28/09/2009 | 15:39:00

Hanoi Steamed Glutinous Rice

No one knows the origin of steamed glutinous rice or “xoi” which often appears on Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, in the wedding party or the ancestor’s death anniversary. However, it is a simple breakfast for Hanoians. This food is pregnant with the warmth of flame, heaven and earth.

There is always a “xeo” and “ngo” steamed sticky rice (cooked with bean and corn) eatery in Lo Su street near the Returned Sword Lake for many years. o¬n Dinh Tien Hoang Street, a lot of hawkers are busy selling various kinds of “xoi” made from peanuts and bean and wrapped in young green almond or lotus leaves. Near there, a famous kingdom of “xoi” is located in Cam Chi lane. “Xoi” is commonly served with salted shredded meat, Chinese braised pork, egg and sliced sausages. Anyone who has an opportunity to enjoy this food will never forget.

“Xoi” is not so expensive. A bowl of steamed sticky rice with free roasted and crushed sesame and salt costs only VND 3000.

Hanoians will always be surprised at the changes of various kinds of “xoi”. “Xoi” now is different from it in the past. There is not o¬nly , “xoi xeo”, “xoi vo” and “xoi” made with peanuts, black beans, green beans, momordica but “xoi” is also cooked with sesame, coconut copra and other tastes. Nowadays, girls do not have to worry much about staying up late or getting up early to prepare “xoi” dish for the ceremony. All they need to do is to go straight to the “xoi” eatery and get the kind they want.

My mother was anxious about my sister’s wedding ceremony. Mom taught her how to choose the right sort of rice, soak bean and cook the steamed glutinous rice.

The way of cooking “xoi” is quite simple. It is essential to soak rice and bean for several hours, mix them together, add a bit of salt, place into the steamer and wait until the rice and bean are well done. If “xoi” is cooked with peanuts, it is necessary to boil peanuts first and then mixed them with the steamed sticky rice. In terms of “xoi gac” made from momordica, salt is replaced by sugar, which creats a sweet flavor. Regarding “xoi vo”, it is important to leave it cool and then mix with cooked and crushed bean. “Xoi xeo” is often served with crushed bean, fat, and dried o¬nion. This dish is so appealing as it combines the whiteness of sticky rice, the yellowness of bean and onion with the deliciousness. A wide range of kinds of “xoi” is stemmed from the glutinous rice. Each has its own color and distinctive taste. The secret is the kind of yellow sticky rice of Hung Yen and Thai Binh Provinces. People suggest that small chopsticks should be used to serve out “xoi” into bowls. I also have to draw this lesson for myself in the future. For me, the fragrance of “xoi” on streets will never fall into oblivion./.Hanoi Times

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