Happy New Year!
The story behind Banh Day:
Legend has it that the ancient King, King Hung Vuong was growing old and wanted to find a successor to the throne. Not knowing which one of his three sons to choose he decided to challenge them. Each of them were to provide a dish of food that they would serve to him at the end of the Lunar Month, and based on that dish they would be come the ruler of the Kingdom. The first brother offered a fish dressed in sweet chilli and expensive lotus seeds. The second offered a boar dressed in mushrooms and rare wild fern sauce. The third prince opened his basket to reveal simple plain rice cakes:
"Rice is the most precious and valuable of all food found in this Kingdom, yet it is also the most abundant. I have prepared a dish that represents my love for you and our beautiful Vietnam. I have cooked it thoroughly then molded it into a round rice cake, and called it Banh Day as it symbolizes the sky we live under. I have cooked a square rice cake, stuffed it with cooked bean paste and ground meat in the middle and called it Banh Chung. This will symbolize the earth we live on."
Realizing that he was the wisest one of the three, the third prince became the successor to the throne. The recipes were passed to all the people of the Kingdom and are traditionally given to family and friends in celebration of the new year. The following Banh Day recipe I pass on to you as we celebrate! Happy Tet!
For a more detailed version of the tet story and my resource:
I believe this is not exactly the traditionally way of making them. The traditional way requires that you break up Glutinous rice. Here is a quick simple recipe:
1 16 oz bag of Glutinous rice
2 tablespoons of Rice flour
2 tablespoons of Oil (Don't use olive oil)
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of milk
Banana Leaves (1 sheet)
Microwave the milk for one minute. Just so that it's at room temp not boiling. Mix all the ingredients in together. If it is too hard then add some water. Take some mixture it should be about a size of a small lemon. Take it and flatten it a bit. Dip your hand into some oil and rub it on the side and place on a small piece of plastic wrap. Place the pieces in a steamer. Steam for 10 minutes. You can also cut little squares out of banana leaves. Remove plastic wrap and place the Banh Day on the leaf. Traditionally this is eaten w/ Vietnamese Ham.