fridge. The texture should be very smooth.
  6. You can either wrap it up in banana leaf or in plastic wrap. Wrapping it in plastic wrap is much faster and easier. The meat will rise and expand a bit when cooked too.
  7. Steam for about 20-25 minutes.

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