A good dish for cold days in Vietnam, “bánh gối” intrigues guests at first sight for its pretty baby pillow shape and its colorful sauce. Like most cakes in Vietnam, bánh gối is not baked but deep fried to create a charming yellow pastry skin, crispy and fragrant. Firstly, water and rice flour are mixed to perfect ratio, making soft and moist dough. Next, glass noodle, wood ears, kohlrabi and mushroom, all tendered and finely chopped, are blended with minced pork and seasonings; this is an easy recipe for a flavorful filling. It is more interesting with the design task: add the filling in the middle of the round pastry skin, fold the skin into a half-circle and then skillfully stick the edges together to make the pillow pattern. Finally, drop the puffs into heated oil until their skins turn golden and crispy. Not less important is making dipping sauce with fine proportion of garlic, chili, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and water. The sweet salty cake is also served with some fresh herbs such as lettuce, coriander to reduce its oily taste and raise guests’ appetite.
Lý Quốc Sư, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội