Bánh Giò | Vietnamese Rice Flour and Pork Pyramid Dumplings
Bánh giò is a Vietnamese rice flour dumpling filled with ground pork sautéed with wood ear mushrooms and shallots. The pyramid shaped dumplings are wrapped and steamed in banana leaves, which give the rice flour dough a greenish hue and a slightly floral leafy aroma. This North Vietnamese specialty is not a bite-sized dumpling like potsickers. One dumpling can be a meal in itself and is commonly eaten for breakfast. They can also be enjoyed as a snack or light meal at anytime during the day. The dumplings are served warm and can be eaten straight out of the banana leaf without any sauce or garnishes. They can also be dressed up with Vietnamese ham and slices of cucumber.
3tbspdried wood ear mushrooms
2medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 1/4tspsalt (+/- to taste)
1/4tspground black pepper
2 1/2tbspcooking oil
400grice flour mix
Cut the banana leaves into 30-35 cm long sheets. Rinse the banana leaves with water and thoroughly wipe them clean. Then, heat up some water in a large sauté pan or pot and blanch the banana leaves to soften them. Set aside to dry.
Rehydrate the wood ear mushrooms by soaking them in warm water, and thoroughly rinse and drain them once they are soft. Coarsely chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces.
Heat some cooking oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Sauté the sliced shallots until fragrant, but not browned. Add the ground pork and season with salt and ground black pepper. Once the meat is nearly cooked, add the chopped wood ear mushrooms and continue to sauté until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Then, add the fish sauce and give the filling a quick stir to ensure that it is incorporated evenly. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Rice flour dough
Pour the rice flour mix into a large mixing bowl. Add the pork broth to the bowl while whisking to avoid any clumps. At this step, the pork broth should be room temperature. Once the rice flour dough is homogenously mixed with the broth, transfer to a sauce pan, place over medium-high heat and add the 2.5 tablespoons of cooking oil. Stir continuously with chopsticks or a whisk. As the mixture starts to thicken, lower the heat to medium-low and continue to stir until the dough becomes thick and smooth. The thickness should be something similar to that of kid’s paste that kindergarteners use.
Prepare the dumplings
If the banana leaf sheets are still moist, wipe them dry. Cut sheets of saran wrap to line the outside of each banana leaf. Then place the dark side of the banana leaf face down against the saran wrap.* Take the bottom right corner of the sheet and fold it diagonally, like you would a piece of paper to make one of those origami fortune tellers. Then, take the top right corner and fold it over, which forms a triangle. Hold the folded banana leaf in your hand with the pointed end pointing down. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the rice flour dough and fill the pointed cavity of the banana leaf. Then, add 2 tablespoons of the meat filling and cover with another 2 tablespoons of the dough. Fold one of the pointed ends of the opening down and then fold the left and right sides down. Finally, fold the final corner down and tuck it into the bottom of the pyramid.
Place the wrapped dumplings into a steamer and steam for about 25-30 minutes. Once removed from the steamer, allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes. These should be served warm, but not piping hot. I like to garnish these pyramid shaped dumplings with fried shallots, siracha, and a couple squirts of Maggi Seasoning, which is similar to soy sauce. My husband, however, likes to eat the dumplings with nước mắm sauce and some sliced Vietnamese ham (chả lụa). The dumplings can also be eaten plain straight from the banana leaf.
*Note: Lining the exterior of the banana leaves with saran wrap is optional. The fresh leaves that I use are often not perfect and some have tears. Lining the leaves with saran wrap keeps the dough from seeping out and making a mess.