Crystal Dumplings With Pork and Shrimp in Banana Leaves: Banh Bot Loc

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I’ve been thinking about the treats I remembered eating when I was a kid, and I recalled family functions with trays of banh bot loc wrapped in banana leaves. These chewy, sweet, and savory tapioca flour based dumplings are fragrant and delicious for lunch or even breakfast.

While the filling traditionally contains pork belly and shell on shrimp, I prefer to use minced pork loin and shrimp. Served with Nuoc Mam, banh bot loc is a lot of fun for your next party or for a dinner with friends. Its transparent dough wrapped in the bright green banana leaf makes for a very pretty presentation, and its bouncy texture combined with the rich flavors of the filling make for a layered and satisfying bite.

Enjoy! Music provided by Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178.

Lily’s Savory and Geometrically Delicious Banh Gio!

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For Lily, many of these recipes bring back memories of eating after school meals with her grandmother. Nothing brings back more memories for her than Banh Gio.

This cone shaped savory rice dumpling filled with pork, onions, and wood ear mushrooms was something that Lily ate often when she was a little kid. The smell of them steaming was always a welcoming one when she got off of the school bus and entered her grandmother’s home.

Banh Gio is quite simple to make! The rolling and filling technique is a little tricky, but Lily will show you how to do it!

Once steamed, Banh Gio can be eaten plain or with a drizzle of soy sauce (Lily and Generoso’s preferred way to eat). Enjoy!

Music by Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet no. 2 in D

Lily’s Fabulous Cha Lua (Vietnamese Bologna)

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Have you ever eaten a “House Special” Banh Mi and wondered what was the pale bologna-esque meat filling your delicious sandwich? Well, that’s cha lua!

Lily grew up eating cha regularly in its steamed and fried form, often with a piece of bread on one side of the plate and a huge chunk of cha on the other. This week, she shows you how to make this delicious pork treat!

She’ll show you how to make the pork paste, how to steam it in banana leaves, and how to fry it into golden patties.

Cha is great with a little bit of rice, a piece of bread, or all alone! It keeps in the fridge too, so it is good to have on hand for a quick meal or late night snack (Lily and Generoso actually made small sandwiches while writing this post).

Enjoy!

Music by Gustav Mahler, Songs of A Wayfarer.