Friday, April 9, 2010

Banh Gio

My mum made banh gio today!! to explain, it is a kind of mixture of different flours and water half cooked to a stretchy dough-like mixture topped with a mixture of meat and steamed in banana leaves. They're usually served hot and with a nuoc mam sauce of fish sauce, lemon juice, garlic and sugar.

When we have enough banana leaves, so about every couple of months, my mum soaks the flour in the water over night and I'm assigned the role of wiping down the banana leaves after they've been boiled and wrapping up those little packages of deliciousness. To me, Banh Gio is one of those foods that bring back nostalgic evenings spent at the dinner table with the rest of my family. Sure this happens almost every night but banh gio is so good, it makes it so much more special.

My mum makes two types of banh gio - the soft white banh gio with more rice flour and a translucent and very chewy version. The latter is usually the favourite with mum, Ben and I, but since my mum had been soaking the rice flour for longer and cleaned the water more often (I don't understand the exact science) it had a slightly more chewy texture and less of a floury aroma. I still prefer the elasticity of the other banh gio though.

Buying these are dirt cheap in Vietnam and oh so delicious - I'd apologise to mum but she agrees wholeheartedly with me. There are many other variants - with the filling stuffed inside smaller pockets of banh gio that resemble semi-circles, or dumpling like balls. The fillings can be varied with things like a kind of savoury mung bean paste and mixtures of pre-cooked pork and prawn. I'm craving some right now.

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