CHẢ LỤA (Saigon: [tɕa᷉ lûˀə]) or GIÒ LỤA (Hanoi: [zɔ̂ lûˀə] is the most common type of sausage in Vietnamese cuisine, made of pork and traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and boiled or steamed.
Traditionally, chả lụa is made of lean pork, cornstarch, 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 flavor, but salt, ground peppercorn, and sugar can also be added. The meat (Forcemeat) 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 spoil easily if kept at room temperature. The sausage has to be submerged vertically into boiling water, and a 1-kg sausage typically takes an hour to cook.
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.
The sausage is normally sliced and eaten with BANH CUON (bánh cuốn), BANH MI (bánh mì), or XOI MAN (xôi mặn), or braised in fish sauce and black pepper with other meat dishes.
- 1 kg pork meat (from leg) (80% lean meat, 20% fat)
- 40 ml fish sauce (good quality)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white pepper, ground
- 30 gr cornstarch (or tapioca starch)
- 5 gr baking powder
- 10 gr white sugar
- Banana leaves for wrapping
- Chop the meat coarsely, marinate them with salt, pepper, fish sauce, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder then keep in freezer about 1 hour.
- Put marinated meat into food processor, blend well, add some ice water during process. Maintaining the meat at temperature about 2 to 3 degree C. Put back to freezer 1 hour more.
- Take meat out from freezer, then continuing blend meat in food processor until become smooth paste, now it is called GIÒ SỐNG (Forcemeat).
- Now, wrap the forcemeat with banana leaves into cylinder shape, tie carefully so water can’t go in side when boiling.
- Steam or boil about 1 hour or until cooked well. Hang up the Chả lụa for draining off water. Let them cool down, It can be served at room temperature or cold like cold cuts.
Note: For getting the best quality product, you need choose fresh meat (pork) just after pig slaughtering.