Banh khoai a tasty specialty of the Mong ethnic group


The cake has been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years, according to Giang A Chua, 78.

The cake is made from a special rice called Seng Cu which is planted locally.

The group also prepares the cake with sticky rice known as Tu Le sticky rice. These two types of rice have their own aromatic flavor, Chua said.

‘Bánh khoải’ is the pride of the Mong ethnic group in Muong Khuong district of Lao Cai. The cake is enjoyed during important holidays like the Tet holiday. Photo

“All the households in the district have a piece of land to cultivate rice to make the cake. In the past, the cake was only made during Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays, but now locals make it all year round, he said.

Making banh khoai is simple but requires experience and strength.

The process includes soaking the rice overnight, then putting it in the steamer for half an hour.

When the rice is cooked, it is placed in a stone mortar and ground as finely as possible. It is then rolled until it is 30cm long and 10cm wide, Chua told Việt Nam News.

Locals often make ‘bánh khoải’ chips to eat all year round. Photo

“My mother often cuts both sides of the cake to give to her children and uses the middle of the cake to arrange it on a plate and bring it to put on our altar to worship our ancestors,” Chua said.

The popular cake is one of the most important things for Mong people during the holidays, he added.

He recalled that a month before the Lunar New Year, households in Sin Chai hamlet of Muong Khuong district often start baking the cake. The village looked like a bustling workshop.

“We take turns helping each other. Usually a group of three or five households work with each other to make the cake. Elderly people are often responsible for the process, choosing the rice, soaking, grinding and rolling the cake. »

Khoai cake can be used in many dishes such as sweet porridge. Photo

Chua recalled when he was a young man, he had to grind and roll the cake. “The work is tiring because we make up to 30 kilos of rice.”

Chua said that in the past, her family didn’t have a refrigerator, so her mother often dried the cake and kept it in a big jar to eat later.

“This Tet, we made 60 kilos of rice, more than usual, in the machine, to eat during the holidays and to take away to eat after work. The cake helps us stay full throughout the day,” Chua said.

Nowadays, many locals use machines to make the cake. Although the machine-made cake is not as tasty as the handmade one, customers often choose banh khoai for its nutritional value over instant noodles available in shops and markets.

Dr. Hoang Le Hoa from Hanoi said his family recently visited Muong Khuong and not only enjoyed the natural scenery and traditional festivals of the Mong and other ethnic groups, but also discovered their culinary specialties.

Unlike the Mong ethnic group in Lao Cai, the Mong group in Ha Giang use corn to make “bánh khoải”, which they say is nutritious and healthy. Photo

“A friend of mine invited us to try cooked banh khoai with cooked pork bones. The dish is so tasty with the moist and fragrant cake and the salty and buttery broth. We enjoyed it so much and I decided to buy five kilos to take home,” Hoa said, adding that the cake can be used in a pot, grilled with chilli salt or added to porridge. sweet.

A vendor in Hanoi told Việt Nam News that banh khoai sells in the capital for between 40,000 and 50,000 VND per kilo.

Many of my customers have said they like to eat the cake warm, dipping it in a special sauce that’s made by fermenting and salting black soybeans, or salted sesame or sugar. The cake is made from plain rice, so it won’t fill you up too much. It’s also a popular breakfast for vegetarians,” the vendor said.

Source: Vietnam News

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