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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chả Ốc (Vietnamese Ham with Periwinkle Snails)

My husband and daughters love Ốc in general.  Everytime we make a trip to Orange County, they have to stop by  Phước Lộc Thọ (Asian Garden Mall) in Little Saigon for escargo or Ốc.  Her Under-The-Sea party theme makes Chả Ốc a must-have dish at her fifth birthday party.  As it turns out this dish was gone within the first 30 minutes of the party.  Now that's how you get a party started!

The two main ingredients of  Chả  Ốc are  quality Giò Sống (uncooked pork paste)  and Ốc Bươu (Periwinkle/Escargot Snails).  They can be purchased in the frozen section of most Asian markets.  You can also find Giò Sống  at any Vietnamese sandwich shop.  Giò Sống  is typically already seasoned, so you just need to add a little bit more of seasoning to enhance the flavor.
Chả  Ốc is served as an appetizer.  It has a wonderful soft and crunchy texture.  The earthy flavors of lemongrass, lime leaf,  ginger, pepercorn and shallot give it a wonderful aroma that blends with  giò sống.  When preparing Ốc, I like to cut it into big chunks so that when we sink our teeth into it and taste the chewy, crunchy, flavor packed Ốc. 
Make about 75 servings

Printable Recipe


For Chả  Ốc Paste
3 pounds Pork Paste  (Giò Sống)
3 pounds cooked Periwinkle (Ốc), cut into half or three depends on the size of Ốc
3 tablespoons finely minced lemongrass (only the white thicker end)
3 Shallots, finely minced
2 tablespoons Kaffir Lime Leaves or Lime Leaves, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Fish sauce
1/2-1 tablespoon Peppercorns ( Tiêu Hột)
1/2 tablespoon Ground Pepper (Tiêu Xay)

Other ingredients

4 Lemongrass stalks, only the white thicker end, washed, each split into 4 or 8 about 3 inches sticks
A bunch of Lime Leaves, washed, dried, cut into half
1 large Ginger Root, peeled, washed, thinly sliced

Banana leaves, cut into  rectangles
Aluminum foil,  cut into rectangles about one inch longer than the size of banana leaves
Preparing Ốc

Wash Ốc in salt water thouroughly.  Rinse a couple time until the water is cleared.  Place a handfull of Ốc in your hands and squeeze out the liquid. Cut Ốc into half or three pieces depends on the size.  Drained and set it aside.

In a pan,  sauté  finely minced lemongrass and shallot until fragnant.  Add fish sauce.  Mix it well.  Add Ốc and give it a quick stir.  Remove from heat.  Don't  leave it on the stove for longer than half of a minute as the juice in Ốc will release.  If there is any juice in the pan, drain the juice. Let it cool down.
Preparing Pork Paste and Ốc

 I forgot to add finely minced lime leaves  at the same time with other ingredients :-)

In mixing bowl, combine sauteed Ốc, pork paste (giò sống), finely minced lime leaves, pepercorns and ground pepper. Mix well. Cover and place it in freezer or fridge for about half an hour until the beef is really cold but not yet frozen . This process will help the meat to bind together.
Assembling Chả  Ốc

Lay banana leaf on a cutting board, place a lime leaf,  about 1 tablespoon of the mixture.  Then place a lemongrass stick on one side and a slice of ginger on the other side of the mixture.  Mold the mixture into a log and roll tightly.  Place an aluminum foil on a cutting board, then place a banana leaf roll on it and roll it up.  Twist  the ends of the foil tightly. 

Steaming Chả  Ốc

Bring a steamer to boil. Add the uncooked Chả  Ốc into the steamer tray and steam about 10-12 minutes. Enjoy it hot or cold with or without the dipping ginger fish sauce.

Voila! Escargo!


  1. Hi Loan , How big do you cut the the banana leaf and foil? ( so that the wrapping is not too thick when you roll it up and able to steam through completely). Also, how far in advance can you make and store this dish? thanks for sharing

  2. Hi Amy, I cut both banana leaf and foil just big enough to roll the meat up in about 1 and half layers. You can store it in a fridge for about a month.

  3. Hi Loan,
    Is it possible to mold the cha oc in wrappping , freeze them then steam it later(if you make a lot at one time but don't eat much at once? Or is it better to steam then store in the fridge? BTW, thanks for always answering my question promptly. (hope I'm not becoming a pest with too many question)

  4. Yes, you can freeze the raw wrapped cha oc and steam it later. Feel free to ask me any questions :-). Are you making it for this holiday?

  5. I'm making luncheon for a few friends using your cha oc, nem chua ham , goi du du and they love the dishes. ( my first attempt too). The only thing that doesn't turn out well is the grill catfish, I turn my attention away for a few minutes longer than suppose to ( and too close to the broiler ) and it burned beyond recognition ( ok I'm exaggerated a bit). Again , thank for posting the recipes. Hope I will get to see some of your new posts on your Thanksgiving dishes soon. Ok I'm pushing it a little here

  6. Hi chi Loan, what's the difference between kaffir lime leaves and regular lime leaves?

  7. I use the plastic wrapper instead of banana leaf. It turns out well too. Thanks for the rcipe.

  8. So u eat the lime leaf and the lemon grass stick too?

  9. You don't eat the lime leaf and lemon grass stick. They are wrapped with the meat just to give it more flavor.