Hoa Tâm, a family friend, came to visit a few days ago and she gave us a very useful tip on how to avoid bánh tét food waste after the Lunar New Year celebrations. What is bánh tét you ask? It’s a Vietnamese savory rice cake (at times sweetened with bananas). It’s made primarily from glutinous rice, which is rolled in a banana leaf into a thick, log-like cylindrical shape, with a mung bean or mung bean and meat center, then boiled. It’s a must-have traditional food during Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year in Southern Vietnam. We’ve been given a lot of the logs this season; it’s a way to demonstrate the importance of rice in the Vietnamese culture. I told Hoa Tâm my fear that we’d have a lot of leftovers and didn’t want to waste all the food. She then give uswonderful trick; if you have a lot of these rice cakes as e do, look no further!
Simply slice them and pan-fry them. Once crispy, drizzle with nước mắm chay (if you’re a vegetarian) or fish sauce. It’s as simple as that. Thanks, dear Chi Hoa Tâm!
1. Info for Pan-Fried Banh Tet Recipe
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 25
- Servings: 6
- Calories: 1079
2. Ingredients for Pan-Fried Banh Tet Recipe
- 1 store-bought bánh tét log (see tips), banana leaves removed and discarded
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 4 tablespoons pineapple sauce (see tips)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 5 tablespoons boiling water
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lime juice with pulp, freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon very finely chopped lemongrass (optional)
- 2 teaspoons red Thai chili pepper (optional), finely chopped, to taste
- Slice the bánh tét log into 6 to 8 thick slices, depending on the length od the log. Heat a non-stick pan and fry 1 clove of garlic. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add the slices to the hot garlicky oil and pan-fry until lightly golden on both sides.
- In the same mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar in boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature. Add the rice vinegar, lime juice and pineapple sauce. Mix in the remaining raw garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chili pepper (if using).
- When ready to serve, drizzle with the vegetarian pineapple sauce.