Banh gio recipe originated as street food that is steamed from Northern Vietnam. It’s a small and savoury snack that is great at any time of day. It’s made by putting rice flour in the outer layer and a ground pork, onion and mushroom fillings, the aroma comes of the wrapper of a banana leaf.
The recipe I’m using and the technique from my mom several years back. There are a lot of steps when making this recipe however it’s fairly simple to follow. This recipe is best prepared in large quantities due to the common use of banana leaf as well as steamers that are large however they are worthy of the time and effort!
Street Food Origins
Banh gio was initially a low-cost street food, therefore it’s not something that restaurant owners can profit from. The origins of these are of Northern Vietnam, and my mom still remembers them just like the other meals from Vietnam that contained tiny amounts of meat. it being a modest but delicious and worth a look forward to.
The variations you’ll see in the States currently reflect our differing food options. Banh gio recipe with these ingredients will have more fillings to the rice proportion, while some contain eggs from quail.
What is Banh Gio Mean?
There’s rarely a straight translation to English of Vietnamese recipes or meals. For instance, it is often described as Steamed dumplings.
When I think of dumplings, I envision ready-to-eat small bite-sized pieces filled with (usually the meat) filling, encased in a type of wrapper. It’s a wrapper that isn’t edible however, it has filling enclosed with a flour paste, rather than a wrapper. It is a good fit. Its meaning means “pork cake” which doesn’t precisely translate into English in a way that is appealing.
A Unique Part Of Vietnamese Cuisine
There are a few Vietnamese dishes that use this type of rice flour paste. Hue’s banh Nam/banh La. They are lighter cakes wrapped and cooked inside banana leaf.
Banh nam is made with tapioca flour rice flour, and no corn starch. The filling is mostly made from shrimp, not pork. Banh beo offers a variation of the same idea.
There are times when you will observe the outer layer wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, to help when cooking. However, if you plan to serve this dish or give it, they’ll look better by leaving the leaf of the banana open.
Some places in the vicinity of Little Saigon in Southern California such as Duc Huong Gio Cha offer this, as well as numerous other Northern dishes. It is available fast take-away places like those of the Banh Mi Che Ca Li chain of shops or at counters in Vietnamese supermarkets.
Banana Leaf Wrappers
The idea is to add flavor and aroma to rice flour and also to make it look appealing. Also, we want to ensure that this dumpling doesn’t fall apart during cooking and doesn’t spill all over the steamer.
This outer layer is banana leaf that varies in the amount, but there are usually variations for the second layer. I usually find people using either aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
The wrapper inside is made from banana leaf, which adds flavor to rice flour, aroma and aesthetic appeal. One layer won’t be enough to hold the dumpling together throughout the cooking process, so add more layers of leaf to strengthen. When I was in Vietnam the only leaves were utilized because they were inexpensive and easily available, however this isn’t the case for us..
For greater stability and stability by using the help of an external layer instead of more leaves, you can make use of aluminum foil as an alternative. Some stores use plastic wrap for their outer layer since it’s also less expensive. However, I do my best to stay clear of heating plastic wrap that comes in contact with food, for reasons of health. Since foil is quite affordable and easy to use, let’s take it.
To prepare your banana leaf, wash them under running water. then dip each one at a time into a pot with boiling or hot water until they soften slightly and then let them drain out of the basket. The boiling process cooks the leaves, which makes it is easier to wrap and it is more likely not to break when cut to the size needed for wrapping.
It is possible to do this ahead of time the day before should you need to, however this is mostly to wash leaf edges and cut the leaf stems/ribs as they can be difficult to fold.
It is the Rice Flour Mixture
In the making of the rice flour mix is fairly easy, but there’s some estimation that you’ll have to make. The image above will show how much consistency you will get from the flour mixture that you desire, but you may be required to alter timings based on the type of pot you’re using and the strength of your stove and temperatures of water you are using as well as other factors.
The main purpose of warming the mixture is to mix all the ingredients, and then par-cook the flour until it attains an amount that is thin enough to be easily spreadable, but also thick enough that it is able to hold the filling and isn’t prone to spilling everywhere as you cover the dumplings.
The more traditional and popular shape of banh gio are pyramids. It takes a amount of time to master, but I believe they appear a bit prettier and more tempting to consume.
Any wrapping shape is good but only in the context of serving or cooking. The pyramid is more complex, but it’s fun for those who are into that making kind of thing. You can make small rectangular pieces (like the ones in the my first image of this article).
There are molds to use for those who need help in achieving an appropriate shape. Here’s a picture of molds that my uncle brought to me from Vietnam. They’re triangular-looking, but not much of an equilateral pyramid. However, there are variants that have a base and without If you’re interested in the idea.
And here’s another look at how they look wrapped with a knife after being steamed, and ready for eating!
Video Example: Wrapping Banh Gio
My mother demonstrates to us a method she uses to wrap a pyramidal-shaped banh gio. This particular example doesn’t use foil as the first step to make the outer layer, but you could use in the event you’d like. It’s important to note that there’s no spoken voice!
One of my aunts is famous for removing the wrap completely and simply put them into safe heat-resistant bowls and place them into the steamer for cooking. There’s no scent of the banana flower however it’s much simpler and works great!
Bánh Giò recipe – Vietnamese pork dumbling
- 1 pounds frozen banana leaves medium-sized (Makes approximately twelve to fourteen banh gio. If you aren't able to get this, you can use foil and be okay.)
- Aluminum foil in sufficient quantities to cover the size and number of banana leaves
- 2 cups of corn starch
- 1 cup rice flour
- 3 tbsp potato starch
- 3 cans of chicken broth ~4.5 cups
- 5 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 1/3 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp monosodium glutamate optional
- 1 medium onion
- 37 grams of dried wood ear mushrooms , about 2 cups when they are hydrated
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 pound ground pork . You can also replace half or all of it with ground chicken
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 0.5 teaspoon monosodium glutamate , optional
PREPARING WRAPPERS (YOU are able to do this A DAILY)
- Defrost the leaves , if they are frozen.
- Clean banana leaves by running water to wash them.
- In small amounts Place them in a pot of hot water for a couple of seconds to make them soft.
- Cut into squares of 12×12 inches according to the size of dumplings you'd like to make, taking out hard parts of the stem, which are difficult to fold.
- Dry out before use.
- Cut matching sheets of foil wrap that have been finished to form pyramids
- Mix all the ingredients in the large pot with non-stick sides.
- Take a break for 30-60 minutes (longer is more beneficial).
- Set the stove on high heat until it comes to the point of boiling, then reduce to medium-high to ensure an extremely low temperature. Once it reaches the initial boil , it should take about 3-6 mins to get thicker. Its time can vary. It should be sufficient thick so that the filling doesn't spill out of it, yet thin enough to allow you to be able to fill the wrappers' corners.
- Shut off the stove and stir the mixture for approximately 3 minutes, to blend the mixture.
- Slice onion, or coarsely chop it in a food processor. Remove.
- Hand chop the mushrooms roughly or using a food processor.
- Place oil in a large skillet on medium-high and cook onions until lightly brown and delicious.
- Add the ground meat to the sauté pan and cook until the meat is cooked slightly all over however, it's not completely cooked. Allow the meat to become soft enough to break and become soft.
- Add the mushrooms and all the remaining ingredients in the pan and sauté until the mushrooms are slightly cooked. When the meat is cooked and is no more white in its middle check the taste and add salt or pepper if necessary and to the taste.
The WRAPPING METHOD
- Start by putting one aluminum foil, then lay one layer of banana leaves on top
- .Begin the folds in the beginning to create the initial place of pyramid (see the picture above)
- Make sure to add a spoonful rice flour mixture, half the amount you'd like in this portion.
- Serve a spoonful of filling into the middle.
- Use a spoonful of the rice flour mixture in order to cover the filling.
- Continue wrapping until you've used up all the ingredients. It is important to divide your rice mixture and fillings for each pyramid into equal portions of 12-14.
- Add 2 gallon of water into an enormous steamer pot.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- All the banh gio ingredients to the rack of the steamer. Cook for approximately 40 minutes.
- Around the 40-minute mark, you can open the oven and test that the mixture of rice and flour to see if it's cooked. If it's clean, you're done. Increase the time of steam when needed. It's hard not to cook this too much.
See more Banh Mi Grilled Pork Belly at home