Savory dishes for worshipping tray on “Tet Nguyen Tieu” (first Full Moon of the Year)

On “Tet Nguyen Tieu” (first Full Moon of the Year), Vietnamese people worship their ancestors with savory or vegetarian trays to wish for a year full of prosperity and peace. This article will suggest some dishes for a savory tray.
February 22, 2021 | 10:53
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Tet Nguyen Tieu is celebrated in Hoi An ancient town, Quang Nam province. Photo: Dan Tri

What is Tet Nguyen Tieu?

After the Lunar New Year period, Vietnamese people celebrate Tet Nguyen Tieu, or the first full moon of the month, which is held on the 15th day of the first lunar month. It traditionally marks the end of the Lunar New Year period and is celebrated throughout Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and China. In 2021, Tet Nguyen Tieu falls on February 26.

Despite having its origin in China, Tet Nguyen Tieu in Vietnam brings its own distinctive culture.

In Vietnam, Tet Nguyen Tieu closely sticks to the agricultural practices of Vietnamese farmers for thousands of years. It is before the Full Moon of the first Lunar month that farmers have to work hard to prepare for farming activities of the whole year. On the night of the first full moon, the farmers will burn dried leaves to get rid of harmful pests. After such strenuous tasks, the farmers will sit down and enjoy the beauty of the full moon.

Vietnamese people believe that the first full moon night in the Lunar New Year is the most important full moon of the year. For many people, it marks the return of spring and symbolizes the reunion of the family for those who do not manage to celebrate the Lunar New Year Eve with their family.

Dishes for the savory worshipping tray on Tet Nguyen Tieu

- Boiled chicken

- “Nem ốc” (spring rolls stuffed with snails)

- Banh Chung (Chung cake)

- Dê cuộn nướng mỡ chài (Grilled goat meat rolled in caul fat)

- Raw vegetables

1. Boiled chicken

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Boiled chicken is an indispensable dish on a worshipping tray dedicated to ancestors on Tet Nguyen Tieu as it is believed to bring luck to the family. Photo: Bui Thuy/ via Vnexpress.

Boiled chicken is an indispensable dish on a worshipping tray dedicated to ancestors on Tet Nguyen Tieu as it is believed to bring luck to the family.

Boiled chicken needs to be bright yellow, has shiny skin and sweet flesh. It is noted to choose a medium-sized rooster with a bright red crest, yellow legs, plump breasts, and moderate pores.

After the chicken is cleaned, rub some fresh turmeric on it, then put it in a pot of water, add a little salt, seasoning powder, purple onion, and gingers. When the water is boiling, pour in a small bowl of water to reduce heat (to avoid chicken cracked), then lower the heat to boil for 7-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and soak chicken for 15-25 minutes depending on its size. After that, put the boiled chicken in ice water. If you want a brighter yellow chicken, you can rub a little turmeric fat. You can worship the whole or chopped chicken.

2. “Nem ốc” (spring rolls stuffed with snails)

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With stuffing snails to its filling, you will have strange and delicious spring rolls. Photo: Bui Thuy/ via Vnexpress/

With stuffing snails to its filling, you will have strange and delicious spring rolls.

“Nem ốc” need to have a crispy crust along with the soft and certainly tough filling. In particular, the dish needs to have the fragrance of lolot leaves and lemongrass, two ingredients that make it attractive and distinguished.

When making “Nem ốc”, you need to note the following things:

- Crust: You can add the beer mixture to make the spring rolls crispier and have a beautiful appearance.

- Filling: Snails should be sliced ​​into small pieces so that their characteristic crispness of the snails can be preserved. Add a little bit of fried onion oil and cornstarch to create a more delicious taste.

- The dish should be fried two times so that it can be crispier.

3. “Dê cuộn mỡ chài nướng” (Grilled goat meat rolled in caul fat)

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“Dê cuộn mỡ chài nướng” (Grilled goat meat rolled in caul fat) is a suggested dish for a tray dedicated to ancestors on Tet Nguyen Tieu. Photo: Monngonmoingay.

“Dê cuộn mỡ chài nướng” (Grilled goat meat rolled in caul fat) needs to be medium-cooked, has the softness and sweet flavor.

a/ Ingredients:

- Fresh ground goat meat

- Ground lean shoulder pork

- A little minced goat liver

- Caul fat: Divided into 2 portions (ground one and pieced one to wrap the goat meat)

- Spices to marinate: anise, coriander, chili, lemongrass, pepper, “mẻ” (pickled rice), galangal, garlic, onion, shrimp paste (optional), and roasted sesame.

- Fish sauce, salt, sugar, and seasoning powder.

- Herbs to serve with the dish

b) How to make:

- Grounding galangal, lemongrass, onion, and garlic to get the juice for marinating. The pickled rice should be well filtered.

- Mix goat meat, lean shoulder pork, minced goat liver, and caul fat with seasonings.

- Then, wrapping the caul fat into the marinated goat meat.

- Grill the goat meat rolled in caul fat. The dish is more perfect when dipped in sweet and sour fish sauce or “Bần” soy sauce.

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