Banh Chung (Sticky rice cake) - The soul of Vietnamese traditional New Year

Chung cake is a traditional cake of the Vietnamese people to express the gratitude of the descendants to their ancestors and the land. Chung cake is an indispensable cake in the traditional Tet holiday of Vietnamese people.

  1. What is banh Chung, and why is it indispensable in traditional Vietnamese Tet?
  2. Origin of banh Chung
  3. The meaning of banh Chung on Tet holiday

What is banh Chung, and why is it indispensable in traditional Vietnamese Tet? 

Chung cake is a traditional cake of the Vietnamese people to express the gratitude of the descendants to their ancestors and the land. Chung cake is an indispensable cake in the traditional Tet holiday of Vietnamese people. 

Origin of banh Chung 

The origin of banh Chung is told through a legend from generation to generation. 

Since King Hung wanted to pass the throne to his children, he had not chosen a worthy prince. Therefore, on the occasion of the New Year, King Hung wanted to receive gifts from the princes, the gift that made the king the most satisfied, the owner of that gift would be crowned. 

The princes competed to give the mountain and sea taste to their father. Only the 18th prince named Lang Lieu, whose mother died at a young age, did not know what to give to his father. One night, Lang Lieu dreamed that a god of leopard dreams used rice grains - pearls of heaven and earth to make banh Chung and banh Day pay his respects. According to the words, Lang Lieu made banh Chung, and indeed this special gift of Lang Lieu made his father satisfied and immediately passed the throne to him.

The meaning of banh Chung on Tet holiday 

What is banh Chung? The meaning of banh Chung on traditional New Year's Day is not known to everyone. 

The square-shaped banh Chung represents the square earth, and the round-shaped banh Day represents the sun. Our ethnic Vietnamese is a wet rice culture that depends on natural factors a lot. That's why Tet cakes have appeared on the altar for a long time, to express gratitude to heaven and earth for favorable rain and wind harmony so that bumper crops bring a prosperous life for people. 

Besides, making banh Chung for Tet also shows filial piety to their parents. That's why the custom of using banh Chung as a gift to parents is also from here. Along with banh Chung and banh Day, on New Year's Day, a tray of five fruits is displayed to represent the five elements that are similar to each other. 

  • What is banh chung in English?
  • What is the difference between banh tet and banh chung?
  • Why is it called banh chung?

How to pack delicious and beautiful banh Chung 

The ingredients needed to make banh Chung are as follows: 

- Dong leaves: should choose the type of leaf cake (the leaves are neither young nor old);

- Lat Giang is flexible; when the roll package is not broken;

- Glutinous rice with yellow flowers, large rice grains, fresh aroma;

- Green beans, fresh, mushy, yellow, beautiful, cooked, and crushed; 

- Bacon has only lean, fat, even, and thick parts. You should choose thin skin, don't choose too much lean skin that makes you feel sick when eating;

- Seasoning: Salt, pepper;

Order of making cakes:

Prepare the filling of green beans, meat, leaves, rice 

Step 1: Soak green beans for 2 hours. Clean and remove the bad seeds, then shock with 1 tablespoon of salted rice, then put in a steamer, steamed. 

When the beans are cooked, use a spoon to grind them until they are smooth, and then mix the beans with a bit of pepper. Then, grasp the beans into equal round balls.

Step 2: Soak the rice for about 2 hours to soften (just soak for 2 hours is enough to soften the rice, not soaking for a long time, making the rice sour and mushy). 

After soaking soft, treat the rice a few times to clean and remove the bad seeds. Then the person wrapped the rice cake with 1 spoon of salted rice and 1 spoon of seasoned rice. 

Step 3: Wash the seaweed leaves. If the leaves are not clean, the cake will quickly spoil. Use a clean towel to dry. Next, cut the raw part of the leaves (cut the raw leaves, don't throw them away, but put them in when boiling banh Chung). Note, when cutting the leaves, do not cut too deep. You will get to the flesh of the leaves, tearing the leaves. 

Step 4: Slice the meat into large pieces, about 2cm thick, about 5cm - 6cm long, and then add salt and pepper to marinate the meat. 

Package of cake 

How to pack banh Chung without a mold 

Step 1: When wrapping banh Chung, arrange 4 leaves perpendicularly as shown in the picture, 2 lower leaves face down (the lower 2 leaves are like that because when covering the cake, the right side will be outside to make the cake more beautiful), the top 2 leaves face up (the upper 2 leaves do this so that when peeling the cake, the cake does not stick).

Step 2: Put about 1 bowl of rice in the middle of the dong leaves. 

Step 3: Take half a handful of green beans and press lightly to make the green beans sunken, then put a piece of meat in the middle of the green beans.

Shape the filling so that the green beans cover most of the meat. Place the filling on top of the rice. 

Step 4: Add a layer of rice on top of the filling. After that, use your hands to smooth it so that the rice covers the filling. 

Step 5: Use your hands to fold the right and left dong leaves in turn, but pay attention to make sure your hands are firm. The excess leaves are folded over (fold inwards to hide extra leaves). 

Then you fold the top of the lower leaf up. Squeeze the edges of both sides of the top of the cake, fold the excess leaves on the top to make it square. 

Step 6: To make this square banh Chung, you need 4 lattes. Tie the first two rolls parallel to each other to keep the cake tight, the leaves do not come apart. The rear two bars are perpendicular to the front two. 

How to wrap the cake with a mold 

Folding leaves: just like folding to wrap by hand! Arrange the reverse side of two dong leaves to overlap as shown, then you place the green side of another dong leaf on top of the two vertically arranged cards. Add a green faceted leaf to line up. The leaves overlap and turn this inner mold upside down.

Then, you insert the inner mold into the outer mold, open the foil and lift the inner mold. You have completed folding the leaves into a square mold. 

The next step of wrapping banh Chung with a mold is to put in the ingredients for wrapping banh Chung. First, you pour a bowl of glutinous rice in first, spread evenly throughout the mold, flat. Then you put a handful of green beans on, spread evenly. 

Next is a piece of marinated meat in the middle, then a bowl of green beans. Finally, you pour another bowl of glutinous rice on top and wrap the leftover leaves neatly, evenly sealing the banh Chung. 

After neatly rolling the layers of excess leaves, use your hand to press the extra leaves down, gently lift the cake mold with your other hand, and then tie it thinly. 

You can tie 2 lats, 3 lats, or 4 lats, just tie them soft but tight, not making the cake wrinkled, but need to be symmetrically connected to make the cake more square. 


Boil the cake 

Put the raw part of the dong leaf cut at the beginning of making it to the bottom of the pot, then arrange the cake on top. Add water to cover the entire cake, bring to a boil over high heat until it boils, and reduce the heat.

After that, check every 1 hour to see the water level. If the water level drops, add more boiled water. Cook for 8-10 hours, take out the cake. 

After removing the cake, use a towel dipped in cold water to wash the outside of the cake. Find a cool place in the house, arrange the cake, and put a board on top. Then add a water basin or a heavy object on top of the board so that the cake is firm and firm.

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