Using Herbs and Spices

Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Rice & Noodles)

Sticky Rice Cakes Filled with Pork and Lotus Seeds Recipe

(Hue Com Sen)

In the old imperial city of Hue, this traditional dish, Hue com sen, is presented like a beautiful woman, dressed in lotus leaf and garnished with a fresh lotus flower. For celebrations over New Year, Tet, there is similar dish called banh chung, which contains mung beans instead of lotus seeds. In southern Vietnam, banana leaves are used to make these parcels, and they make the perfect substitute if you can't find lotus leaves. Banana leaves are available in most Asian markets, and lotus seeds can be found in Chinese stores. Serve the rice cakes with a salad and dipping sauce.

Ingredients : Makes 2 cakes

1 tablespoon

2 cloves

225 g

30 ml

2.5 ml

10 ml

115 g

2

500 g

1/2 teaspoon

Vegetable oil

Garlic, chopped

Lean pork, cut into bite-size chunks

Nuoc cham

Sugar

Ground black pepper

Lotus seeds, soaked for 6 hours and drained

Lotus or banana leaves, trimmed and cut into 25 cm squares

Cooked sticky rice

Salt

Method :
  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the garlic, until it begins to color, then add the pork, nuoc mam, sugar and pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes, or until the pork is tender. Leave to cool.

  • Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the prepared lotus seeds. Allow them to cook for about 10 minutes, or until they are tender, then drain, pat dry and leave to cool.

  • Using your fingers, shred the cooked pork and place beside the lotus seeds. Lay a lotus leaf or banana leaf on a flat surface and place a quarter of the cooked sticky rice in the middle of the leaf. Flatten the centre of the rice mound slightly and then scatter with half the shredded pork and half the lotus seeds.

  • Drizzle some of the cooking juices from the pork over the top. Place another quarter of the rice on top, moulding and patting it with your fingers to make sure the pork and lotus seeds are enclosed like a little cake. Fold the leaf edge nearest to you over the rice, tuck in the sides, and fold the whole packet over to form a tight, square bundle. Tie it with string to secure it and set aside. Repeat with the second leaf and the remaining ingredients.

  • Fill a wok one-third full of water. Place a double-tiered bamboo steamer, with its lid on, on top. Bring the water to the boil, lift the bamboo lid and place a rice cake on the rack in each tier. Cover and steam for about 45 minutes.

  • Carefully open up the parcels and serve with a salad and dipping sauce.

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