“Banh gio” – Pyramidal rice dumpling
This simple dish sold in country markets has become a favorite breakfast of many Hanoians. People can find this dish in small stands on any street in Hanoi. The stands are always crowed with diners. Hanoians can enjoy this dish at any time, at breakfast, lunch or post-lunch.
Although pyramidal rice dumpling is simple, it is very good and healthy, especially its appealing fragrance. This white and smooth dumpling is wrapped in green banana leaf, which is regarded as the quintessence of heaven and earth.
The pyramidal rice dumpling is made from a few ingredients including plain rice flour, minced lean meat, cat’s ear, onion and mushroom. The process of stirring and kneading flour is the most important, which decides the deliciousness of the dumpling. Processing the dumpling flour is a secret handed from generation to generation. Some famous makers of pyramidal rice dumpling said that they bought flour in Ha Dong District but still kept secret what kind of flour was. Therefore, it is not easy to make delicious rice dumplings.
After soaking in water, flour is dried, which is similar to the kind of “banh te” (rice cake). This flour is continously dissolved in water when being cooked. After 45 minutes, the flour turns pure white and viscid, which means it is well-cooked. Then the flour is placed on phrynium leaf and wrapped with meat. These rice dumplings are then put into the boiling water for 20 minutes. After that, pyramidal rice dumplings are picked up. People can feel the fragrance of the filling, rice flour and the special smell of phrynium or banana leaf. It is so great to serve this dish with sour vegetable pickles, which makes good taste; therefore, some people can eat two or three dumplings at a time.
Sitting in crowded stands, feeling hungry and enjoying this dish, you will find it a pleasure in life…