Delicious and nutritious dishes, which are Northern Highlands’ specialties, surprised judges and audiences in The Golden Spoon 2016.
Dinh Trong Giang and his colleagues from Dung Tan restaurant (Thai Nguyen
province) brought their marvelous and nourishing dishes to The Golden Spoon
contest, and Mugwort cake – a specialty of Tay minority in Lang Son - was one
chef Giang contingently had this food and he had been immediately fallen for
it. He made effort to find its recipes, its accurate ingredients, and process.
in Northern Highlands have different recipes but the main ingredients always
include local sweet rice, peanuts, green beans, brown sugar, grated fresh
coconut, and of course, Mugwort leaves.
2 years of experiences, chef Giang realized that Mugwort cake sounded simple
but the every step required high concentration or one mistake could ruin the
sweet rice was cleaned and steamed until well done. Mugwort tips were boiled in
natural lye water, which was made by burning green bean husks, diluting in boil
water, and filtering to get pure liquid. “This
natural lye is not harmful to people at all”, said chef Dinh Trong Giang.
sweet rice and boiled Mugwort leaves would be milled until blended and the
dough would be chewy and clammy. Mugwort cake’s filling was made from green
beans, grated coconut, and sugar. Shaped dough would be steamed about 5 – 10
products should be chewy yet tender and have Mugwort flavor without bitter
taste. Mugwort cakes are usually served with crushed peanuts or black sesames,
grated coconut, and a cup of Voi tea (Syzygium
to Tay minority, Mugwort cakes are really healthy and they even can help to
reduce headache or cold symptoms.
“We serve Mugwort
cakes with cinnamon cakes and Voi tea. This combination gradually reduce the
sweetness of the course”,
said chef Giang about his alternation.
Nice decoration Mugwort cakes.
Delicious dishes from
black silk chickens
silk chickens are not new to diners. However, those unique black silk chickens
were from far-away Northern villages of Mong minority.
The Golden Spoon contest 2016, Chef Nguyen Van Quy from Quy’s kitchen
restaurant (Lao Cai province) had proved the unique and diverse Northern
Highland cuisine by stewed black silk chicken in bamboo tube.
distinguished points of this chicken type are black from skin, flesh, to bones.
They are natural raised by Mong people in their habitat, and their biggest
sizes are about 1.5 – 1.7kg.
best black silk chicken should be young, about 1.2kg. After preparation, the
whole cleaned chicken (or chopped) would be marinated in 30 minutes.
ingredients needed young corn grains and wild ginseng roots to sweeten the
broth. Instead of normal pots or containers, the chicken and side ingredients
were stuffed into a big bamboo tube and that tube would be steamed around 1
chicken is a common dish of Mong people and usually served with sweet rice or
regular rice. “Mong people have the dish
all year round. It’s especially good for pregnant and postpartum women.
Different minorities have different keys and standards for ingredients, but the
second most important element is bamboo tube as well. Bamboo tubes should be
mature enough but not too young or too old so that the final product will be
perfect”, commented chef Quy.
Stewed black silk chickens with wild ginseng flowers.
the same type of black silk chicken, chef Le Van Hung from Aristo International
hotel (Lao Cai province) brought another dish, black silk chicken soup with
wild ginseng flowers (Panax
ideal black silk chicken and herbs (dried longan, wild ginseng flowers, and
dang-shen roots (Codonopsis pilosula)) could make 4 bowls of soup. Chickens
were cleaned by salt, chopped then stewed with cleaned herbs. Dang-shen roots
and dried longan already provided sweetness so a teaspoon of salt was enough to
“Aroma of wild
ginseng flowers will dominate the dish but we need to make sure their bitter
taste won’t spoil the broth. Dang-shen roots have a strong aroma, too, so we
just need a bit of them”,
said chef Hung.
black silk chicken soup can be served in breakfast, lunch, or dinner and it is
quite nutritious for postpartum women.
black silk chicken soup might be good with common side dishes, chef Hung
recommended having it separately to taste all the best-chosen flavors of
By V.V.Tuan/ Tuoitre
Translator: Thu Pham