Bánh tằm cay (“silkworm” noodle with meat balls and chicken curry)

Banh tam cay, Bánh tằm cay is a Vietnamese noodle dish from Cà Mau Province.

BANH TAM (BÁNH TẰM or BÁNH TẦM), literally translate: “Silkworm” NOODLE, is a rice noodle, like Japanese UDON, but thinner than udon. BANH TAM CAY is a kind of Vietnamese noodle dishes (Cà Mau Province), the cooked rice noodle with curry chicken or meat balls and fresh herbs. The curried gravy is hot and spiced with hot chili and curry powder. The noodle is made from rice flour.



For NOODLE (Bánh Tằm): (Home made or buy at Asian market or substitute: UDON)

  • 2 cup Rice flour (or rice flour mix with tapioca starch for more chewy)
  • 1 cup Water or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking

For Gravy:

  • 50 ml cooking oil
  • 2 ltr (or 4 cans 450ml) coconut water (or 1/2 coconut water, 1/2 fresh milk)
  • 100 gr chopped onion
  • 50 gr chopped shallots
  • 30 gr chopped garlic
  • 50 gr Fresh red hot chili, seedless, chopped
  • 50 gr curry powder (meat curry powder)
  • cornstarch for thickener
  • Chicken meat: bone/boneless or meat balls (xíu mại) (*) (see recipe below) or both
  • seasoning: salt, pepper, sugar, or chicken booster

For serving:

  • Fresh herbs (vietnamese basil, perilla, mint …), chili slices, shredded lettuce and mung bean sprouts
  • Condiments: Lime wedges, chili salt, chili sauce, dried chili flake


Making BANH TAM (rice noodle):

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the rice flour, (tapioca starch if in option) and salt with 1 cup boiling hot water (or coconut milk). Knead well until dough is soft and non-sticky. Cover and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes to reduce the strong flour smell. Then sprinkle some flour on the working surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a thickness of 0.3cm. Cut into thin strips.
  2. In the boiling water (put some oil, salt), cook the noodle a couble minutes or when they are floating. Take them out, make sure they are not stuck together. And served with curry gravy below.

Making curry gravy:

  1. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a mixing bowl, mix the chicken with curry powder and each half of onion, garlic, shallot, chili, and seasoning, let standing about 15 to 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the pot on medium heat, add oil, saute remaining onion, garlic, shallot, chili a few minutes, when they are soft, add marinated chicken and continuous stirring about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add in coconut water (and milk – optional), turn up the high heat to boiling point, down the heat to simmering until the chicken tender as desired
  4. Add in meat balls and cook about 5 minutes or just cooked thoroughly
  5. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch with some water in a small bowl, slowly add in curry gravy, to thicken as desired.
  6. Adjust seasoning to taste


  1. Put BANH TẰM (rice noodle) on serving plate
  2. Ladle the very hot gravy and meat just enough to cover noodle (See picture)
  3. Garnishing with bean sprouts and fresh herbs, shredded lettuce some sliced chili
  4. Serve with condiments


RECIPE for Meat balls (Called: XÍU MẠI):

  • 500 gr pork minced
  • 50 gr minced onion (or shallot)
  • 30 gr minced garlic
  • 100 gr finely chopped jacama
  • 1 egg
  • Seasoning: salt, pepper
  • Bean curd skin (Called: Tàu Hủ Ky, or TOFU SKIN)

In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients excepting bean curd skin. Using your hand, beat the mixture until well combined.

Make a small meatball (size like lime fruit), then wrapped with bean curd skin (you cut the bean curd skin into the size enough just wrap over the meatball)

Cook the meat balls as recipe above.

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Post Author: dvd

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