Banh khuc or xoi khuc, xoi cuc is a cake originated from the Northern Delta. It is made from Rau khuc, sticky rice, green bean and pork. The cake is sold mainly on February and March on the lunar calendar.
In Hanoi, the local people often enjoy this cake in the evening. The seller with the basket of cakes over the head and his familiar street cries has become a special feature in the capital.
Rau khuc – the ingredient making the soul of the cake
Rau khuc has the science name as Gnaphalium affine D. Don (Gnaphalium multiceps Wall) in the group of Asteraceae. It grows wildly on the fields and the empty lands.
Rau khuc is often collected in the spring. In other season, other types of vegetables are used instead of Rau khuc but the flavor of the cake made from these vegetables is not as good as that nade from Rau khuc.
Rau khuc can be used as food (boiled dish or soup) and as a medicine to cure some diseases. Moreover, Rau khuc is often collected and dried to use all round year so we can enjoy Banh khuc at any time of the year. The dried Rau khuc will be immersed and grinded before being used to make Banh khuc.
How to make it
The main ingredient to create the special flavor for Banh khuc is Rau khuc. The fresh Rau khuc is collected in the early morning, steamed and grinded carefully. Finally, it is mixed with the rice flour to make the outer crust.
The filling is made from green bean which is immersed into water in many hours, steamed and grinded carefully, bacon and a little pepper. After that, the mixture will be molded into a circle like a chicken egg.
Cover the filling with the outer crust. Steam the cake by a big autoclaves as same as the way of cooking sticky rice. Each layer of cake will be added a layer of good sticky rice which is immersed carefully to make cakes not stick together. Another method is wrapping Banh khuc in banana leaf but the first one is more popular than the second one.
It takes about 45 minutes from boiling the water until the cake is well done.
Please visit our website to explore more about Vietnamese cuisine.