Vietnamese Food

Cuisine culture in Vietnam

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Someone asked me the other day what my favorite food was..."Vietnamese!" I quickly replied, "At least for the moment."

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Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea, referred to as East Sea (Vietnamese: Biển Đông), to the east. With a population of over 86 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world.

Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake (Bánh Bò Nướng)

I wish I could capture the fragnance of Bánh Bò Nướng while it's still in the oven and let you smell the aroma of coconut milk and pandan. It's this distinctive fragnance in addition to the soft chewy, slightly rubbery texture that makes Bánh Bò Nướng irresistible.

For the last couple days, I have tested out at least 3  versions of the Bánh Bò Nướng recipes.  I made my husband the official taster.  The recipe below is his favorite.  He prefers the pandan flavor over the vanilla;  This recipe is also less chewy than the other versions.   
My Bánh Bò Nướng has a crispy surface covered in roasted sesame which the true Bánh Bò Nướng doesn't have. But I love this seed and use it whenever appropriate. This is where you can infuse some of your creativity to  add a personal touch.

The process of making Bánh Bò Nướng is really quick and easy but the hardest part is getting the honeycombs (rễ tre) in the middle of the cake.  In order to get this, you need to beat the eggs just enough to homogenize the whites and yolks.  Stirring would be a safer method.  Secondly, use single acting baking powder such as Alsa Brand.  Thirdly, use a strainer to strain the mixture.  Last and the most important step: the baking pan has to be very hot.  You want to hear the sizzling sound when pouring the flour mixture in the hot baking pan.  

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RECIPE: Bánh Bò Nướng

  • 1 1/4 cups Tapioca flour
  • 4 oz Coconut Milk
  • 1 bag Alsa Brand Single Acting Baking Powder, 11grs (use any brand you prefer but it has to be Single Acting)
  • 6 large Eggs or 7 small Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pandan Extract (lá dứa) and 1/2 bag Vanilla Sugar or use only Pandan Extract or Pure Vanilla Extract 
  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds, optional

Turn on the oven and preheat to 350' F. Brush oil on the  baking pan and heat it in the oven on the 2nd lowest rack.  

In a large bowl, stir eggs and sugar with a whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Remember to stir just enough to homogenize the whites and yolks.  Over stirring the eggs can cause the cake to be flat.  
Add flour, baking powder, coconut milk, pandan or vanilla and mix it until smooth.

Use a strainer to strain the mixture into another bowl.  
Pour the mixture into the hot baking pan that is still in the oven.  You should hear the sizzling sound.  If you like sesame seeds, sprinkle some on top of the mixture. 
Bake it for about 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 300' F.  Bake for another 30 minutes or until golden.  To test if the cake is is ready, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake to see if it comes out clean. Turn off oven and let the cake sit in there for a few minutes before taking it out.  Let it cool for a little bit before removing it from the baking pan. 


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