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Bánh tẻ (literally "rice cakes" in Vietnamese; also called bánh răng bừa) is a variety of small steamed rice cake in Vietnamese cuisine. It is a traditional variety of bánh from the Red River Delta region of northern Vietnammarker. Bánh tẻ are made of rice flour, wrapped with leaves of some local trees into a long, thin cylindrical shape, and boiled thoroughly.

Bánh tẻ is considered one of the most typical dishes of Hà Tâymarker Province, located near Hanoimarker, although it may also be found in other parts of the country. The flavors and ingredients of bánh tẻ vary from region to region.

Ingredients

Bánh tẻ are made of plain (non-glutinous white rice (called gạo tẻ in Vietnamese), minced pork shoulder, Judas's ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae), onion, salt, pepper. Some variants of bánh tẻ include peanuts and chopped shiitake mushrooms.

Making

In order to make bánh tẻ, rice is first soaked in water until it is soft enough, then it is ground by hand with a stone flour mill to turn rice into a thick or watery mixture of water and rice powder. This mixture is cooked with a temperature above 50 degrees Celsius (but not to boiling temperature) while it is stirred for 3 hours until it looks like glue.

Next, the pork and Job's ear fungus, onion, and shiitake mushrooms are finely minced and mixed together to form the filling. First, a layer of rice glue is put on the leaf, then a layer of stuffing is put on the first layer of rice glue, then the first and last layer of rice glue covers the stuffing. This bánh is covered and the leaves are tied with thread or string into a slender shape.

Finally, the bánh tẻ are placed into a pot of already-boiling water and the pot is covered and kept boiling for 20 minutes, after which the bánh tẻ are taken out and ready to serve.

Serving

Bánh tẻ are served with nước mắm (fish sauce) and sprinkled with black pepper. Unlike some varietes of bánh, which are only prepared seasonally or for particular festivals, bánh tẻ are made all year round.

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