Using Herbs and Spices

Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Appetizers)

Pork Pate in Banana Leaf Recipe

(Cha Lua)

Having adopted freshly baked baguettes from the French, the Vietnamese also learned how to make pate to put on them. However, the pate, cha lua, has a Vietnamese twist : it is steamed in banana leaves and has a slightly springy texture and delicate flavor. Baguettes are a common sight alongside the noodles and vegetables in southern markets, and just as frequently spotted are the sandwich carts, displaying halved baguettes smeared with pate. Another way the Vietnamese eat this pate is to drizzle it with nuoc cham and serve it with a salad. It can also be added to soups and stir fried dishes, in which it is complemented by fresh herbs and spices.

Ingredients : Serves 6

45 ml

30 ml

15 ml

10 ml

2

2 cloves

750 g

25 g

7.5 ml

1

1 tablespoon

1/2 teaspoon

1/2 teaspoon

Nuoc mam

Vegetable or sesame oil

Sugar

Five-spice powder

Shallots, peeled and finely chopped

Garlic, crushed

Minced (ground) pork

Potato starch

Baking powder

Banana leaf, trimmed into a strip 25cm/10in wide

Vegetable oil, for brushing

Salt

Ground black pepper

Method :
  • In a bowl, beat the nuoc mam and oil with the sugar and five-spice powder.

  • Once the sugar has dissolved, stir in the shallots and garlic. Add the minced pork and seasoning, and knead well until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill for 2-3 hours.

  • Knead the mixture again, thumping it down into the bowl to remove any air. Add the potato starch and baking powder and knead until smooth and pasty. Mould the pork mixture into a fat sausage, about 18cm long, and place it on an oiled dish.

  • Lay the banana leaf on a flat surface, brush it with oil, and place the pork sausage across it. Lift up the edge of the leaf nearest to you and fold it over the sausage, tuck in the sides, and roll it up into a tight bundle. Secure the bundle with a piece of string.

  • Fill a wok one-third full with water and balance a bamboo steamer, with its lid on, just above the level of the water. Bring the water to the boil, lift the bamboo lid and place the banana leaf bundle on the rack, being very careful of any escaping steam.

  • Recover and steam for about 45 minutes. Leave the pate to cool in the leaf, then open it up and cut it into slices.

  • Drizzle with plenty of nuoc cham, and serve with a fresh baguette or salad.

Tips :

You can find banana leaves in African, Caribbean and Asian markets. To prepare them, trim the leaves to fit the steamer, using a pair of scissors, making sure that there is enough to fold over the pate. If you cannot find banana leaves, you can use large spring green (collard) leaves, or several Savoy cabbaged leaves instead.

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