Although it is just a simple “side dish”, few people know about it, but banh mi is always a memorable dish for the expatriate children of Nghe An.
When it comes to the “brands” that make up Nghe An cuisine, many people will immediately remember eel porridge, sweet cakes, veal rolls… But few people know that Nghe An also has banh mi, a familiar breakfast dish of Nghe An. many families here. Even for many children who are far away from home, banh mi has become a part of their memories and always makes them nostalgic whenever they remember this simple specialty.
Nghe An sticky rice cake has a shape quite similar to the Northern Banh Cuon or the Southern wet cake. This type of cake is about the length of an index finger, has a clear white color and when biting, you will feel the smooth taste from the rolled dough. Although it is not too fussy in processing nor does it need to use expensive ingredients, in order to have a plate of banh mi for breakfast, the baker must be very meticulous and meticulous in each small step.
Choosing rice to make cakes is the most important step in making banh mi Nghe An. After choosing a satisfactory type of rice, people will take the rice to soak for about 3 hours and then grind it, then soak for another 3 to 6 hours until the milled rice reaches “ripeness”. perfect. After soaking, the baker also has to drain the juice of the soaked dough to coat the cake.
The way of making banh cuon Nghe An is similar to the way of rolling banh cuon or wet cake, they put a layer of fine cloth on top of the rice paper pot. Then turn on the heat very high and wait for the water to boil, then use a ladle to scoop the pre-soaked dough and spread it thinly on top and cover the lid until the cake is cooked. This is the stage for the chef to “show off” and his ingenuity, the thickness or thinness of the cakes is determined by this step. The cake will be cooked gradually thanks to the heat of the steam, when it is ripe, it will be pulled out and rolled and then placed in a basket lined with banana leaves or clean plates next to it. There are also many places where people do not roll the cake but just cut the cake into bite-sized pieces.
The smooth cakes after being coated are still hot and give off a very attractive characteristic aroma. Because it has been spread with a thin layer of oil when rolling, the cake is not sticky, soft, smooth and has a beautiful white color.
Usually, the banh chung can be served with fish sauce with lemon juice and some vegetables such as spinach or banana root. But to make the dish more attractive, Nghe An people can use banh chung with spring rolls, chicken, duck meat or stir fried hearts.
Stir-fry is probably a popular dish used with Banh Mi in Nghe An. With common pig organs such as heart, intestines, liver, stomach, kidney, blood and blood… the chef will take it away to clean it and then stir all ingredients on a pan of fragrant fried onion oil until fragrant hunt again. After adding the seasonings to taste, they add water and wait until the pot of ingredients boils to start enjoying. You can pick up a piece of cake, dip it into a cup of fish sauce and bring it to your mouth to enjoy, then sip a piece of fried rice is enough to feel all the delicious and rich taste of the dish.
Although it is just a simple and rustic dish, Banh Mi is always the pride of Nghe people. If you have the opportunity to visit Nghe An, banh mi is a specialty that you must definitely enjoy to better understand the cuisine and people here.