Com chay started to become popular around the time i was in grade 10. I remembered stopping by this little shop on the way to school everyday to buy a bag for about 3000 dong. They were then shared among gfs who could never resist the crunchiness, slightly saltiness of the crackers. To us, these crackers are our version of potato chips.
Once I moved to Australia, I could never find these snacks anywhere and making it seemed out of the question. Actually I saw them sold at Nhu Lan bakery in Footscray a few months back and was jumping with joy. I bought a bag for around 3$ and it tasted disgusting. The crackers were stale and tasted nothing like the ones at home. Luckily my mum came to visit from Vietnam and always brought a few packets for me. It took me a few days to polish off the whole lot and still craving for more.
Since I was on maternity leave and bored out of my mind, I decided to give it a try and see if I could make it myself. The result was much better than expect. The flavour is right, the crackers are crunchy. They did become a bit stale after a couple of days. I reckon it was because they were not completely fried. In the center, there are still some rice that didnt expand. I shall make the cake thinner or fry them for longer in lower heat next time.
Ingredients (yields about 1 tray of rice crackers):
- 2 cups of glutinous rice (can use other types of white rice, probably not basmati)
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce (I use 3 crabs)
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 2 tbsp of water
- 1 tsp of chilli powder
- pork floss (optional)
- Vegetable oil
- Cook the rice in the rice cooker. If you use normal rice, use equal amount of water and rice. I use glutinous rice so I only add just enough water to cover the rice.
- Mix the remaining ingredients (except the oil of course) to make the sauce.
- Once the rice is cooked, mix the sauce in with the rice and stir to coat evenly.
- Line a baking tray with foil or baking paper, spread he rice evenly on the tray. Press down to form a giant rice sheet about 0.5 cm thick.
- Cut the big rice sheet into roughly 5×5 pieces.
- Leave in the oven to dry at 130 deg. After an hour, the top should be dry but the bottom will still be wet.
- Prepare another piece of baking paper, transfer the rice crackers and turn them upside down. Put them back in the oven for another hour.
- Use a small saucepan and pour in about 2-3 cm of oil. Once the oil heat up (bubbles form around the chopsticks)
- Fry each of the rice crackers until the colour turns a light golden. This is very similar to frying prawn crackers though the rice crackers won’t expand as much. I recommend frying one at a time to avoid burning.
- Put them on some paper towel to absorb excess oil. You can add pork floss at this stage.
- Once completely cool, store in zip lock bags.
What could go wrong:
- Rice grains flake off why frying: Make sure you press the rice sheet firmly when the rice is still hot. This will make sure the rice crackers keep their form after drying.
- Center of the rice crackers get soggy, too chewy after storing for a while: This could be because the rice crackers were not cooked thoroughly. Your rice crackers might be too thick or the oil temperature too high so the rice crackers turn golden but the inside has not expanded.
- The seasoning can be adjusted to be sweeter/saltier/spicier depending on your taste.
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