Banh Chung and banh Tet (Boiled rice and pork cakes)
Boiled rice and pork cakes are
usually cooked 2-3 days before Tet. Both can be kept for about two
weeks in cool temperature. However, after this time they become hard and
must be re-boiled.
some green beans overnight in water to soften. Drain, rub and clean to
remove the skin, and leave to dry. Next, cook the beans in a steamer and
grind. Form into balls the size of tennis balls.
some glutinous rice overnight. Clean and rinse. Mix with a little salt.
Cut fresh pork meat (lean or fat, according to personal taste) into 2cm
strips. Mix with salt, fish sauce and pepper, and leave for about one
leaves (leaves from arrowroot) and place them over each other to form a
cross. Place an amount of rice in the centre of the leaves. Shape into a
square (the southern version is in a circle). Press a "ball" of green
bean on top. Then, add 1-2 pieces of marinated pork, then more green
bean, and finally rice. Press firmly into a compact square and wrap the
leaves over to cover the cake completely. Tie with bamboo strings. Place
in a large pot of boiling water and boil overnight. Squeeze the
moisture out by placing it in a colander with a heavy object on top.
To serve, untie and open the leaves. Invert on a plate and cut into pieces using the bamboo strings, not a knife. Serve cold.
Canh mang (Dried bamboo shoot soup)
dried bamboo shoots in water for 2-3 days to soften. Boil 2-3 times if
necessary. Cut into 5cm strips. Fry with pig trotters and salt. Add
water, bring to boil and simmer until meat is tender. Garnish with green
Bong (Dried pig skin)
dried pig skin (the skin should be yellow, which means it has been
pre-treated) in water for one hour. Drain and then add a cup of rice
whisky and fresh ginger. Rub onto the skin (this will remove the smell).
Cut into diamond-shaped pieces.
To make fresh chicken stock, add dried shrimps and dried huong (perfume)
mushrooms, which have been pre-soaked in warm water, to 2-3 chicken
carcasses. Bring to boil and simmer. Remove the dried mushrooms. Cut
carrot and kohlrabi into decorative shapes (flowers, leaves etc). Boil
the dried pork skin in the chicken stock for several minutes until
tender. Add French/ string beans. To serve, mix all drained ingredients
(place vegetables on top) and garnish with coriander.
Hanh muoi (Pickled onions)
should make this dish about two weeks before Tet. Clean onions.
Dissolve some salt and sugar in warm water. Add onions, cover and keep
in a clean, dry place for two weeks.
Mien (Vermicelli noodles)
into lengths and pre-soak for 10-15 minutes in water. Boil chicken
innards (liver, heart, etc), salt and green onions in a fresh chicken
stock. Mix with mien and serve.
Moc (Pork soup)
raw minced pork. Add dried mushrooms, which have been soaked to be
softened. Mound pork on the mushrooms and boil in chicken stock.
Ga ran or luoc (Fried or boiled chicken)
Fried version: marinate raw chicken in salt, sugar, garlic, fish sauce and burnt sugar. Fry chicken and marinade in oil.
Boiled version: served with julienne lemon grass.
Ca chep kho rieng (Carp with galangal)
Scale carp, cut into steaks and fry. Add finely sliced galangal,
fish sauce, salt, burnt sugar and water (this makes the fish turn dark
brown). Cook over a low heat until the fish is hard and little liquid
Bo kho que (Beef with cinnamon)
Tie up beef muscle firmly with several strips of bamboo. Break cinnamon into small pieces, rub into beef. Sear.
Add fish sauce and salt, and cook over a low heat. Only cut beef when about to serve. The meat should be firm but not tough.
Xoi gac (Steamed momordica glutinous rice)
Soak glutinous rice in water overnight. Drain. Cut open the momordica (qua gac). Remove flesh and large black/red seeds. Mix this with a small cup of rice alcohol. Mix rice with salt and qua gac mixture.
in a rice steamer. During steaming, add some chicken fat and stir
through. When steamed, add a little sugar and stir through with
chopsticks. Mound onto a plate and decorate with the black seeds from
Che kho (Soft green bean cake)
green beans in water overnight to soften. Rub and remove skin. Drain.
Cook in boiling water until soft. Drain and grind into a wet powder. Mix
with sugar in a pan over a medium heat. Keep stirring until a little
drier and smoother. Place in a mound and invert onto a plate. Sprinkle
with sesame seeds. To serve, cut into slices like a cake.
Mut (Preserved fruit)
a week before Tet. The most important thing is to maintain the shape of
the fruit. Use apple, potato, tomato, plum, ginger, mandarin, or gourd.
Pierce skin lengthwise, but don’t cut too deep. Place in a bowl of cold
water and lime. Soak overnight. Wash carefully and dry. Cover in red
sugar. Stir very carefully in a dry pan over low heat until sugar melts
and solidifies. Take off heat. Press down carefully on top of apple to
make into shape evocative of a seashell.
using a kumquat, a traditional Tet fruit, use white sugar to keep the
natural orange colour of the fruit. You must also keep the stalk in to
keep the shape. You must also carefully press juice out after piercing
Last, but not least
indulging in all the above, remember that you cannot throw out any
leftovers until the fourth day of Tet. It would also be highly
inauspicious to sweep the rubbish from the house as all the good luck
you have been working hard at will disappear with it.