Traditionally, chả lụa is made of lean pork, potato starch, and nước mắm (fish sauce). There are also the variant types made out of beef instead. 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.
The most well-known chả lụa comes from the village Ước Lễ, Thanh Oai, province Hà Tây, northern Vietnam, where people pride themselves as professional chả lụa makers. When cooking chả lụa, the villagers of Ước Lễ light a stick of incense with the length equal to the circumference of the sausage's cross section; they believe that when the incense has completely burned, the sausage is well cooked.
Correctly-made chả lụa can be stored at room temperature for about one week.
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.
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.
AN BINH TRAVEL LIMITED COMPANY
Address : 83 Alley 383 Tam Trinh street – Hoang Mai District – Hanoi city – Vietnam
Tel: (84-4) 3634 2145 Hotline: (84) 93 888 75 86
Fax: (84-4) 3634 3041 - Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org