How to make Khot cakes

(No.5, Vol.3, June 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

Choose rice with good quality and soak it until it is softened, and then puree it into a slightly thick liquid. Some experienced cooks soak the rice and puree it 12 hours beforehand, so that the flour is not pasty and the cakes will be crisper after being fried. Some cooks mix pinches of ground turmeric to the paste so that the cakes have an attractive yellow colour to the eaters’ eyes.
Select the fresh shrimp (or squid) and of moderate size, and then de-vein and peel off the skin.

Use lard to sauté (not burn) green onion and shallot leaves.
Place the mold onto the stove, use the fried lard with onion and shallot leaves to rub the surface of each indentation of the mold, pour the rice paste into each indentation and then ‘press’ the shrimp at the centre of the cake, cover the mold with a lid and wait for the cakes to be well-cooked. When the cakes are well cooked, the flour layer exposed to the molds is lightly brown and crispy, the top layer is milky and no longer translucent, the shrimp is red and the onion and shallot leaves sticking to the cakes are green.
Use shrimp to make sauce (which can be replaced with common fish sauce) and add spices such as chili, lemon or garlic before dipping the cakes into the sauce and serving.

By Dang Khoa
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In the heart of the darkness of Saigon's backpacker land,ambling along down raucous Bui Vien Street and wishing I had not come out without my ear ...
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