Introducing traditional to new wave.
Anyone get the New Wave thing? Lol, this might be before your time, but when I was a kid New Wave was the hype. Big hair, Paris by Night and some good ‘ol Lynda Trang Đài. I’ll never forget when she came to my house. For all my non-Viet folks, Lynda was our Vietnamese Madonna. I actually dressed up like her a couple of years ago for an 80’s party.
My Dad was a big singer back in the day and I had Lynda at my house often. I’ll never forget watching Paris By Night and then seeing her show up at my house. She had the sexy voice that was covered in a scarf so she didn’t have to talk very loud before performing in Canada. Now fast forward 30 years later, I’m all grown up with kids to feed.
Xin mời ăn.
I realized I have gotten away from the Motherland food. So worried about food allergies and giving them all the foods that other kids have, I might have lost sight of some important stuff. Like when you sit at the table and the importance of xin mời ăn.
Xin mời ăn:
Offering your elders the opportunity to eat, paying respect, remembering and respecting the work that it took to have food at the table.
I’ve learned to take more time and be more present, but I also needed to remember to teach my kids the beautiful traditions of the Vietnamese culture. If I don’t, they’ll be lost with me on why, what and how we politely sit at the table and acknowledge the elders before us.
I decided to inundate them with all the Vietnamese things that I love and the things that I feel like they should know. So on this spree I went. Cooking everything that I could think of with a flair that I have for gluten free and vegan options. There is so much great food that I haven’t introduced to them yet.
Cơm gia đình, translation family style meals. I’ve made everything from pho, to canh (soup), banh bao… hahaha get it. Bao? Anyways, this little pastry that I’m about to make is one that I grew up eating with sweet mung bean. I didn’t even realize that I could do a savory version until I saw some pictures on IG. Mind blown.. So off to work I went.
Street Food with resemblance to Dim Sum.
These remind me of the dumplings you see at Dim Sum, 鹹水角 (Ham Sui Gok), that are usually filled with meat and gooey mushroom stuff. Super yummy, but more than likely laced with gluten from the soy sauce and oyster sauce.
This is a similar outer shell to that pastry. The difference being that this one has a doctored up vegan Vietnamese filling. These are considered street food. Common names are bánh cam or bánh rán. In Northern Vietnam, it’s called bánh rán and in southern Vietnam, it’s called bánh cam. Normally its made with meat or a sweet mung bean filling, but chay means vegetarian. Bánh rán nhân chay, is essentially a fried Vietnamese vegetable doughnut/pastry.
My take on this street food.
You can skip some of the ingredients, but you’ll come to find that they’re all their for a reason. The potato is their to absorb liquid, shiitake mushrooms give it a nice meaty feel, woodear mushroom to give it a nice bite, and the remaining ingredients for the texture that makes you feel like you’re eating something with substance. The geek in me wants it to be Disneyland in your mouth, so hopefully you’ll give it a try and realize how great all of these are when they come together.
There’s a couple of different options for frying. Read through before you get started so that you have the best opportunity for success. Also the filling can be used as a vegan option for Chả giò aka egg rolls with a few additions or as is.
Make sure to use parchment paper to separate them or they’ll stick together. The trick, water is your friend, use just enough to keep it pliable. And if you make it please let me know! #takeabao #madluckymama
I’d love to see your art! Happy Eating.
Much Love and xin mời ăn,
Bánh rán nhân chay is a Vietnamese Crunchy, chewy, glutinous rice ball filled with vegetables and a texture similar to that of a nice hearty, meaty eggroll. Except its all gluten-free and vegan!
For the dough:
- 50 grams white rice flour
- 250 grams glutinous rice flour
- 60 grams potato starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 40 grams sugar
- 5 grams salt
- 260 ml hot water (starting with 160 ml and add more accordingly)
For the filling:
- 1 14 oz package of tofu
- 1 small sweet potato grated
- 2 medium size carrots
- 1 small onion chopped
- 4–5 shiitake mushrooms reconstituted or preferably fresh
- 1 bundle of bean thread noodles
- 4–5 wood ear mushrooms aka black fungus
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon amino acid + 1 teaspoon
- 1/4 head of cabbage shredded
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
Making the Dough:
- The end result of the dough is to make it pliable like playdoh. Not so wet where it sticks to your fingers, not so dry that it crumbles when you knead it.
- Take all the dry ingredients and combine. Make a small well and add half the hot water. Approximately 160 ml. Stir and continue to add the remaining water slowly until the desired consistency is reached.
- Once the dough moves easily, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for a minimum of an hour and if possible overnight.
Making the filling:
- Soak bean thread noodles, wood ear mushrooms, and shiitakes (if using dehydrated) and set aside.
- Sprinkle salt over cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and set aside.
- Cut the bean thread noodles into 3 inch pieces and julienne or dice up the wood ear and shiitake mushrooms.
- Set the bean thread and wood ear mushrooms in a bowl.
- Heat a frying pan to medium and add chopped shiitakes and onions. Add 1 teaspoon of amino acids or tamari and stir fry for 3-5 minutes.
- Take all the vegetables and squeeze out excess liquid. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl for the filling and add aminos, garlic, pepper and cornstarch. Divide into 12-2 ounce balls.. Their might be extra filling, reserve the rest for later use. Cover the balls tightly with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Assembling the bánh:
Have a small bowl of hot water ready. If the dough gets too dry and crumbly, having the water will help bring out the tackiness to help make it pliable to make the balls. It will also help with making the balls seamless when pulling it together.
- Divide the dough into 10-12 pieces.
- Take one ball of dough at a time and keeping the remaining pieces covered at all times. Flatten it out with a tortilla press or using a rolling pin. Hold the flat dough in your hand and add the ball into the center of the dough as shown.
- Press the ball so it gets squished in like a little football and seal the center. You’ll more than likely have to take your thumb to push the filling into the dough so you can seal the center. Bring the ends towards the center and push the sides together. Use a little bit of water if needed to make it seamless. Repeat for the remaining balls.
So real talk here, don’t fry these at high. You just did a ton of work and the last thing I want to hear about is how it exploded in the frying process because the heat was too high!!!! This is slow and easy frying. A couple of options to help you achieve results for you and yours.
Easy test for oil temperature if you don’t have a thermometer is to place wooden chopsticks in the oil. It should bubble around evenly. If it’s explosive or going crazy, it’s way too hot. You want your oil between 300-325 degrees.
There’s a couple ways of doing this:
- The first way is to allow the balls to fry at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes and then increase the heat to 325 degrees and fry until golden brown for another 5-8 minutes.
- The second way is a par fry. You could par fry the balls initially for 8-10 minutes. Pull it out to dry on a rack and then stick it in the fridge to continue frying when you’re ready to eat. I mean, seriously its only me and 2 kids so how anyone finishes 12 of them is hard to fathom. Lol.
- It will last for several days like this and once you hit the second fry, you can be fancy and stick it in the air fryer for 10-15 minutes at 325 OR you could just fry it in oil again for an additional 10 minutes at 325.
I’ve done all of these with great results.
Serve with aminos and Tương Ớt Tỏi (Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce)
* There should be no cracks, gaps, or space between the filling and the dough.
*Keep hot water nearby when forming the dough.