Besides Thanh Ha litchi, Ke Sat dry pancake with Gac (Momordica cochinchinensis), Ning Giang gai cake, Hai Duong province is famous for sweet and fragrant Mung bean cake. Banh dau xanh is lightly sweet, buttery, soft, smelling. It is made from mung bean, sugar, oil (or pork fat), and pomelo flower extract. The cake is cut into small cubes with a side of 2 cm. These sweet cubes are so well-kneaded so that it melts in your mouth. The cake is a good fit for green tea. It is a great gift from Hai Duong and at Tet festival.
According to Mung bean cake maker in Hai Duong, a sweet cake made from mung bean was offered to Bao Dai King. He was very pleased with the wonderful taste of the cake and decreed to praise it. On the decree, there was a golden dragon image. Since then, Golden dragon mung bean cakes which mean Mung bean cakes for the royal family has appeared in Hai Duong. Hai Duong city has about 40 factories which produce Mung bean cake to sell to inbound and export to China, Europe.
Mung beans used to make good Banh dau xanh should be brightly colored, smooth and oval in shape, and without any cracks, soft spots or discoloration, even in size and shape. The cake makers in Hai Duong usually buy the best mung beans in Chi Linh district or other provinces such as Bac Ninh, Gia Lai, Kon Tum. Traditionally mung beans are washed carefully for many times, cooked in water, cooled, then roasted. Roasting is the most important part of making Banh dau xanh. If mung beans are roasted too long, the cake has burnt smell. If the mung beans are roasted for not long enough, the cake has a pungent odor. Roasted mung bean is left for one day, then peeled off and ground into mung bean flour. The flour is mixed with sugar and oil. The mixture is left for 8-24 hours so that all of the ingredients are well blended, the cake is soft so that it melts in the mouth. After that, the mixture is formed and cut into small cubes which are wrapped in silver paper and packaged.
Mung bean cake is a traditional Vietnamese sweet cake which any Vietnamese person love to eat. It has become more and more popular in the countries as well as the world. It is not only a food but also a gift to family and friends. The cake is also offered to ancestors at festivals and death anniversary. Coming to Hai Duong as well as Vietnam, do not miss trying some Mung bean cake!
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