"Bánh chưng" (Vietnamese sticky rice cake)
On the occasion of the Vietnamese New Year (Tết), Vietnamese New Year's must-eat and culinary symbol is a sticky rice cake with pork.
In northern Vietnam, you make delicious “Bánh chưng”, square (symbol of the Earth because the ancients believed that the earth was flat), based glutinous rice (or glutinous rice), Mung bean seeds and pork belly, all wrapped in dong leaves (from the family of arrowroot, very difficult or impossible to find in France) or by default, in banana leaves.
In the South (but also in the Center), one makes up succulent “Bánh tét”, of cylindrical form (symbol of the sky and the fertility), with the same ingredients as the bánh chưng, often decorated with onion, spices, coconut juice, etc., according to taste.
Among other things, there is also a sweet version made of bananas or a vegetarian version of black beans, wrapped in banana leaves. Not to mention the special variants that the South loves, with Chinese sausage lâp xuong and dried shrimps, or even colorful vegetarian versions with three colors (Bánh tét ba maù), etc.
However, there is no regional culinary divide: bánh chưng and bánh tét are enjoyed all over the country, both in the North and in the South.
Ingredients (2 Cakes)
500 g glutinous rice
200 g of mung beans
150 g of pork belly
1/2 teaspoon of salt (for sticky rice) + 1 big pinch of salt for mung bean puree
3 large banana leaves
1 tablespoon of nuoc mam
2 tablespoons of shalot’s oil
1/2 shallot finely chopped
2 rounds of pepper mill
The day before
- Wash and rinse the sticky rice three times. Soak one night.
- Cut the pork belly into medium long slices.
- Prepare the marinade (nuoc mam, shallot, oil and pepper) and pour over the meat. Mix and reserve overnight
- Wash and rinse the mung bean seeds. Soak for at least 2 hours in lukewarm water.
- Rinse and drain the mung bean seeds
- Steam them for 20 minutes.
- Off the heat, use a potato masher to reduce mung bean seeds in a large bowl.
- Add a large pinch of salt, mix and reserve.
- Rinse and drain the sticky rice.
- Place two large sheets of aluminum foil and place the cleaned banana leaves.
- Add a quarter of the amount of rice forming a square (Banh Chung), then a quarter of the soy mash, half of the meat, rest on a quarter of mashed potatoes and finish with a quarter of sticky rice.
- Fold one end of the cake as a gift package, then put it up to wedge the bottom. If the leaves exceed 5 cm of edges, cut off the excess to facilitate folding. Then fold the leaves as a gift packet, so as to completely close the cake.
- Flip the cake over and wrap with foil.
- In a large, high pot (6 to 8 liters capacity), bring the water to a boil. Put the two cakes in total immersion. Wait for a new boil before reducing to a low heat while keeping a little simmering, cover, and cook for 8 hours. Monitor the level of water that should always exceed the surface of the cakes. If necessary, add hot water.
- After cooking, take out the cakes, clean and rinse immediately with cold water, let cool before serving.