Coming to Van Ban to enjoy black square glutinous rice cake

Black square glutinous rice cake has long become a familiar dish for the highlanders of Lao Cai, because the cake is filled with the quintessence of local cuisine. With Van Ban's own ingredients, the black square glutinous rice cake of the Tay ethnic group here has also brought a special flavor to diners.

The aroma of glutinous rice combines the richness of green beans with fatty meat, creating an unforgettable taste.

To make delicious and attractive black square glutinous rice cake, bakers must meticulously and skillfully perform many different stages.
The ingredients for making the black square glutinous rice cake are similar to the traditional Vietnamese square glutinous rice cake, but the sticky rice used for making black square glutinous rice cake of Van Ban is Tham Duong sticky rice - The specialty rice of Van Ban district with its special flexibility, whiteness and delicious taste. The characteristic black color of the cake is used by the Tay people here from the nuc nac tree, which is an easy-to-live plant that grows in many places. Tree trunks and branches are classified separately, the Tay people often leave them in the kitchen upstairs to dry, when needed, bring them down. Dong leaves are also collected by local people in the forest. As for the pork to make the filling, it is black pork raised in the village, fragrant, rich in fat, marinated with spices, pepper, and paprika to infuse. In addition, the cake also has green bean paste that is well cooked.
The process of cooking nuc nac tree is quite sophisticated because the stage of burning charcoal and sieving charcoal powder will determine the success of the cake. The trunk and branches of the nuc nac tree will be stripped of its bark, burned into charcoal, pounded as fine as powder, and then whisked many times to make it very smooth. The selected Tham Duong glutinous rice must be the most delicious, the grains are large, round and even, washed thoroughly, and seasoned with a little fine salt. When mixing the nuc nac charcoal powder with the rice, the baker needs to constantly stir until the rice is mixed with the charcoal powder into jet black color. You can test whether the rice has "come to color" or not by squeezing the grain of rice firmly on the tip of your finger, seeing that the rice has been tightly mixed with the charcoal powder into jet black color which is satisfactory.

 Van Ban black square glutinous rice cake has been registered as a trademark.

After taking the dong leaves from the forest, wipe and wash them. If the leaves are large, each cake only needs to be wrapped with one dong leaf. With small leaves, people often use two leaves. When spreading the dong leaves, it should be noted that the green side of the leaf will be the outer surface so that after the cake is cooked, the color of the cake is more beautiful.
Next of the first layer of rice will be two pieces of meat as the filling, then the layer of yellow green bean paste. Finally, adding a layer of rice on top to completely cover the green beans, not letting the green beans open. At the stage of rolling the cake, the person in charge must hold the two sides of the dong leaf to roll it skillfully so that the filling is in the middle, using a string to fix it horizontally and fixing it with a string vertically.
Before boiling, the cake is soaked in cold water once, placed in a pot, filled with water to cover the leaves. Usually, Square glutinous rice cake will be cooked for about 10-12 hours. Because the ash of the nuc nac tree has the effect of eliminating the sour smell and heat of sticky rice, the advantage of black square glutinous rice cake is that it has a longer shelf life than other square glutinous rice cake, which can be stored for 7 to 10 days in winter condition and 3 to 5 days in summer condition.
When enjoying, the diners take the string to wrap around the body of the cake to cut the cake into slices. A "standard" cake when viewed from the outside has a layer of glossy black rice, yellow bean filling, mixed with the attractive color of fatty meat inside. Just looking at it, diners are ecstatic enough and feel like they are mesmerized by highland specialties.

Trieu Van Duong

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