Aunty Five’s Rice Cake with Egg and Soy

Bánh Bột Chiên Mợ Năm

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4-6

    as a Snack

Appears in

The Songs of Sapa

By Luke Nguyen

Published 2009

  • About

IT’S 6 P.M., I’M HUNGRY AND I JUST NEED A LITTLE SNACK BEFORE DINNER. I APPROACH A STREET VENDOR STANDING IN FRONT OF A BLACKENED ROUND HOTPLATE. I TAKE A STOOL AND HE PREPARES ME A SMALL SERVE – IT IS CRISP BUT CHEWY, SOFT AND TASTY, AND REMINDS ME OF AUNTY FIVE’S RICE CAKES. HE TELLS ME THE BATTER IS JUST TAPIOCA FLOUR AND WATER, BUT THIS IS THE KIND OF RECIPE THAT FAMILIES LIKE TO KEEP SECRET, SO I CALLED AUNTY FIVE AND ASKED HER.

WHEAT STARCH IS WHEAT FLOUR WITHOUT THE PROTEIN, GLUTEN; HENCE IT IS ALSO KNOWN AS NONGLUTINOUS FLOUR. I USE WHEAT STARCH HERE AS IT GIVES A MORE BOUNCY TEXTURE TO THE CAKE. BUY WHEAT STARCH FROM YOUR ASIAN STORE, IN THE FLOUR SECTION.

Ingredients

Batter

  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) rice flour
  • 125 g ( oz/1 cup) wheat starch
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) garlic oil
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons thinly sliced spring onion (scallion)
  • 4 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons Asian red rice vinegar

Method

To make the batter, combine the rice flour, wheat starch and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) of water, mixing until the salt has dissolved and a smooth batter forms.

Coat a 22 cm ( inch) square, 3.5 cm ( inch) deep baking tin with some of the garlic oil. Set aside.

Heat a saucepan over low heat and add the batter, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes glue-like in texture, then remove from the heat. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and press firmly down onto the batter, spreading it out evenly and tightly into the tin. Transfer the tin to a large steamer and steam over high heat for 15 minutes. Remove the tin from the steamer and let it cool. Once cooled, remove the rice cake from the tin and slice into 2 cm (¾ inch) bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Mix the light and dark soy sauces together in a bowl. Divide the rice cakes and the beaten eggs into two batches, as you will need to cook the cakes in two lots.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and half the crushed garlic to the pan, then transfer the first batch of rice cakes to the pan, spreading them out evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce mixture and fry for 4 minutes on each side, or until brown and slightly crisp. Add half the spring onion and pour over half of the eggs; the egg will trickle onto the base of the pan, between the cakes, and cook. Cook for 1 minute, then turn the rice cakes over, cutting through the egg to turn, and sizzle for a further minute. Remove from the pan to a warmed plate, cover loosely with foil and keep warm.

Wipe the pan clean, and return the pan to the heat again. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients. Transfer all the cooked rice cakes to a serving platter. Garnish with ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and crushed peanuts, and drizzle with red rice vinegar.