BÁNH KHÚC, is also called XÔI KHÚC or XÔI CÚC, is a kind of cake originated from the northern delta of Vietnam, made from the leaves of RAU KHÚC (Gnaphalium affine), sticky rice, mung beans and pork belly. Cakes are usually made in season of RAU KHÚC – the occasion of February, March of lunar calendar.
In Hanoi, BÁNH KHÚC are often offered for sale in the evenings, and the sellers (usually man/boys) put their tray of cake on their heads and walk along the streets and advertise “Xôi nóng bánh khúc đê, xôi nóng bánh khúc nào…!” (hot sticky rice, Bánh khúc are here…!) or “Ai bánh khúc nóng đây!” (anybody want hot BÁNH khúc…!) and many different ways of proclaiming with a very distinctive tone became characteristic of the Hanoi people.
- 200 gr sticky rice flour
- 100 gr rice flour
- 500 gr sticky rice
- Seasonings: salt, cooking oil
- 1 kg RAU KHÚC (substitute: collard greens or spinach)
- 200 gr mung beans, skinless
- 180 gr pork belly, small dices
- 30 gr Spring onion, sliced thinly (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped Shallots
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper to taste, sugar to taste, 1 tbsp fish sauce
- Sticky rice: wash and soak in water overnight or 6 to 7 hours. Let water is drained off, set aside.
- Mung beans: wash and soak in water with a little salt overnight or a couple hour. Steam the mung beans with a little salt and peppercorn powder until cooked. Mash the cooked mung beans coarsely, then set aside.
- Pork belly: Marinate the pork belly dices with chopped shallot, peppercorn powder, 1 tbsp fish sauce, about 30 minutes.
- In sauteing pan, on medium heat, put 1 tbsp cooking oil, sweat 1 tbsp chopped shallot, add marinated pork belly and saute until cooked, adjust seasoning to taste. Turn off the heat.
- In a mixing bowl: mix cooked mung bean and cooked pork belly to well combination. Divide and make into small balls (about 30 gr/each or bing-bong size).
- For Outer:
- Rau khúc: wash and chop into small pieces then put into blender along with some water (about 200 ml), blend until smooth, strain through a sieve to get about 200 ml rau khúc juice, discard the solid.
- In a mixing bowl: put rice flour, sticky rice flour, 1 tbsp cooking oil and RAU KHÚC juice. Use your hand to knead the dough until it is not sticky on your fingers.
- Divide the dough and make into small balls (a little bigger than mung bean balls)
- Making cake: roll out and flatten the dough ball by hands, put the mung bean ball in the middle, then fold and seal up to become a ball (like a globe). Do the same process until finishing.
- Use a food steamer with banana leaves underneath, put 1/2 sticky rice (250 gr) and spread equally.
- Arrange the balls on it, then cover them with 1/2 remaining sticky rice (250 gr).
- Steam about 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked well.
- Bánh khúc can be served when it is hot, warm or room temperature as BREAKFAST or snack.
Note: Spinach or collard greens can be substituted to get green color, but the taste is not real like it is.