Vietnamese Mooncakes – Banh Nuong Banh Deo

Vietnamese mooncakes are known as banh trung thu – “Mid-Autumn cake”. Vietnamese mooncakes are usually sold in either individually or in a set of four. There are two kinds of mooncake: “Bánh nướng” (baked mooncake) and “Bánh dẻo” (sticky rice mooncake).

“Bánh nướng” and “Bánh dẻo” are two special kinds of cake in Vietnam. They are widely popular and are sold year-round. Vietnamese Mooncakes are often in the shape of a circle (10 cm in diameter) or a square (a length of about 7–8 cm), and 4–5 cm thick. Larger sizes are not uncommon. Their designs largely resemble that of their Chinese counterpart, though some other images, such as the sow with cub, fish, shrimp, etc. can also be found.

Banh nuong represents both the sun and the vital energy of yang. Most people, however, care less about the cake’s meaning and more about its taste. With a crust made of sticky rice flour, this cake is stuffed with salty eggs, chicken, Chinese sausage, and lotus seeds.

Baked mooncake is made from wheat flour, cooking oil, and simple syrup boiled with malt. After being filled with various combinations of salted egg yolk, dried sausage, mung bean paste, salt, sugar, cooking oil, sugared pig fat, lotus seed, watermelon seed, it will be brushed with egg wash, then baked in the oven. The egg wash will protect the crust of the cake from drying out and create the aroma of the cake. The cakes have to be rotated constantly in the oven to prevent burning.

Banh deo represents the vital energy yin, was traditionally served with banh nuong thap cam. With a round shape, this soft, white cake is said to resemble the sky or the moon. Sticky rice powder is mixed with sugar and wrapped around a filling of lotus seeds, green bean powder and salty eggs.

Sticky rice mooncake is easier to make than “Bánh nướng”. The crust and filling are pre-cooked. The crust is made from roasted glutinous rice flour, pomelo blossom water or vanilla and simple syrup. After malaxating rice flour, fillings similar to that of baked mooncake is stuffed inside the crust and then the cake is put into the mold dust with a thin layer of flour to prevent sticking to fingers. The cake can be used immediately without any further steps.

Today, these cakes are molded into various festive shapes, usually animals. “Bánh dẻo” is not as popular as “Bánh nướng”, however.

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