Tommorow is Tet – hope everyone has a great new year! In preparation of the celebration, I’m going to write about the various ways Banh Chung can be prepared.
Banh Chung (Sticky Rice Cake) is a Vietnamese Tet tradition – its a must have for new years.
Not only do most people eat Banh Chung for Tet, they give them as gifts and use them in offerings to ancestors.
There are many ways to eat Banh Chung – but my family usually eats Banh Chung in three specific ways.
1. Plain 2. Pan Fry 3. Deep Fry
Plain – eating Banh Chung straight from its banana leaf wrapper is the most authentic. This way you can taste the flavor from the leaves and still feel the different textures of the rice and the pork. I like it sort of warm, but many eat it at room temperature.
Pan Fry – basically you chop the Banh Chung into small cubes, about the size of an ice cube. Then place everything into a big flat skillet on high heat. Eventually the cubes will begin to get soft and you can start to press the Banh Chung into a pancake shape. Leave the Banh Chung pancake to brown on med-high heat. After one side is brown and crispy, flip it over and repeat. Eating pan fried Banh Chung is pretty popular now, its hard to describe. Sort of like a crispy sticky rice cake with bits of meat.
Deep Fry – heat up enough oil to cover the Banh Chung entirely. After the heat is hot, quarter up the Banh Chung and then drop the 4 pieces in. The rice will sort of puff up a little and then begin to crisp. This tastes like a crispy rice meat pie.
Any way you cook it – Banh Chung is a treat and always tastes good.
Here’s a link to some pictures of people making Banh Chung.