Gio Song (Vietnamese Pork Paste)

Giò Sống (Vietnamese Pork Sausage Paste)

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If you love Chả Lụa (Vietnamese Pork Roll) , you will definitely love Giò Sống. This pork paste is a basic ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. Making Giò Sống at home is much easier than you think, even with just a mini food processor.

Gio Song (Vietnamese Pork Paste)

🙋‍♀️ What is Giò Sống?

Giò is how we call Chả Lụa in the North, and Sống means raw, so giò sống means raw pork paste. After steaming, it will become Chả Lụa.

For those unfamiliar with Vietnamese cuisine, it’s similar to the pork paste used to make luncheon meat or a finely textured sausage like Italian Mortadella.

For German-speaking people, giò sống is quite identical to fresh raw Fleischkäse found in German supermarkets, but it’s seasoned with fish sauce.

Gio Song (Vietnamese Pork Paste)

Giò sống has a lightly bouncy and springy texture, quite similar to bò viên (beef meatballs), chạo tôm (sugar cane shrimp) or nem nướng (sausage skewers).

You can easily find giò sống in any supermarkets and wet markets throughout Vietnam. Overseas, if you live in a neighborhood with a large Vietnamese community, you might find giò sống at a nearby Asian market. Unfortunately, it’s not very popular in Germany.

🥩 Ingredients

Gio Song ingredients: ground pork, cooking oil, potato starch, fish sauce, baking powder, chicken powder, garlic powder, salt
  • Ground pork: This is the easiest way to make Vietnamese pork paste since I will use ground pork. Choose the meat as fresh as possible. The fresher the pork is, the easier and more successful the chance of making it.
  • Fish sauce: Fish sauce is the soul of Vietnamese cuisine. I like Red Boat the best.
  • Baking powder: This is a key ingredient. You could use Alsa or Dr. Oetker baking powder. Make sure your baking powder is still active.
  • Starch: You could use potato starch, cornstarch, or tapioca starch. I use potato starch in my recipe.
  • Onion powder or garlic powder: In Vietnam, we use fresh garlic and shallots, but this is my shortcut.
  • Cooking oil: There is typically a percentage of fat in giò sống, as well as in any kinds of sausage.
  • Other seasonings like salt, chicken powder, and sugar.

📝 Instructions

The key point to making Giò Sống (and any kinds of sausage) is to always keep your meat COLD. The meat and all seasonings are bound to create a bouncy, springy texture through a process called protein extraction , which occurs best at 39°F to 44°F (or 4°C to 7°C).

When making Giò Sống, some Vietnamese choose to add crushed ice or iced water when grinding the meat, but for me, I often freeze my ground pork until it’s semi-frozen.

The process may sound complicated, but it’s quite easy in practice; just remember to keep your meat fresh and cold at all times.

What is the semi-frozen state?

It’s when your ground pork patty is still very cold, perhaps slightly thawed on the outside. You can easily break the cold ground pork patty by hand or use scissors to cut it into smaller pieces. The texture is quite similar to sorbet or shaved ice in Korean bingsu.

The pork should be semi-frozen
Semi-frozen ground pork

Prepare the meat

  • In a bowl, mix the ground pork with all the other ingredients by hand. Avoid mixing for too long since your hand’s temperature could heat the pork mixture.
Mix the ground pork with all seasonings
Mix the ground pork with all seasonings
  • Transfer the mixture into a freezer-safe plastic bag. Use your hands to evenly spread the mixture in the bag, forming a pork patty that is 0.4 inches (1 cm) thick. Alternatively, you could spread the ground pork onto a metal baking tray.
  • Put the bag of meat in the freezer for 3-4 hours until it’s semi-frozen. If you don’t have time to make Giò Sống within a day, simply leave it in the freezer. When cooking, let it sit at room temperature for 1-1.5 hours until it thaws to a semi-frozen state.
  • Before grinding the meat, use scissors or a knife to cut the semi-frozen pork patty into smaller pieces.
Evenly spread the mixture in the bag, forming a pork patty that is 0.4 inches (1 cm) thick.
Grind the pork with a food processor.

Make Giò Sống with a food processor

This method is suitable for a small batch (0.4-0.7 pounds or 200-300 grams, based on my 800W food processor). If you plan to prepare a larger amount of giò sống, you could divide it into 2 or 3 smaller batches.

DON’T overload your food processor.

  • Grind the pork by pulsing at the lowest power setting. After 2-3 pulses, scrape the sides of the bowl and push the meat into the blades.
  • After pulsing around 10 times, you could pulse at a high level for 7-10 seconds. Remember to stir the meat and scrape the bowl occassionally.
  • The paste is done when it looks smooth, paler, and fluffy. When you use a spoon to scoop the pork paste, it should stick to the spoon.
The pork paste should stick to the spoon.
The pork paste should stick to the spoon
  • Transfer your first batch of pork paste to a bowl and continue with the second batch until you have processed all the meat.
  • To make your pork paste more elastic and springy (optional), we could “knead” the pork paste:
    • My mom’s method: Use a spoon to whisk the pork paste and spread it to the sides of the bowl. Repeat these steps for about 10 minutes.
Knead the pork paste.

Make Giò Sống with a stand mixer

This method is suitable for a larger batch (1.1-1.7 pounds or 500-800 grams). You will need the flat beater attachment for your stand mixer.

  • Beat the pork mixture on the lowest setting for 2 minutes.
  • Increase the speed to medium and continue beating for 3-5 minutes.
  • Finally, switch to the highest setting and beat for another 3-5 minutes.
  • The paste is ready when it appears smooth, paler, and fluffy. When you use a spoon to scoop the pork paste, it should cling to the spoon.
Gio Song (Vietnamese Pork Paste)

🫙 Storage

You can divide the pork paste into small portions for your daily meals and store them in the freezer.

🌟 How to use Giò Sống

Giò Sống is a versatile ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. This ingredient, along with its preparation method, is present in various Vietnamese dishes, such as:

Vietnamese Cold Cuts and Sausages:

  • Chả Lụa (Vietnamese pork roll): the popular filling for Bánh Mì Sandwich.
  • Chả Chiên/Chả Mỡ (fried pork sausage)
  • Chả Huế (Huế-style pork roll)
  • Chả Quế (cinnamon pork sausage): my ultimate topping for Bánh Cuốn (steamed rice rolls).
  • Chả Cốm (pork paste with young green rice): a well-like topping for Bún Đậu Mắm Tôm.
Banh Mi Charcuterie Board on a table
Banh Mi Charcuterie Board with Vietnamese-style cold cuts & sausages

Vietnamese Soup & more:

  • Vietnamese noodle soup:
    • Bún Mọc (Vietnamese noodles with pork meatballs)
    • Bánh Canh Tôm Cua (Vietnamese thick noodles with crab & shrimp)
    • Bún Bò Huế (Huế-style spicy beef noodles).
  • Canh (Vietnamese light soup): you could use giò sống instead of other meat to cook with vegetables.
  • Stuffing: giò sống can be stuffed into bitter melon to cook Canh Khổ Qua (bitter melon soup) or tofu to make Đậu Hũ Nhồi Thịt Sốt Cà (stuffed tofu in tomato sauce).

🐷 Pork Substitutes

If you avoid pork, ground chicken or turkey can be used instead. Don’t use ground beef, as it has a strong and distinct flavor that can alter dishes such as Bò Viên (Beef Meatballs) and Chả Bò (Beef roll).

🌟 Imporant Notes

The crucial point to remember here is to ALWAYS keep your meat CHILLED:

  • If you’re preparing it in 2-3 batches, keep the next batches in the fridge, and ensure the ready batch of giò sống is also refrigerated.
  • There should always be condensed water on the outside of your work bowl. If not, stop immediately, place the bowl with the meat in the fridge for 30 minutes before continuing.
  • If possible, chill your work bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Avoid overworking your food processor: It can lead to the failure of your pork paste batch, especially when the motor is located at the bottom and comes into direct contact with the pork paste. If the food processor’s motor becomes too hot, stop immediately and refrigerate the bowl with the meat until the food processor cools down and can resume working.
  • If you have a meat thermometer, use it. If the temperature of the pork paste exceeds 41°F (5°C), stop working and refrigerate the bowl with the meat for 20-30 minutes.

❓ FAQ

Why doesn’t my Giò Sống become springy and elastic?

The most common reason for failure when making giò sống is not keeping your meat chilled and cold enough. Refer to my important notes to learn how to solve this issue.

🍜 More authentic Vietnamese recipes

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Thank you for trying my recipe!! Don’t forget to stay in touch with me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and YouTube 🥰.

Gio Song (Vietnamese Pork Paste)

Giò Sống (Vietnamese Pork Sausage Paste)

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Giò Sống (Vietnamese sausage pork paste) is a basic ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. Making Giò Sống at home is far simpler than you might imagine, even with just a mini food processor.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 4 hours
Course Condiments, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • 1 Food Processor (or 1 stand mixer with the flat beater attachment)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground pork (450g)
  • tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp potato starch (tapioca starch, cornstarch)
  • 3.5 tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ tsp baking powder (Alsa or Dr. Oetker)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder (or onion powder)
  • 4 tbsp water

Instructions
 

Prepare the meat:

  • In a bowl, combine the ground pork with all the other ingredients by hand. Don't mix for too long since your hand's temperature could heat the pork mixture.
  • Transfer the mixture into a freezer-safe plastic bag or a metal baking tray.. Spread the mixture evenly to form a pork patty about 0.4 inches (1 cm) thick.
  • Leave the bag of meat in the freezer for 3-4 hours until it's semi-frozen. If you can't make your Giò Sống on the same day, leave it in the freezer. Before grinding, allow it to sit at room temperature for 1-1.5 hours until it reaches a semi-frozen state.
  • Before grinding the meat, use scissors or a knife to cut the semi-frozen pork patty into pieces.

With a food processor (for a small batch of 0.4-0.7 pounds or 200-300 grams, my food processor is 800W)

  • Pulse at the lowest power to grind the pork. After 2-3 pulses, scrape the sides of the bowl and push any meat that's stuck to the blades.
  • Once you've pulsed around 10 times, you can increase the power level and pulse for 7-10 seconds. Be sure to stir the meat and scrape the bowl occasionally.
  • When the paste appears smooth, paler, and fluffy, it's ready. When you use a spoon to scoop the pork paste, it should stick to the spoon.
  • Transfer the first batch of pork paste to a bowl and continute with the remaining meat.
  • To enhance the elasticity and springiness of your pork paste (optional), you can "knead" it using the following method, which my mom taught me: Use a spoon to whisk the pork paste, spreading it to the sides of the bowl. Repeat these steps for about 10 minutes.

With a stand mixer (for a larger batch of 1.1-1.7 pounds or 500-800 grams)

  • Beat the pork mixture on the lowest speed for 2 minutes.
  • Beat the mixture on medium speed for 3-5 minutes.
  • Finally, increase to the highest setting and beat for another 3-5 minutes.
  • The paste is ready when it looks smooth, paler, and fluffy. When using a spoon to scoop the pork paste, it should cling to the spoon.

Notes

Key point: always keep your meat CHILLED
  • If you’re making it in 2-3 batches, store the next batches in the fridge, and ensure that the ready batch of giò sống is also refrigerated.
  • Condensed water should always be present on the outside of your work bowl. If it’s not, stop immediately and place the bowl with the meat in the fridge for 30 minutes before continuing.
  • If you can, chill your work bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Don’t overwork your food processor, especially when its motor is at the bottom and in direct contact with the pork paste. If the motor becomes too hot, pause immediately and refrigerate the bowl with the meat until it cools down and can continue processing.
  • You could use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the pork paste. If it exceeds 41°F (5°C), pause and refrigerate the bowl with the meat for 20-30 minutes.
     
     
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