Chả Lụa (Vietnamese Ham aka Vietnamese Pork Roll)

RECIPE: Chả Lụa

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Ingredients
2 pounds Ground Pork (bought mine at Walmart Superstore)
2 tablespoons good Fish Sauce (prefer 3 crabs brand)
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon fresh Ground Pepper
1 Shallot, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 cup ice water 
2 tablespoons Tapioca Flour (Bột Năng) 
1 bag Alsa Baking Powder or any single action Baking Powder brand (2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon Peppercorns
Banana Leaves (available at any Asian markets in the frozen section), rinsed and pat dried
Twine, to tie Chả roll (plastic twine would be best)
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Preparing Pork Paste
Mix pork, fish sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, shallot and garlic in a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, add ice water, tapioca flour and mix it well. Then add baking powder and mix.  Baking powder causes a rapid expansion of the liquid and has a tendency to foam over.  
Pour the water mixture into the pork bowl and mix it well. Cover and place it in the freezer for about 3 hours until the pork is really cold or frosty but not yet frozen. You can also place it in the frigde overnight instead freezer. This process will help the meat to bind together.
Remove from freezer or fridge then place it in the food processor with half of the beef at a time; do not overload the work bowl. Process to a completely smooth paste. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Transfer the beef paste to another bowl.  Add peppercorns and mix well.  Place it back in the fridge until you're ready to wrap it up.  
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Wrapping Pork Paste
Wrap pork paste in at least 3 layers banana leaves. Make sure to keep your hands moist with cooking oil and also brush oil on the leave to prevent pork paste from sticking.

Tightly wraps into a cylindrical shape then fold the two ends in.  Use the twine to tie it tightly.
Steam for about 20-25 minutes.
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Presentation
Chả Lụa tastes wonderfully when pan fry over high heat until the skin is golden brown. 

Enjoy Chả Lụa as appetizer or served along with nem chua (fermented beef), banh chung (square sticky rice cake), banh tet (cylindrical sticky rice cake). 
Chả Lụa is a versatile recipe, therefore, it served well with anything from banh mi (Vietnamese Baguette), banh day (sticky rice cake), banh cuon (Steamed rice rolls), and variety of noodle dishes such as bun bo hue, bun thang.
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www.vietspices.blogspot.com

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