When mentioning Hanoi specialties, people often talk about Com Vong Village, Banh Com Nguyen Ninh Hang Than or other dishes such as salted dry apricot, che lam… but few people know, Banh Cha is a Hanoi culinary specialties.
Banh cha has been a street food associating with Hanoi people’s childhood for a long time. Nobody knows this dish’s origin, but many Ha Thanh families used to produce and sell this cake in the past. Nowadays, banh cha is a traditional street food of Ha Thanh people.
It is called banh cha, because it has a brown golden color, it contains mixed filling covered by a layer of dough like meatballs. Like other traditional cakes, banh cha is served with hot tea.
Ingredients making banh cha is very simple and common, its ingredients are the same as moon cakes’ ones, but banh cha is simpler. Its filling is made from fatty meat, sausages, pumpkin seeds, lemon leaves. Cakes’ crust is made from flour, sugar, cooking oil, salt…
To store banh cha for a long time and keep its flavor, it is essential to choose fresh ingredients. Fatty meat and sausages are needed to be fresh. Lemon leaves is a vital part which makes special flavor and aroma. It can be said that if there are no lemon leaves, banh cha will be failed. When choosing lemon leaves, people usually take old ones and don’t store them for a long time to avoid evaporation of lemon essential oil.
Nowadays, with the appearance of delicious food, banh cha becomes less popular, even many people don’t know its existence. Obviously, because there is various tasty food, banh cha is listed as “less attractive food”. However, sometimes, if you memorize childhood times, you can find some addresses which sell banh cha.
These are some addresses which have sold this tasty cake for a long time in Ha noi:
1- Banh cha Bao Phuong (183 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho District, Hanoi)
2- Banh cha Ninh Huong (22 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi)
3- Do The Gia – traditional jam cake (264 Vo Chi Cong, Tay Ho District, Hanoi)
4- Banh cha Tuan Anh (199A Thuy Khue, Tay Ho District, Hanoi)
5- Banh cha Duc Hien (199 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho District, Hanoi)
If you want to make banh cha with Hanoi standard, you can refer to the recipe below.
I. Ingredients for making Banh Cha
For the Crust:
- 200g flour
- 140g of sugar water
- 25 cooking oils
- 15ml of water
- Sliced lemon leaves
For the mixed filling:
- 1 chinese sausage
- 50g of lotus seed jam; 50g pumpkin seeds
- 50g peeled pistachio (or cashews)
- 40g melon seeds; 40g white sesame
- 3-4 lime leaves
- 1/4 tsp, five spice flavors
- 30g glutinous rice flour
- 1-2 tablespoons of Mai Que Lo wine
Ingredients to spread on the surface of cakes: mix an egg yolk with ½ egg white.
II. Steps for making Banh Cha
Part 1: Making the filling
Chinese sausages, lotus seed jam and pumpkin seeds are chopped. Smash pistachio or cashew. Slice lime leaves. Roast white sesames and melon seeds.
Mix and squeeze all to make them stick together, make small balls.
Part 2. Making the crust
Sift the flour, fill the remaining ingredients into a bowl, mix well until the dough is smooth, wrap dough by cling film so that the dough doesn’t dry out, rests for 30-45 minutes.
Roll the dough into a thin rectangular layer, about 0.5cm thick, put the filling, then fold the edges of the dough together.
Slice the cake into small pieces, put in a tray with baking paper. Put the cake into the oven with 180 degrees C, 2 rounds, the middle compartment (oven should be turned on before 20 minutes), bake for 10 minutes.
Take the cake tray out, and spread eggs yolk on the surface of cakes, bake again for 5 minutes.
Finally, we have Banh cha with golden crust and aroma flavor.