A Brief Guide to Vietnam's Almost-Lost Dessert
Neither sweet soup (chè) nor sticky rice (xôi), compressed sweet sticky rice (chè xôi nén in Vietnamese) is a unique combination of sticky rice and sweet dessert creating a pleasant and fragrant taste, once you try it, it's hard to forget.
|To make a tasty and delicious compressed sweet sticky rice (chè xôi nén) involves a very complicated process and many stages. @popolulu.vietnam|
In many Asian countries that use rice as a staple, sticky rice or glutinous rice, in the form of grains or flour, has long been used to make sweet treats and desserts, as well as savory main dishes.
Vietnam also has an array of glutinous rice dishes in its cuisine, Sticky rice has become a familiar dish in the daily lives of Vietnamese people, from breakfasts to snacks, and even on solemn occasions such as worship ceremonies and the Lunar New Year. Among them are many sweet sticky rice variations. These are called xôi ngọt to differentiate from xôi mặn, a popular sticky rice street food item with various savory ingredients.
For many people, the name 'Compressed sweet sticky rice' seems quite strange. Currently, this dish is rarely made, if any, it is only sold in some old restaurants. But old generations from the 90s is hard to forget this colorful dish with a sweet taste.
Compressed sweet sticky rice is a type of traditional dish originating from the former imperial capital Hue. It is a snack in Hue, usually serve when the family has a big gathering or during the festival. Diners from long distances coming to Hue can find this dish on Hung Vuong, Nguyen Hue, Phan Boi Chau, Truong Dinh streets.
|Glutinous rice and mung beans after being cooked will be mixed together with coconut milk, put on the stove and stirred continuously without stopping for an hour.|
Like many other types of tea, sticky rice is made from fragrant glutinous rice, mung beans, sugar, roasted sesame seeds, grated coconut. However, it is much more difficult to cook this dish. Sticky rice and mung beans must be carefully selected, soaked in water for many hours, and then treated thoroughly.
Glutinous rice and mung beans after being cooked will be mixed together with coconut milk, put on the stove, and stirred continuously without stopping for an hour.
After that, people will bring the cooked ingredients and pound it on the sticky rice's surface for more than four hours before they're put in molds coated with roasted sesame seeds and compressed until hard. This stage requires time and effort as well as the ingenuity of the novice to create a layer of sticky rice with certain elasticity and adhesion.
Finally, people will cut the sticky rice in a triangle or diamond shape pieces, cover with roasted sesame seeds and finally add a little grated coconut. For an extra eye-catching look, compressed sweet sticky rice is dyed in natural colors with gardenia for a bright yellow hue, pandan leaves for green, camellia leaves for purple, or gấc/gardenia fruit to create the scarlet color.
Much more interesting is discovering significant meanings that colors represent for: green is for Wood, yellow is for Earth, red is for Fire and purple is for Water.
|After the first try, they are definitely charmed by its sticky, sweet and elegant flavour.|
|An eye-catching appearance with vibrant colors. @popolulu.vietnam|
Gấc is a fruit found in Southeast Asia) or gardenia fruit. It is rich in beta-carotene, which gives the spiky fruit a vibrant orange-red color that’s considered lucky in Vietnamese culture.
The aril surrounding the seeds inside the ripe, red fruit is taken out and mixed with uncooked glutinous rice.
The rice grains absorb all of this when cooked, which results in a smooth, shiny reddish appearance.
|Compressed sweet sticky rice is more enjoyable when eaten with a cup of tea. Photo: Facebook Chè Bà Tôi|
The steps are laborious, but compressed sweet sticky rice is enjoyed in an extremely relaxing and elegant way: Take a bite of sticky rice, sip a sip of tea. The tea here is fresh green tea whose taste is clear, acrid, very suitable with the sticky, sweet, and elegant flavor as well as the typical sweet and nutty taste of coconut milk.
Currently, compressed sweet sticky rice is no longer widely sold, but if you have the opportunity, don't forget to enjoy the dessert in the right way to feel the taste of this traditional dish.
|Stir-fried Pho, A Dish Born for Hanoi's Winter Afternoon |
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef or chicken. But its stir-fried version is a delicious dish perfect for Hanoi's chilly afternoon.
|The Weirdest British Dishes |
Britain has some uniquely named dishes that are a must-try for visitors to the UK.
|From Fish Curry to Coconut Relish: Dishes You Should Try in Sri Lanka |
Making liberal use of local fruit, such as coconut and jackfruit, seafood and an arsenal of spices, Sri Lankan cooking delivers an abundance of incredible ...