Pyramid Shaped Glutinous Rice Cake (Banh It)
Pyramid Shaped Glutinous Rice Cake (Banh It) plays an important part in South Vietnam, especially Mekong Delta life and culture. This kind of traditional cake couldn’t be missed at any important event in South Vietnam. It’s chance to all women of family and neighbors gather to cook this cake. Men can also helps to prepare ingredients and wood. Banh It is one of the most favorite foods on death anniversaries, on weddings, at Tet festival. Hosts usually gift relatives and neighbors attending anniversaries and weddings Banh It as a thank. It symbolizes for reunion and love.
There are many steps: preparing banana leaves, making fillings, doughing, wrapping and cooking. It also needs the chef to be experienced and patient. Main ingredient to make Banh It is high quality glutinous rice flour. Fillings is formed into balls with diameter of 3 cm. To make the cake’s dough, the cook should mix the flour, coconut cream and water with hand gently and carefully to bring it together. Then form the dough into medium thick rounds, wrap the filling ball and form into a bigger ball. After that this ball is wrapped in some layers of banana leaves and has pyramid shape. Banana leaves make the cake have special fragrance and taste. Cakes are steamed in a big pot on medium fire for about a half hour. Banh It could be kept 3 days at room temperature.
There are many versions of Pyramid Shaped Glutinous Rice Cake but they can be divided into 2 main kinds: sweet and savory. Fillings of sweet Banh It could be a mix of minced coconut meat and crushed peanuts or mix of mung bean paste and coconut cream. Savory Banh It has filling made from chopped shrimp, pork, minced jicama, wood ear and mung bean paste.
Eating a Banh It is not for tasting its flavor but also learn more about Vietnamese rich cuisine and culture. If you have chance to visit South Vietnam, do not miss this amazing food.