Monday, January 31, 2011

Bánh chưng

"Banh Chung" (pronounced bye-ing choong?)

"Banh Chung" or square rice cake is a Vietnamese traditional dish most commonly found during the "Tet" New Year celebration.

Every Vietnamese family must have "Banh Chung" among their offerings to be placed on the ancestors' altars.

One or two days before Tet, the family gather to prepare and cook the rice cakes around the warm fire. "Banh Chung" is made of glutinous rice, pork meat and green bean paste, and is wrapped in a square of "Dong" leaves (rush leaves) giving the rice a green color after boiling for ten hours.

Making the dish requires care and precision. The rice has to be soaked in water for an entire day, the pork meat must include skin and fat,
the green beans must be of the same size and the leaves must be fresh. Squaring off and tying the cakes with bamboo strings require skillfull hands.

During "Tet" New Year, the rice cakes are served with "gio lua" or lean pork pie, and "hanh muoi" or salted sour onions.

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