Cha Lua Recipe

Cha Lua Recipe (Recipe)

Welcome to our step-by-step guide on making homemade Cha Lua, the delicious Vietnamese sausage that adds a burst of flavor to various dishes. Cha Lua is a key ingredient in the iconic banh mi sandwich and is beloved for its authentic taste and texture. By following this recipe, you can create your own homemade Cha Lua, impressing your family and friends with your culinary skills.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to make homemade Cha Lua, a popular Vietnamese ham.
  • Discover the essential ingredients and tools needed for creating authentic Cha Lua.
  • Follow the step-by-step guide for preparing and wrapping the Cha Lua mixture.
  • Learn the proper steaming technique to achieve the perfect texture.
  • Explore different serving suggestions and storage options for homemade Cha Lua.

Ingredients and Tools

To make Cha Lua, you will need the following ingredients:

  • pork tenderloin
  • fish sauce
  • salt
  • sugar
  • white pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • water
  • baking soda
  • cream of tartar
  • potato starch
  • banana leaves

In addition to the ingredients, you will also need the following tools:

  • a meat grinder or large food processor
  • a bamboo steamer
  • kitchen twine

These ingredients and tools are essential for creating the perfect texture and flavor of Cha Lua.

Ingredients Tools
pork tenderloin meat grinder or large food processor
fish sauce bamboo steamer
salt kitchen twine
white pepper
garlic powder
onion powder
baking soda
cream of tartar
potato starch
banana leaves


To create the perfect homemade Cha Lua, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Start by grinding the pork tenderloin to a fine texture. This can be done using a meat grinder or a large food processor.
  2. Transfer the ground pork into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add fish sauce, salt, sugar, white pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to the bowl.
  4. In a separate pot, heat water and add cream of tartar, baking soda, and potato starch.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients thoroughly until well combined.
  6. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the pork mixture.
  7. Process the combined mixture in a food processor until it becomes smooth and evenly blended.
  8. Allow the meat mixture to rest in the freezer or refrigerator for a period of time to enhance the flavors.
  9. When the meat mixture has rested, it is ready to be wrapped.
  10. Choose whether to use banana leaves or plastic wrap for wrapping the Cha Lua.
  11. If using banana leaves, wash and dry them before cutting into square-shaped pieces.
  12. Place the pork mixture in the center of the banana leaf or plastic wrap.
  13. Fold the sides of the banana leaf or plastic wrap tightly over the pork mixture.
  14. Secure the wrap with kitchen twine to hold it in place.

Note: Wrapping the pork mixture tightly is essential to ensure proper steaming and prevent moisture from seeping in.

Now that you’ve prepared the Cha Lua, it’s time to move on to the next step: wrapping and steaming.

Wrapping and Steaming

If using banana leaves, wash and dry them before cutting them into squares. Stack three leaves on top of each other and roll the banana leaves around the pork mixture. Secure with kitchen twine and add an additional layer of plastic wrap. Steam the wrapped Cha Lua using a bamboo steamer or any steaming method for about 45 minutes. Let the steamed Cha Lua cool before slicing and serving.

Wrapping and steaming Cha Lua is a crucial step in creating the authentic and traditional flavors of this Vietnamese ham. The banana leaves not only add a beautiful presentation but also infuse the meat with aromatic flavors. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wrap and steam your homemade Cha Lua:

  1. Begin by washing and drying banana leaves. Cut them into squares, taking care not to tear them.
  2. Take three squares of banana leaves and stack them on top of each other.
  3. Place a portion of the pork mixture on the stacked leaves and roll them tightly around the meat, creating a cylinder shape.
  4. Secure the rolled Cha Lua with kitchen twine, ensuring it is tightly wrapped.
  5. Add an extra layer of plastic wrap around the Cha Lua to prevent moisture from seeping in during the steaming process.
  6. Prepare a steamer, whether it’s a bamboo steamer or any steaming method you prefer.
  7. Place the wrapped Cha Lua into the steamer and steam for approximately 45 minutes. This cooking time ensures that the meat is fully cooked through and develops its distinct flavors.
  8. Once the Cha Lua is steamed, let it cool before slicing it into delicious, thin pieces.

Now that you have mastered the art of wrapping and steaming Cha Lua, you are ready to enjoy the authentic taste of this traditional Vietnamese ham. The combination of tender meat, fragrant banana leaves, and slow steaming creates a flavorful delicacy that can be the star of any dish.

Wrapping and Steaming Tips Notes
Use Banana Leaves Banana leaves impart a unique flavor and aroma to the Cha Lua. If you can’t find banana leaves, you can use plastic wrap as an alternative.
Tight Wrapping Ensure that the Cha Lua is tightly wrapped with banana leaves and plastic wrap to prevent the moisture from escaping during the steaming process.
Steaming Time Steaming the Cha Lua for approximately 45 minutes allows the flavors to develop and the meat to cook thoroughly. Adjust the time based on the size of your Cha Lua.

Serving Suggestions

Cha Lua, the delicious Vietnamese ham, can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Its versatile flavor and texture make it a perfect addition to many dishes. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your culinary experience with homemade Cha Lua:

1. Vietnamese Sandwiches (Banh Mi)

Cha Lua is a key ingredient in the iconic Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi. Layer slices of Cha Lua onto a fresh baguette along with pickled vegetables, cilantro, and mayonnaise for a burst of authentic flavor. The combination of the savory sausage and the tangy, crunchy ingredients creates a mouthwatering delight.

2. Main Entree

Serve Cha Lua as a main dish alongside steamed rice, vermicelli noodles, or even wrapped in lettuce leaves. Its unique taste will elevate any meal, providing a satisfying and protein-packed option for your family or guests.

3. Fried Cha Lua

Don’t let any leftovers go to waste! Fry slices of Cha Lua until they turn golden brown and crispy. You can enjoy them on their own as a tasty snack or use them as a delicious filling in grilled cheese sandwiches. The crispy texture and authentic flavor of homemade Cha Lua will take your sandwich game to a whole new level.

Experience the true taste of Vietnam with homemade Cha Lua. Its authenticity and versatility make it a must-have ingredient in your kitchen. Whether you’re making banh mi, serving it as a main dish, or getting creative with leftovers, the distinct flavor and texture of Cha Lua will transport your taste buds to the streets of Vietnam.

Benefits Features
Delicious and authentic flavor Made with quality ingredients
Versatile for various dishes Enhances taste and texture
Easy to incorporate into recipes Perfect for banh mi sandwiches
Leftovers can be fried Great for grilled cheese

Tips and Tricks

When it comes to cooking Cha Lua, here are some essential tips and tricks to help you achieve the perfect results:

  1. Use pork tenderloin: For the best texture and flavor, opt for high-quality pork tenderloin. Its lean and tender meat will contribute to a delicious Cha Lua.
  2. Grind the meat: To ensure a smooth consistency, grind the pork using a meat grinder or a large food processor. This step is crucial for creating the desired texture of Cha Lua.
  3. Keep the meat mixture cold: Before steaming, it’s important to chill the meat mixture thoroughly. Refrigerate it or place it in the freezer for a while to help retain its shape during the steaming process.
  4. Substitute with tapioca flour: If you don’t have potato starch on hand, tapioca flour can be used as a substitute. It will provide similar binding properties to the Cha Lua mixture.
  5. Wrap tightly: Properly wrapping the pork mixture is essential to prevent moisture from entering during steaming. Make sure to wrap it tightly in banana leaves or plastic wrap, ensuring a sealed package.

Cha Lua Tips and Tricks

Tips Tricks
Use pork tenderloin Grind the meat
Keep the meat mixture cold Substitute with tapioca flour
Wrap tightly

Storage and Freezing

After you’ve made your delectable homemade Cha Lua, it’s important to know how to store and freeze it properly. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your Cha Lua maintains its freshness and flavor for an extended period.


To store your homemade Cha Lua, place it in an airtight container. This will help protect it from moisture and odors in the refrigerator, allowing it to stay fresh for up to 6 days. Remember to label the container with the date of preparation for easy reference.


If you want to prolong the shelf life of your Cha Lua, freezing is the way to go. Here’s how you can freeze your homemade Cha Lua:

  1. Wrap the Cha Lua tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a freezer-safe bag to prevent freezer burn and maintain its quality.
  2. Label the wrapped Cha Lua with the date of preparation for future reference.
  3. Place the wrapped Cha Lua in the freezer, ensuring it is placed in a location where it won’t be crushed or damaged.
  4. Keep the Cha Lua frozen for up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to use the frozen Cha Lua, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, it can be enjoyed as if it were freshly made.

By properly storing and freezing your homemade Cha Lua, you can have a steady supply of this authentic Vietnamese ham on hand whenever you’re in the mood for its delightful flavors.


Making Cha Lua at home is a rewarding culinary adventure that allows you to savor the flavors of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. This delicious homemade sausage adds a burst of flavor to a variety of dishes and can be enjoyed in different ways. By following this step-by-step recipe and using the right ingredients and techniques, you can create your own Cha Lua that will impress your family and friends.

The combination of high-quality pork tenderloin, aromatic spices, and traditional cooking methods creates a truly authentic and delicious Cha Lua. The result is a sausage that is rich in flavor, with a delicate and tender texture. Whether you enjoy it in a banh mi sandwich, as part of a hearty rice dish, or on its own, the versatility of Cha Lua knows no bounds.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather the ingredients, and embark on the journey of making your own Cha Lua. With a little time and effort, you can create a homemade Vietnamese delicacy that will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Vietnam. Experience the perfect blend of taste and tradition with every bite of this beloved Vietnamese sausage.


What is Cha Lua?

Cha Lua is a popular Vietnamese ham that is used in many dishes, including banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich.

What are the main ingredients for making Cha Lua?

The main ingredients for making Cha Lua are pork tenderloin, fish sauce, salt, sugar, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, water, baking soda, cream of tartar, potato starch, and banana leaves.

What tools do I need to make Cha Lua?

You will need a meat grinder or large food processor, a bamboo steamer, and kitchen twine to make Cha Lua.

What is the process for making Cha Lua?

The process for making Cha Lua involves grinding the pork tenderloin, mixing it with the seasonings, combining it with the wet mixture, letting it rest, and wrapping and steaming the Cha Lua.

How long do I need to steam the Cha Lua?

The Cha Lua needs to be steamed for approximately 45 minutes.

How can I serve Cha Lua?

Cha Lua can be enjoyed in various ways, such as in Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) or as an entree. Leftover slices can be fried and used in grilled cheese sandwiches or eaten on their own.

Can I store and freeze homemade Cha Lua?

Yes, you can store homemade Cha Lua in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days or freeze it for up to 2 months.

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