Fried Bánh Chưng

Ingredients

Left-over bánh chưng or bánh tét; light cooking oil.

Equipment

A nonstick pan; a cast iron grill press or a brick wrapped in heavy aluminum foil.

Notes

This recipe works better with bánh tét, as the log shape can be readily cut into slices of the desired thickness, each with the right ratio of glutinous rice and fillings. If the cake is already at room temperature, a string of waxed dental floss will slice smoothly through the glutinous rice. Refrigerated cakes can be sliced with a sharp knife.

Fried bánh chưng and bánh tét go well with pickled shallots (củ kiệu) and a sip of beer.

Steps

  1. Cut the bánh chưng or bánh tét into slices ¾-inch to 1-inch thick.
  2. Grease the nonstick pan with a few drops of frying oil.
  3. Set the stove burner to between medium and medium-high (a 6 on a 1-10 scale) and pre-heat the pan.
  4. Put the slices in the pan and let them sizzle for 2-3 minutes (long enough to go fetch a bottle of beer and frost a beer glass).
  5. Flip the slices over. Put the cast iron grill press or brick over each slice, press down, gently rocking back and forth as the cake starts to yield (this gentle rocking cannot be done if there were angry puddles of oil in the pan).
  6. Flip and flatten a few more times until the slices are crisp enough.