(Chuc Mung Nam Moi !)
Vietnamese Tet is the most important Vietnamese holiday of the year. Tet celebrates the beginning of the Lunar New Year which usually falls at the end of January or beginning of February. During these festive times, a variety of activities, foods and performances are offered and organized by Montreal's small Vietnamese community, at the Montreal Hippodrome. They often include Vietnamese entertainers/singers, Vietnamese folk dancing, fire crackers, drumming, dragon dancing and martial arts exhibitions. The festivals usually last the weekend of the lunar New Year Day and is both a time for Vietnamese to reaffirm their culture as well as reach out to the surrounding community.
Most importantly, most Vietnameses, like myself, like to attend this event to celebrate the year of the Rat and to gather around the food kiosks to admire the delectables that are specially prepared for this festive event. The organizers who cook for the festival take a few days off because of the lengthy preparation that is required to prepare certain foods. Some of them are well listed and illustrated in Andrea Nguyen's food blog, Viet World Kitchen.
- Banh chung xanh - Sticky rice cake filled with pork and mung bean
- Thit mo - Luxurious fatty meats
- Dua hanh - Pickled shallots
Banh chung xanh (Sticky rice cake filled with pork and mung bean)
The way I like my sticky rice cake is nice and crispy. Even if homemade food is always the best, you can find very good sticky rice cakes in your local asian grocery store, especially during New Year's. So you better hurry up and get some before they all vanish. You just have to know which store or know a Vietnamese who could refer you to a good place. Often, Vietnamese families make these homemade sticky rice cakes in their own kitchens and sell them to friends of friends, and even total strangers.
To make a crispy sticky rice cake galette, I buy my sticky rice cake at a reputable Montreal asian grocery store. I like to leave it at room temperature for about an hour just before frying it so that it's more malleable when trying to shape it like a galette. Once again, it's a fast and easy recipe that will make your mouth water.
Recipe "au pif":
1 sticky rice cake (Banh chung xanh)
3 tbsp of oil (canola or vegetable)
On medium-high heat, heat oil in a large skillet.
Cut the sticky rice cake into wedges (using unflavoured dental floss).
Add in the sticky rice cakes to the hot skillet and gently start mashing, with a large spoon and spatula, the wedges down flat. Continue this process until your sticky rice cake is completely flat like a galette (or pancake). Let it brown for about 6-7 minutes. Flip over with a large spatula, or slide the galette onto a large plate; flip over the skillet over the plate, and flip once more the plate over the skillet so that the galette falls back into the skillet. Let it brown for another 6 minutes.
Serve warm with a dipping sauce made of fish sauce and a few slices of red hot chilis.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Chuc Mung Nam Moi !)