Bánh Nậm Recipe

Lastest Updated April 19, 2024
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Banh Nam is a notable flat steamed rice dumpling from Vietnam, offering a unique flavor. I will introduce and provide comprehensive information about making Banh Nam.

This Banh Nam recipe will begin with a clear definition and background of Banh Nam, proceeding through its recipe, including the essential tools and ingredients. You’ll also learn a step-by-step guide to making these flat rice dumplings.

Moreover, I’ve included additional useful information, such as tips for preparation, suitable food pairings, and storage and reheating methods. By the end, you’ll get to know other Banh Nam’s cousins in the family of traditional Vietnamese rice snacks.

So, brace yourself for a flavor-packed voyage into Vietnamese culinary tradition.

Flat Steamed Rice Dumplings

What Is Banh Nam?

Banh Nam is Vietnamese flat, steamed rice dumplings. The “Banh” in its name loosely translates to “cake” or “bread,” but in Vietnam, it can refer to various prepared snacks or, in this case, dumplings.

Banh Nam comes from the Vietnamese Central region. These dumplings were once only for the royalty class in Hue, the former capital. But today, Banh Nam has become a popular snack or light meal in Vietnam for its soft, delicate texture and flavorful filling.

Moreover, the locals in Hue often make Banh Nam on the first and the fifteenth of every Lunar month as an offering to their ancestors. These dumplings also appear during the Lunar New Year (Tết) since they symbolize good fortune and prosperity.

While Banh Nam holds many important meanings, it is easy to make with simple tools.

Vietnamese Flat Steamed Rice Dumplings

Which Tools Are Vital to Banh Nam?

Banh Nam can only be complete with these tools, like a steamer, pot, and frying pan. Each tool comes with an indispensable usage, which I’ve described in the list below:

  • Mixing bowl: For mixing ingredients for the batter
  • Ladle: For stirring the batter
  • Frying pan: For preparing the filling
  • Spatula: For spreading the batter on the banana leaves
  • Tongs: For grabbing the wrapped dumplings
  • Pot: For cooking the batter
  • Steamer: For steaming the dumplings

After tools, next comes the ingredients in Banh Nam.

Which Ingredients to Buy for Banh Nam?

Like several Vietnamese snacks, Banh Nam requires quite many ingredients for its batter and fillings. But don’t worry; I’ve also included some alternatives in the list below:

  • Fine rice flour/Rice starch, water: To make the batter
  • Ground pork, ground shrimp: For the filling
  • Minced shallot: To add fragrance to the filling
  • Salt: To season the batter
  • Fish sauce, ground pepper, and sugar: To season the filling
  • Cooking oil: To save the batter from sticking to the pot
  • Cashew oil: To add more color to the filling
  • Spring onions: For the garnishes
  • Banana leaves: Cut into 8-inch x 4-inch (about 20cm x 10cm) rectangles, to wrap the dumplings

How to Make Banh Nam?

Making Banh Nam requires 4 main steps: Make the batter, prepare the filling, wrap the dumplings, and steam them. Each step has different details that you must pay close attention to.

Step 1: Making the Batter

Combine rice flour/rice starch with water and salt in a large bowl and mix them well.

Combine Rice Flour

Move the mixture to a pot. Heat it over a small flame and continuously stir so it won’t stick to the pot.

Move The Mixture To A Pot

When the mixture thickens, add the cooking oil.

Add The Cooking Oil

Keep stirring until the mixture thickens into a batter. Turn off the heat, but continue whisking to ensure the batter cooks evenly.

Stirring Until The Mixture Thickens

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

Heat your pan on the stovetop. Pour the cashew oil into the pan. When the oil is hot enough, sauté your shallot until fragrant.

Pour The Cashew Oil Into The Pan

Add ground pork and stir well.

Add Ground Pork And Stir Well

Once the meat is 80% cooked, add the ground shrimp and keep stirring.

Add The Ground Shrimp

Season the mixture with fish sauce, ground pepper, and sugar. Stir well so the flavor is evenly distributed.

Season With Fish Sauce Ground Pepper And Sugar

Step 3: Wrap the Dumplings

Clean the banana leaves and pat them dry. Place the leaves on the table, vein side down. Scoop one spoonful of batter onto the leaf and spread it evenly lengthwise.

Scoop One Spoonful Of Batter Onto The Leaf

Place the filling in the middle of the batter in a 2:1 ratio (2 parts batter, 1 part filling).

Place The Filling in The Middle

Next, fold both sides and ends of the leaf to form a rectangle. Gently brush the wrapping so the batter evenly distributes.

Fold Both Sides And Ends of The Leaf
Brush The Wrapping Batter Evenly Distributes

Repeat the process until you run out of batter and banana leaves.

Repeat The Process

Step 4: Steam the Dumplings

Arrange the dumplings in a steamer and steam them for 15-20 minutes.

Arrange The Dumplings

Step 5: Present the Dumplings

Serve your steamed rice dumplings with sweet fish sauce. Add several chili slices for extra flavor. When eating, sprinkle some chopped spring onions and pour the fish sauce on top, then enjoy!

Present The Dumplings

Still, making Banh Nam can require several tips to make it tastier.

Which Tips Can Elevate Banh Nam?

To elevate Banh Nam, you must pay attention to the batter since it’s the hardest step. Other steps, like steaming, also require carefulness.

  • Feel free to adjust the amount of seasonings to suit your palates.
  • You can use dong leaves or baking papers in place of banana leaves.
  • Briefly dipping banana leaves in hot water can soften them, making the wrapping step easier.
  • When making the batter, remember to stir it evenly at low heat to prevent lumps and ensure a smooth texture.
  • The batter should be slightly translucent and thick. Adjust the amount of rice flour/starch and water to achieve the ideal result.
  • Allow the batter to cool down slightly before spreading it on the leaves. Use a silicone spatula or the back of a wet spoon to make the process easier.
  • Don’t stack too many rice dumplings on each other to ensure even cooking. Three layers are the perfect number.
  • Adjust the steaming time based on the steamer temperature, size, and the number of dumplings.
  • Refrain from steaming the rice dumplings too long, or they can turn mushy and soggy. When the banana leaves’ color changes to pale yellow, the dumplings are done.
  • When eating, don’t throw away the banana leaves. Their fragrance will help reduce the greasiness.

With these tips, no one can refuse your Banh Nam. Still, with a proper pairing, you’ll discover a new side of these steamed flat dumplings.

Tips Can Elevate Banh Nam

What to Pair with Banh Nam?

Vietnam has many traditional foods to pair with Banh Nam. Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon (Đồ Chua) and Vietnamese dipping sauce (Nước Chấm) will be the best partners If you want to eat these flat rice dumplings as a stand-alone snack.

However, Banh Nam also goes with many other Vietnamese savory snacks, like Hue-style pork sausage (Chả Huế), Vietnamese green rice flakes (Chả Cốm), Vietnamese grilled pork meatballs (Thịt Viên Nướng), and Vietnamese beef sausage (Chả Bò).

Since Banh Nam is delicious, you may make too many of them. During that time, knowing how to store and reheat will help retain these flat rice dumplings’ quality.

Combined With Banh Nam

How to Store and Reheat Banh Nam?

There are 2 main ways to store and reheat Banh Nam: Refrigerating and freezing.

It’s best to refrigerate Banh Nam’s components right after preparing the filling. The filling can last for 1-2 days in the fridge. When you want to make Banh Nam, take it out and prepare the batter before continuing to the steaming step.

As for freezing Banh Nam, I suggest you not steam these flat rice dumplings beforehand. Then, place them in freezer-friendly bags or containers and freeze them. Frozen Banh Nam can survive for 1-3 months.

To cook frozen Banh Nam, steam it immediately (without thawing) at medium heat for 15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Besides Banh Nam, let’s discover other traditional Vietnamese rice snacks.

What Are Other Traditional Vietnamese Snacks Made From Rice?

Since rice is the main staple food in Vietnam, many traditional snacks here are made from rice. These snacks are also popular Vietnamese street foods, so you can easily find them when visiting Vietnam:

Banh Nam Opens A New Door To Vietnamese Cuisine!

With this Banh Nam, I believe you’ve appreciated the artistry of Vietnamese cuisine. These flat dumplings are more than a dish; they testify to Vietnam’s creativity, heritage, and culinary power.

Making Banh Nam will help bridge the gap between cultures, so why not try it out? In the comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts about these flat rice dumplings. Remember to share this Banh Nam article with other food enthusiasts to spread the love for Banh Nam.

Banh Nam

Vietnamese Flat Steamed Rice Dumplings (Bánh Nậm) Recipe

Banh Nam is a fantastic Vietnamese type of rice dumplings that anyone can easily make at home. So, let’s impress your friends and family with this complete guide!
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Snack
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: banh nam, Vietnamese Flat Steamed Rice Dumplings, Vietnamese Flat Steamed Rice Dumplings Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 285kcal

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces (200 grams) of fine rice flour/Rice starch
  • 1 quart (1 liter) of water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons cashew oil
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) of ground pork
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) of ground shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1.5 teaspoon sugar
  • Banana leaves (Cut into 8-inch x 4-inch rectangles)
  • Spring onions

Instructions 

  • Combine rice flour/starch with water and salt until well mixed.
    Combine Rice Flour
  • Move the mixture to a pot and heat it at low flame. Keep stirring so the mixture won't stick to the pot.
    Move The Mixture To A Pot
  • Once the mixture thickens, add cooking oil.
    Add The Cooking Oil
  • Keep stirring until the mixture thickens into a batter. Then, turn the heat off and continue whisking to ensure the batter cooks evenly. Leave it aside.
    Stirring Until The Mixture Thickens
  • Sauté shallots with cashew oil in a pan until fragrant.
    Pour The Cashew Oil Into The Pan
  • Add ground pork and continue stirring.
    Add Ground Pork And Stir Well
  • Add ground shrimp once the pork is 80% cooked and continue stirring.
    Add The Ground Shrimp
  • Season the pork-shrimp mixture with fish sauce, ground pepper, and sugar. Leave it aside.
    Season With Fish Sauce Ground Pepper And Sugar
  • Clean the banana leaves and pat them dry. Place one leaf on the table with its vein side down. Spread 1 spoon of the batter onto the leaf.
    Scoop One Spoonful Of Batter Onto The Leaf
  • Place the filling on top of the batter. The ideal ratio is 2:1, with 2 parts batter and 1 part filling.
    Place The Filling in The Middle
  • Fold both sides and both ends of the leaf to form a rectangle. Gently brush the leaf to distribute the dough evenly.
    Fold Both Sides And Ends of The Leaf
  • Repeat steps 9 to 11 until you use your batter and banana leaves.
    Repeat The Process
  • Place the wrapped dumplings in a steamer. And steam for 15-20 minutes.
    Arrange The Dumplings
  • Serve your Banh Nam with Vietnamese dipping sauce (Nước Chấm). Sprinkle some spring onions and chili slices on top before eating.
    Present The Dumplings

Video

Notes

  • The total cooking time above is based on 6 servings.
  • The amount of seasonings is adjustable, based on your liking.
  • Dong leaves or baking papers are suitable substitutes for banana leaves.
  • Briefly dip banana leaves in hot water to make them softer and easier to fold when wrapping.
  • Keep the low flame when stirring the batter for a smooth texture without any lump.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of rice flour/starch and water when making the batter. The ideal batter is slightly thick and translucent.
  • Let the batter cool down before spreading it on the banana leaves. A silicone spatula or a wet spoon’s back will make the spreading easier.
  • Don’t stack too many Banh Nam dumplings on each other when steaming. Only stack 3 layers at most.
  • The steaming time depends on the temperature, the steamer’s size, and the dumplings’ amount.
  • Refrain from over-steaming these rice dumplings, or they’ll become soggy and mushy. Pay attention to the banana leaves’ color. When they change to pale yellow color, your Banh Nam is done.
  • Don’t throw away the banana leaves when serving, as their fragrance helps reduce the greasiness.

Nutrition

Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 692mg | Potassium: 241mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
Tien - Alden

Tien – Alden

Content Writer

Expertise

Home Cooking, Recipe Development, Food Editor, Beverage Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Asian Food Content Creator

Education

Saigon Tourism College

  • Program: Certificate in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines.

Advanced Culinary Workshop, Beijing

  • Program: A three-month intensive program of Advanced Culinary Workshop
  • Focus: Authentic Chinese cuisine.

Vietnamese Traditional Cooking School

  • Program: Certificate of Vietnamese Traditional Cooking
  • Focus: A specialized course on traditional and family recipes passed down through generations.

American College of Vietnam

  • Program: Bartender
  • Focus: Provide background knowledge and help students confident to create appealing drinks

Alden is a skilled chef with expertise in Asian cuisines, known for blending traditional Vietnamese and Chinese cooking with contemporary innovations. Alden’s passion for Asian flavors and her creative approach to both food and beverages inspires fellow chefs and those aspiring to enter the field.

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