Banh Chung is one of Vietnamese traditional cakes, which are indispensable on Tet Holiday, meaning to celebrate and unify all family members in the new year.
Outside of the cake is the Dong leaves which are available widely in nature. Its inside is made from sticky rice, green bean, onion, pork, and so on. All of them are traditional cooking ingredients of the Vietnamese nation. Therefore, Banh Chung appeared on Tet holiday to show their gratitude to the earth for the favorable rain and wind, creating the bumper crops and bringing a prosperous life for people.
This special type of cake also expresses the filial piety of children with their parents, so the custom of using Banh Chung as gifts for parents also comes from here.
During three Tet days, the beautiful square Banh Chung covered with green leaves are chosen to be offered to the ancestor altar. The way to wrap Banh Chung is quite tricky. Therefore, not everyone can make a nice square cake. The banh chung recipe to help you have a nice cake will be revealed right here.
Ingredients for Banh Chung Recipe
To get the delicious cakes, you need to be careful right from the step of choosing ingredients.
- Sticky rice: select the yellow glutinous rice (“Nep Cai Hoa Vang” type) with big round seeds which has just been harvested in the crop.
- Green bean: choose new beans with yellow intestines and unrefined seeds.
- Bacon or shoulder meat: do not take too lean meat.
- Spices: salt, pepper.
- Dong leaves: select the medium type (neither too old nor too young), with the moderate size, evenly, not torn, having the green color.
- Bamboo strings: peeled from a thin, soft, flexible tube.
Preliminary processing of the fillings and leaves of Banh Chung
- Soak green beans in water for about 2 hours to swell, then clean and remove bad seeds. Add one tablespoon of salt, mix well and make steamed food. When the beans are hot, use a spoon to make beans to grind. Next, hold into each piece with a moderate size. Note: You can also leave raw beans to absorb the water for swelling, then drain and mix with salt to wrap.
- You need to wash bacon, slices into big pieces with about 2-cm thick. Next, put an adequate volume of spices and a little pepper to make it ripe and slightly spicy when cooked.
- Soak sticky rice before about 2 hours before wrapping. Then take out and drain with salt. You should pay attention to put enough salt, avoiding the cake being too light or too salty.
- If you want the cake to be more green and fragrant, you can use grind sticky rice leaves. After filtering them, you can use its green juice to soak sticky rice.
- Remember to wash Dong leaves thoroughly on both sides and then dry them in a cool, well-ventilated place. Then, use a knife or scissors to pull the leaf petiole separately. A little trick that will help you cut close to the leaves without breaking them is to do it from the middle of the back to the petiole of the leaf.
How to make Banh Chung recipe fast and beautiful by using a mold
Step 1: Arrange 4 Dong leaves in the same way with the manual wrapping process. Of which, two lower leaves face down, and two upper leaves face up. Turn the inner mold upside down to the center of the leaf.
Step 2: Use the Dong leaves to wrap the mold like a hand-made Banh Chung package above. You can see the details of the steps in the illustration.
Step 3: When the Dong leaves have been folded into a square, use the outer mold to surround the inner mold then, open the leaf and lift the inner mold.
Step 4: Put the ingredients in turn into the shaped leaf mold. First, a bowl of sticky rice is spread evenly across the mold, then green beans, and marinated meat. Continue to take a turn of bean, rice and then wrap the leaves very neatly, close to the existing folds.
Step 5: After wrapping completion, use one hand to hold the leaf to fix it and gently remove the mold. Then use four strings to tie the cake tightly. Remember to put the leftover of the strings into the layers to make the cake neat.
How to boil the green and delicious Banh Chung
This is a critical and time-consuming stage.
Step 1: Put leftover leaves, petioles, a primary vein of the leaves on the bottom of the pot before putting the cake on. This way will make it more flavorful, avoiding to be burn. Arrange the cake upright and fill it with water over the surface and place it on the stove.
Step 2: Heat the fire until boiling, then reduce it. The cake should always be flooded when boiled, so you need to prepare an additional bucket of water. Check the water level in the pot once every 1 hour. If the water drops, add water.
Step 3: You can boil Banh Chung by using a wood stove for 12 hours without worrying about its under-cooked status.
Take out the cake and put it into many layers. Use a flat piece of wood or platter to put on top. Then place a heavy object over to make the cake pressed flat and beautiful.
To get the delicious and beautiful cakes in the Tet Holiday, the packers must be sophisticated and careful from the stage of choosing ingredients to boil the cake.
In recent years, small families in the city also prepare Banh Chung by themselves. Although this task takes a bit of effort and time, it can help you to ensure food safety and hygiene. At the same time, Banh Chung preparation helps children understand more about a traditional custom of the nation, bringing the Tet atmosphere closer to everyone.