(Cinet)- Banh Tet (round glutinous rice cake) is a traditional cake enjoyed by southern Vietnamese people on the occasion of the lunar New Year. It is considered a variant of Banh Chung (square glutinous rice cake), which is more popular in the northern region.
The Tet cake is cylindrical, made with sticky rice and filled with pork fat and beans seasoned with black pepper and shallots. The cake is wrapped in banana leaves and as a result, the sticky rice takes on a pale green color and a slightly leafy taste. Even though the cake is available all year, it is still considered a New Year treat.
Tet cake is served with pickled scallions, vegetable pickles and fish sauce. After cooking, the banana leaves are removed and the cake is sliced into wheel-shaped servings. The cake may also be sliced and fried to a delicious chewy crispness.
To prevent the banana leaf from coming apart during cooking, Tet cake is usually wrapped again several times with a length of plastic ribbon before steaming.
Local people of different regions can create ingredients to make perfect Tet cakes for themselves. Can Tho is famous for its unique Banh Tet La Cam- – violet glutinous rice cake.
This version of Tet cake has a lovely purple colour because the sticky rice is soaked in purple water extracted from the leaves of a magenta plant. Inside of the cake there are tasty ingredients such as beans, pork fat, dried shrimps and salted egg yolks. All are tightly wrapped in banana leaves and cooked for hours.
The process of making Tet cake is time consuming, thus providing an opportunity for family members to bond and come together to celebrate the holiday spirit.
Presently, Tet cakes have become popular with people in other regions as they are sold on the market shelves in many localities across the country.