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Vietnam Cooking : Hue cuisine specialties


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I want to open this topic specific to Hue's cuisine, which is one of the finest cuisine in South-east asia.

I am based in France, but my father's family is originated from Hue.

The recipes I can propose are the following :

- bun bo hue

- banh xeo

- banh bot loc

As an example, the recipes I am looking for :

- Tre (fermented pigs ears with galanga)

- Banh It

- Banh Nam

I will contribute to this topic with one typical recipe from Hue : Banh Beo. I got that recipe directly from my grandmother who was an excellent cook and passed away 15 years ago.

banh_beo_closeup.jpg

The principle of the recipe is very simple: steamed rice cakes topped with ‘shrimps cotton', crushed crispy pork’s fat and green onions. Cotton shrimp is the most interesting part of the recipe: it is obtained by rapidly drying gently crushed shrimps over a hot pan, transferring it back to the mortar and repeating this operation several times until the shrimp’s texture becomes like cotton. The recipe is not particularly complex, but surely requires a lot of work. Then of course, comes the Nuoc Mam sauce, which is very specific to this dish.

Ingredients for 40 cakes

You can usually serve 4 cakes per person, but I guess that some would get frustrated if they could not have some more.

For the dough

2 bowl of rice flour

2 bowl of hot water

2 bold cold water

For the topping and sauce

10 young onions

100gr of pork fat (cut out from the pork brisket)

6 tbsp of dried shrimp

2 minced red chilis

4 thinly chopped garlic cloves

5 sugar cubes

Nuoc Mam

15 fleshy shrimps

1 big shallot, finely chopped

Directions

We begin by preparing the dough.

In a large bowl, place the rice flour, add hot water and mix well without leaving any lumps forming.

When the mixture is completely liquid, slowly add cold water, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Allow the paste to rest for at least half on hour.

Preparation cotton shrimp and topping

Boil three glasses of water in a saucepan and dip the shrimp very quickly, so they are barely cooked. Save the cooking broth for later.

Transfer the cooking broth in a bowl and allow the dried shrimps to swell for twenty minutes.

Drain cooked shrimps removing the shells and deveining. Keep the shells of the shrimps to improve the broth.

With the flat of a knife, crush the shrimps.

Heat a non-stick pan, and transfer the mortar content in it. Stir constantly. The aim is to dry the shrimps, not to cook them. If the pan gets too hot, remove from the heat.

Transfer the shrimps back to the mortar and crush gently.

Repeat this operation 4 or 5 times, until a the shrimps turn pink and their texture look like cotton. Reserve the shrimps cotton in a bowl. Cover the bowl with cellophane to prevent the cotton from drying, and keep it in the fridge.

Remove the dried shrimps from the broth an drained using paper towel.

Thinly chop the dried shrimps (eventually with a blender) until it turns into an orange powder. Set aside in a bowl.

Chop the pork fat into small pieces.

Transfer to a frying pan and heat (medium heat) stirring constantly until the fat produces oil, and the crispy pork fat get a nice golden-brown color.

Drain trough a sieve and return the oil to the frying pan.

Chopped thinly the crispy pork fat with a knife, and reserve in a bowl.

Remove the white part of the green onions and mince into 5mm long sections.

Thinly chop the shallot.

Heat the pork fat oil, and when the oil is hot, add the green onions and the shallot. Stir quickly and remove for heat.

Preparation of the Nuoc Mam sauce

Return the broth to a saucepan,

add the shrimps shells and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

Dissolve 5 sugar cubes in the saucepan,

add the thinly chopped garlic. From now on, the sauce must not boil.

Add the Nuoc Mam (10 tbsp should be fine) until it fits your taste.

You might as well add one thinly sliced red chili, depending on your taste and experience.

Finally add one tbsp of shrimps cotton, and one tsp of chopped dried shrimps to the broth and reserve.

The sauce is ready.

Baking the rice flour cakes

Traditionally, each Banh Beo is cooked in a small hollow plate.

With a paper towel, grease the pans well with the fat pork oil. It is important to ensure that the cakes won’t stick to the mold after cooking.

Using a small ladle, fill each plate with paste (approximately 3mm height of paste). The dough will rise, and there must be enough place in the plate.

In a large Couscous pot, boil water in the lower part.

Once the water boils, place the steamer on top, and put the small banh beo plates in that upper part. Close the lid and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Cooking is complete when all the cake has become translucent. The cakes must be firm and translucid.

Put the plates on a tray, it will be served on the table after the topping is set.

Adding the topping

With a small spoon, spread a little pork fat oil on top of each cake.It will help to keep the shrimps cotton in place.

Add a little crispy pork fat

Add the cotton shrimp

Add a little bit of dried shrimp powder

Finally add a few slices of young onions from pork fat oil

The cake should look like the picture above.

This dish should be served warm, as starter. In Vietnam, it is often server along with a plate of sliced Cha Lua (vietnamese pork sausage). You can buy it from asian stores, although it is not as good as the one which is served in Hué cuisine and which contains more pepper. Anyway…

Additional images on my blog :

http://http://khas-kitchen.blogspot.com/20...ith-cotton.html

Kha

Kha Tran - Paris - France

I love cooking, love eating. My very personal taste drives me towards personal interpretation of traditional dishes in Lao, vietnamese, Thai and French cuisine. I am looking for world wide confrontation of techniques, ingredients and recipes. All feedback are welcome.<br />

<a href='http://khas-kitchen.blogspot.com' target='_blank'>http://khas-kitchen.blogspot.com</a>

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I have eaten in Hue and hold one of the meals I had there as one of the top meals I've had in my life. I know that Hue is famous for Bun Bo Hue and Imperial court cuisine. Are banh beo the sort of dish you can buy on the street in Hue, or are they more of a home-cooking style dish?

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Hi,

Banh Beo is usually eaten at the restaurant, not in the street. There is a reason for that: While Banh Xeo, Pho, Bun Bo Hue can almost count as a whole meal by themselves, Banh Beo is served along with toher steamed dishes :

- Banh Bot Loc

- Banh Nam

- Banh It

So it is rather difficult to eat this dish on these small tables and chairs right on the sidewalk.

From what I know, in france we cook it at home (Hue restaurant are quite rare in Paris) and invite the family to join us for lunch. On the contrary, in Vietnam, this is not an every day dish, and therefore it is more often eaten in specialized restaurants rather than home.

Kha

I have eaten in Hue and hold one of the meals I had there as one of the top meals I've had in my life. I know that Hue is famous for Bun Bo Hue and Imperial court cuisine. Are banh beo the sort of dish you can buy on the street in Hue, or are they more of a home-cooking style dish?

Kha Tran - Paris - France

I love cooking, love eating. My very personal taste drives me towards personal interpretation of traditional dishes in Lao, vietnamese, Thai and French cuisine. I am looking for world wide confrontation of techniques, ingredients and recipes. All feedback are welcome.<br />

<a href='http://khas-kitchen.blogspot.com' target='_blank'>http://khas-kitchen.blogspot.com</a>

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