In Vietnamese cuisine, just as in many other types of cuisines, the use of banana leaves in cooking dates back centuries. Back when there was no aluminum foil, parchment paper or wax paper, the thick leaves were what cooks used to pack, steam, grill, bake and serve their food. Isn’t that a smart, eco-friendly way to make good use of biodegradable, natural materials? Plus, the banana leaves give awondderful additional aroma to the food. If you ever visit Vietnam, you’ll notice how commonly food is wrapped in banana leaves. Bánh giò is no exception, and it’s one of my favorite Vietnamese street foods.
Bánh giò is a steamed rice cake, often filled with meat. This time, I filled them with ground chicken (a more authentic version would use pork). In any case, the meat is cooked with wood ear mushrooms. It’s not the prettiest meal, but it’s a flavorful, earthy (thanks to the mushrooms), light, gluten-free dish.
The key to achieving the perfect texture is to add a bit of cornstarch to the rice flour to firm up the dough, then flavor it with warm chicken broth and cook it on the stove before shaping the rice cakes.
1. Info for Banh Gio Recipe (Steamed Meat Rice Cakes)
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
- Servings: 6
- Calories: 80 kcal
2. Ingredients for Banh Gio Recipe (Steamed Meat Rice Cakes)
- 10 ounces rice flour
- 2 ounces corn starch
- 3 (8.25-ounce) packages no salt chicken broth
- 1½ pounds ground chicken
- 1 cups fresh wood ear mushrooms, chopped
- 2 teaspoons grated palm sugar, to taste
- 4 tablespoons fried shallots
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 package banana leaves, thawed
- Prepping the meat: In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add the garlic and cook until slightly golden. Add the ground chicken mixture. Cook for about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Add the wood ear mushrooms and black pepper. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Add the fried shallots. Taste the meat. Season with more mushroom seasoning salt and pepper if necessary. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
- In a pot, dissolve the rice flour and corn starch in the warm chicken broth. Add 3 cups of hot water. Stir until well combined. Turn the heat to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens. Turn off the heat.
- Place one piece of plastic wrap for support under 2 layered pieces of banana leaf, Add 1 tablespoon of the dough paste, then 2 tablespoons of the meat filling and finally 1 tablespoon of the dough paste. Fold and tuck in the edges to seal and form a rectangle. Once folded, cover with the plastic wrap (you could also secure with twine).
- Place in a steamer and cook for 20-30 minutes. Let cool. Unwrap and serve with fish sauce.
- Bon appétit!
4. Tips and advices:
- You can find all the ingredients listed above in most Asian markets.
- Count about 2 dumplings per person.