And now, for something completely different, less of my own cooking. Those who know me may realize that I am Vietnamese. Those who know me a bit better know that in the great majority of instances, I cannot cook Vietnamese (or any other Asian) food to save my life. Ok, I could do it to save my life, but still, I don't consider myself versed in Vietnamese cooking at all.
This blog is no exception! But still, I will do my best to show a family event, in accordance with the season.
Bánh chưng is a dish commonly associated with Tết, only also known as the Lunar New Year. The wiki artickle explains it better, but this is a dish meant to symbolize earth. Because it is flat you see.
Also important are banana leaves. Here you can see a set dad set up to clean them off and get rid of any odd residues, as we'll be using these for wrapping the actual ingredients.
This is my improvement upon the process, I pulled out one of my folding tables and set up shop. But Much easier on the back. Note the hose for keeping a clean water flow by the way, not my innovation.
And wow! Clean banana leaves, more or less. They could still use a bit of a drying though. I cleaned so many banana leaves that day...
Trimming station to get the leaves just right.
And now we get into the production. We've got soaked rice, cooked pork and in the small white bowls, lightly sauteed onions.
The banana leaves are next painstakingly set up into little wooden frames, and then the bottom layer is filled with rice.
Then a layer crushed mung beans is set atop the rice.
Pretty isn't it? A layer of onion, then a layer of pork is added.
Then the process is reversed from here, with a layer on onions on top and beans again, then with more of the soaked rice.
Carefully wrap it.
And after some fancy fingerwork, tie it up! Sorry for missing the in between shots, but trust me when I say these three I actually did all on my own!
These are all thrown into a big pot and cooked for a long time. Overnight in our case, with everyone taking shifts to check the water to make sure these packages stayed submerged. Tiring work. And here's the finished product.
Hope you enjoyed this slightly different installment of Cast Iron Therapy, and let me say happy Lunar New Year and Chúc mừng năm mới! So if you haven't met your new years resolutions, think of this as an early second chance.