Vietnam has various Steamed glutinous rice (Xoi) from savory to sweet, from simple to sophisticated. Xeo steamed glutinous rice (Xoi xeo, Steamed glutinous rice with mung bean paste) – a kind of Xoi made from glutinous rice, turmeric powder, mung bean, onion, and fat is specialty food of Hanoi. One interesting thing about Xoi xeo is its strange name – “xeo” which means “go away” or “cut” in Vietnamese and makes it remarkable. Sold popularly on Hanoi streets, in hidden corners, at local markets, Xoi xeo has become a part of Hanoi culture. It has been the favorite breakfast for many people including pupils, students, workers because of reasonable price, delicious taste, healthiness, and fulfillment. It has been a great gift which Vietnamese mothers, sisters, and grandmothers bring home from the markets. Smelling, tasty and good-looking Xeo steamed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf has been one of the most beautiful memories of each Hanoi children.
Although Xoi xeo looks simple, the process of cooking and serving is not any simple. Xeo Steamed Glutinous Rice is known as one of the hardest-to-cook Xoi. All of the ingredients must be chosen carefully. The high-quality golden flower glutinous rice is used to cook the steamed sticky rice so that it is not too wet not too dry. The rice is soaked in turmeric water, then steamed with lotus water which is made by cooking lotus leaves and water. Bright and green mung beans are peeled off, soaked in warm water, steamed until pleasant, beaten until well-kneaded and formed into balls which are as big as oranges.
The Xoi xeo should be served hot so that the seller keeps it warm in a bamboo basket which is carried on the shoulder or fastened behind the bicycle. To serve, the seller gets some steamed glutinous rice onto a lotus leaf/banana leaf, then uses a knife to “xeo” (“cut”) cooked mung bean balls into slices and puts them onto steamed sticky rice. Then, the seller tops the portion with crispy brownish deep-fried onion and a tablespoon of greasy liquid fat. If the buyer would like to bring the food with him, the seller will wrap the portion skillfully to make sure that the food is warm as long as possible. This amazing Xoi is a perfect combination of many yellow tones: the bright yellow color of steamed glutinous rice soaked in turmeric water, the lighter yellow color of the mung bean, the brown-yellow of fried onion. The green lotus/banana leaf match well with yellow Xoi xeo, they make an eye-catching and mouth-watering food.
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