Often I crave my favorite Viet dishes but don’t have the time to make them as per the traditional recipes. This Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake is one of those dishes where the prep time can be a bit daunting. Called Banh Gio, this savory cake is typically individually wrapped in banana leaves in the shape of a pyramid. Although knowing how to wrap these cakes is a skill I think every good cook should master, most days I just want to enjoy the wonderful taste of this dish without the fuss. And so my shortcut is to make just one cake. It’s super simple and super fast and less time cooking means more time eating! 🙂
Quick Tip: If you enjoy the aroma of the banana leaves, line the bowl with the leaves.
Watch the video for instructions.
Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake / Banh Gio
2 Tbsp dried black fungus slivers (also called wood ear mushrooms)
1/2 small onion
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 pound ground chicken (or any ground meat of your choice)
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
non-stick cooking spray
Soak mushrooms in warm water for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Drain, and coarsely chop.
Peel onions and finely dice.
Heat a wok over High heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Stir fry for 5 seconds. Add onions and stir fry for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and ground meat and stir fry for 2 minutes. Use a spoon to break the meat into smaller pieces. Add fish sauce, oyster sauce and ground black pepper and stir fry for another 2 minutes. (We are only partially cooking the meat and so it will still be a bit pink.) Remove from the heat.
Spray non-stick cooking spray inside a 8 inch round glass bowl or baking dish. Smear the oil evenly using a paper towel or pastry brush.
Fill the steamer bottom halfway with water. Add the steamer tray. Cover and bring to a boil over High heat.
In a measuring cup, combine water, cornstarch and rice flour and stir until smooth.
In a saucepan over High heat, bring the chicken broth to a boil, then turn heat to low. Stir the flour/water mixture one more time and then pour into saucepan with the chicken broth. Stir everything together. The mixture starts to thicken in 1-2 minutes. As soon as the dough becomes creamy (but still slightly runny), turn off the heat. Continue stirring quickly as the dough thickens. It should look like a thick pudding when finished. This entire process is fast and takes just 2-3 minutes. If the dough is lumpy, remove from heat and keep stirring and the lumps should disappear.
Spoon half of the dough into the glass dish and spread evenly. Add the meat filling and distribute almost to the edge of the bowl or dish. Add the remaining dough on top and smooth with a spatula.
Place the dish onto the steamer tray and steam for 20 minutes.
Remove the dish from steamer and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve the Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake with the soy sauce dipping sauce and some chili paste.
Yields: 8 inch round cake, 6-8 servings