Sunday, January 31, 2021

Vietnamese Mung Bean Cakes for Lunar New Year

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I just finished making these delicious Vietnamese mung bean cakes yesterday. I know Lunar New Year is still 2 weeks away but we won't be home for the next 2 weekends so I am planning ahead of time. These cakes has certainly been a labor of love. Took me 2 days from start to finish. I marinated everything overnight then woke up at 4:00 a.m. the next morning to put everything together. Check out my video demonstration below. I am giving them away to my family and friends today. Hope they'll enjoy them as much as I do. Let me know if you end up making these cakes. I'd love to know.

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For the glutinous (sweet) rice
  • Rinse until the water runs clear (about 10 times). Put in 2 tbs salt and let it sit overnight
  • Drain it completely the next day
  • Add 2 tbs of salt and mix well
For the mung beans:
  • Wash the mung bean until the water is no longer yellow and let it sit overnight
  • Drain it completely the next day
  • Place beans in a large pot, cover with water, add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently until beans are tender (about 15-20 minutes)
  • Set aside to cool down completely
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For the pork belly:
  • Cut each strip into 3 to 4 pieces (about 2.5 - 3")
  • Marinate the pork belly with: 2 tbs fish sauce, 1/2 tbs salt, 1 tbs black pepper, sliced shallot, tbs chicken powder and 1/2 tbs sugar. Let it sit overnight in the fridge.
  • To add extra flavor, slightly sear the meat the next day
  • Set aside to cool down completely.

Making the cakes:
  • My cake mold measure 4" x 4" x 2.5". My husband made it for me last year but you can also find similar ones on Amazon
  • For one cake, you'd need to cut the banana leaves into 6 (4" wide) pieces. The length can the the length of the actual leaf. 4 pieces for the outside and 2 for the inside
  • You also need to cut 4 square pieces (2.5" x 2.5") for the 4 corners
  • Begin to make the cake by adding a 1/3 cup rice. 
  • Smooth out the rice so it covers the bottom completely and evenly
  • Add the mung bean and 2 pieces of the pork belly
  • Add another layer of mung bean 
  • Add another layer of rice and smooth out of the top
  • Tie the cake using the string and you're done!
  • See my video for demonstration. It's hard to explain
Cooking the cakes
  • To save time, I used my beloved 6-qt Instant Pot. I was able to fit 3 cakes comfortably in there
  • Fill the pot with hot water to the max line
  • Use the "Pressure Cooker" setting. Set the time for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Allow to naturally release
  • Carefully remove the cakes from the pot. Let them cool down completely before cutting. That's it! They taste heavenly with the dried pickles. 
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