Each country often has its own unique foods. Fiddler cake or Banh Cay is a speciality of Thai Binh province. It is sweet and crispy with a hint of spiciness due to the ingredients used. Some of the ingredients used to make fiddler cake are glutinous rice, sesame, coconut, Gac fruit, pig fat, ginger, and carrots. These ingredients contribute to the fragrant and distinctive flavour of the cake.
The mixture is roasted and ground which is then put into a square mould. Besides Gac fruit, beet juices and gardenia flower are used to give colour to the cake. The colour is mixture of pink, white, yellow, and orange which resembles the egg of còn cây, a small crab in northern Vietnam. This is how the name of Banh Cay came to be.
Fiddler cake is often made during a holiday. This special cake is best enjoyed with hot green tea during cold weather as the combination of hot and spicy makes people feel warm and refreshed.
The process of making this cake is quite complicated and has many stages. The ingredients need to be prepared a month before the cooking process. However, do not let it deter you from trying to make this delicious traditional cake.
- Lard that has been marinated for 15 days (300g lard with 300g sugar and 50g salt)
- 1 Gac fruit
- 50ml of beet juice
- 1 kg of glutinous rice (soaked overnight)
- 100g of sesame seeds (roasted)
- 200g of peanuts (roasted)
- 1 small ginger bulb (crushed)
- 2 tangerine peels
- 1 carrot (small diced)
- 200ml of cooking oil
- Dice the marinated lard and stir fry with two tablespoons of sugar until crispy.
- Mix about 1 tablespoon sugar and crushed ginger in 50ml water. Stir them well.
- Using the frying pan, fry the carrots, tangerine peels with the sugar-ginger mixture until the carrots cooked. Then, turn off the heat.
- Next, divide the glutinous rice into two parts. The first part is cooked with Gac fruit, and the other part is cooked with beet juice.
- In a large frying pan, heat cooking oil on medium heat and put all the ingredients into the pan. Fry them together until they are crispy and fragrant. Add sugar according to preferences.
- Then, pour the mixture into a special square mould and compressed until it hardens. Once they have cooled down, remove the cake from the mould and roll it on roasted sesame seeds.
- Enjoy the cake with hot tea!