Chả lụa

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Sliced chả lụa served over bánh cuốn, and garnished with fried shallots
Mu yo (as the sausage is known in Thai cuisine) with a som tam style dressing

Chả lụa or giò lụa, also known in English as the "Vietnamese pork roll", is the most common type of sausage in Vietnamese cuisine, made of pork and traditionally wrapped in banana leaves. The term giò lụa (Vietnamese pronunciation: [zɔ̀ lûˀə] or [jɔ̀ lûˀə]) is part of the northern Vietnamese dialect, while chả lụa ([cã lûˀə]) is from the central and southern Vietnamese dialects.[1]

Production and consumption[edit]

Traditionally, chả lụa is made of lean pork, potato starch, garlic, ground black pepper and nước mắm (fish sauce). The pork has to be pounded until it becomes pasty; it cannot be chopped or ground as the meat would still be fibrous, dry, and crumbly. Near the end of the pounding period, a few spoonfuls of nước mắm are added to the meat for flavour, but salt, ground black pepper, and sugar can also be added. The meat is now called giò sống, meaning “raw sausage”, and can be used in other dishes as well.

The mixture is then wrapped tightly in banana leaves into a cylindrical shape and boiled. If the banana leaf is not wrapped tightly and water leaks inside while it is being boiled, the sausage will be ruined. The sausage has to be submerged vertically into boiling water, and typically for a 1 kg sausage it takes an hour to cook. When making chả lụa by hand, a common way to tell if it is well cooked is to throw the sausage onto a hard surface; if it bounces, the sausage is good.

Other variants include chả chiên, where the entire sausage is deep-fried instead of steamed (omitting the banana leaves), chả Huế, which contain whole black peppercorns and more garlic and then steamed, and chả bì, which also contains shredded pork skin along with typical chả lụa ingredients.

Correctly made chả lụa can be stored at room temperature for about one week, but it is recommended to keep it refrigerated until used, where it can be stored for up to 3 - 4 weeks.

During the initial wave of Vietnamese immigrants to the United States in the mid-1970s, banana leaves were difficult to find and, thus, Vietnamese chefs substituted aluminum foil for banana leaves, a habit that continues today. In areas that have banana leaves, a small strip of it is used for flavor while still using the aluminum foil to shape the sausage.

The sausage is normally sliced and eaten with bánh cuốn, bánh mì, or xôi, or braised in fish sauce and black pepper with other meat dishes. If fried, it is called chả chiên.

Giò lụa is also popular in Thailand where it is known as mu yo (Thai: หมูยอ), literally "pork yo", with 'yo' being the Thai pronunciation of the term "giò". It is often eaten in the form of a spicy salad or as a snack on its own.

See also[edit]