Banh Nuong – Traditional Vietnamese Baked Moon cake

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 17:32:01

You're listening to Food Delight, the show for all you foodish out there

A: Hello and welcome to VOV 24/7’s Food Delight. We’re A and B. We’re excited to share with you some cooking tips on today’s program.
B: Hello, everybody. Hello, A. Full Moon Night is just around the corner, and everybody seems eager to welcome this special moment. The smallest alley is filled with the activity and color. 
A: True. The Mid-autumn Festival is one of Vietnam’s most important festivals. It’s an opportunity for people to give thanks to the Moon Genie and show their sincere appreciation of their loved ones. It’s great to have the whole family eating moon cakes together.
B:  What do you think about baking your own moon cakes? Home-made moon cakes show off your cooking skills while ensuring hygiene and food safety.
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The Mid-autumn Festival is an opportunity for people to give thanks to the Moon Genie and show their sincere appreciation of their loved ones (Source: Viendinhduong.vn)
A: That’s right. And here’s some good news for you. Do you remember chef Nguyen Duc Thinh, who taught us how to make snow skin moon cakes last week? He’s back today to share with us some tips on making traditional moon cakes.
B: I love it. Let’s start with the flour used for baking moon cakes. “Traditional baked moon cakes and snow skin moon cakes use two totally different kinds of flour. For snow skin moon cakes, glutinous rice is carefully roasted and ground.  Traditional baked moon cakes are made with wheat flour, with very low protein content, between 8% and 10%, which is suitable for soft-textured cakes.”
A: Wow. Now I know why my baked moon cake crusts are not so good. I always use multi-purpose flour with a higher protein content. B, did you know that besides high-quality flour, golden syrup is also a staple ingredient, which determines the success of the crust.
B: I know. Golden syrup, also called inverted sugar syrup, has a thicker texture and a richer aroma than regular syrup. Let’s hear Thinh explain it futher. “Golden Syrup, which takes some skill to prepare, is an essential ingredient of traditional baked moon cakes. Cooking the golden syrup is exacting. Many factors need to be kept in mind, especially timing and temperature. You should start making the syrup at least 2 months or even 1 year in advance. The longer the syrup matures, the more fragrance and flavor it has. The honey- flavored syrup, which is rich and fruity, helps maintain moist and texture, so the cake can easily be formed into delicate shapes.”
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The caked moon cakes' fillings are diverse (Source: Lambanhtrungthu.com)
A: The golden, high-quality syrup determines the tenderness and color of the cake, and makes the pastry of traditional moon cakes unique and fragrant.  
B: And there is another very important ingredient, which is often called “the soul” of the cake, or “the moon” of the cake. Can you guess what it is?
A:  Oh, sure. It’s definitely the salted eggs. The luscious yolk slowly melts in your mouth with the first bite and leaves a fragrant taste. How amazingly sweet! So, Thinh, do you have any tips for making the salted eggs? “In the past, salted eggs were often prepared 2 or 3 months before the Moon Festival. There are many ways to salt the eggs, ranging from storing them in a clay-salt mixture to curing them in a salt-water solution.  Nowadays, people add cinnamon sticks, star anises, and ginger to the solution to give the eggs a briny aroma and a bright orange-red color. After 20-30 days in the brine, the egg yolks have solidified beautifully and can be used to make the cake filling.” 
A: Well, I must confess that the salted egg is the most attractive part of the cake. When I was a little girl I used to fight with my younger sisters for the salted egg yolk. 
B: Me, too. Seriously, I love the egg yolks so much, and always ask for more because it is so yummy. 
A: Well, I think I will definitely bake some moon cakes this year as they’re so attractive and gorgeous. And I know that Thinh still has more tips. Let’s listen.“Some people can’t distinguish between the fillings used in snow skin moon cakes and the baked moon cakes. The filling for the baked moon cakes should be stir-fried before being molded to bring out the flavor of lime leaves and dried meats. The baked moon cakes are very flaky and crumbly right after baking, so you need to let them rest at least 2-3 days until the texture becomes soft and color the slightly yellow. The expiration date of the cake depends on the baker’s skills in cooking the golden syrup. ”
A: The Moon Festival is a special time when all members of the family sit around a tray of moon cakes and enjoy the best weather of the year. 
B: The city is transformed into a magical land of flickering candles, multi-colored lanterns, and lively gatherings. And the baked moon cakes provide a focal point that brings everyone together. We hope you have success will your cakes and you have a happy Mid-Autumn Festival. For now, goodbye. We will catch you next time on VOV 24/7’s Food Delight.