Vietnamese sticky rice dumpling (Bánh ít nhân tôm thịt)

banh it nhan thap cam

Only if we could choose between sleep and art in early Sunday morning…


This reminds me of several dishes we haven’t made for year. We call those pre-kid dishes because they require tons of preparation time and patience – both qualities we lack nowadays. One of those is the Vietnamese sticky rice dumpling (bánh ít nhân tôm thịt). These dumplings are generously wrapped in fresh banana leaves to have the trademark mild tealike fragrance. They have savoury pork and shrimp fillings with some crunchy bites of black fungus then are dipped in sweet and sour sauce. Yum…

We will make these again… when the kids are off to college. Kidding!

Vietnamese Sticky Rice Dumpling (Bánh Ít Nhân Tôm Thịt)

500g glutinous rice flour
1/2 tsp salt

150g ground pork
2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground pepper (divided)
1 shallot (finely chopped, divided)
2 tbs canola oil
2-3 black fungus (soaked in water for 15 minutes, coarsely chopped)
1 small carrot (coarsely chopped)
200g shrimps (cooked and coarsely chopped)

Canola oil
30 banana leaves (30cm square)
30 banana leaves (15cm square)

Dipping Sauce:
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs lime juice
6 tbs water
Thai chilis (thinly sliced)

To make the filling:

  1. Mix ground pork with 2 tsp fish sauce + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp sugar + 1/2 tsp ground pepper + 2 tsp chopped shallot.
  2. Place a skillet under medium heat, add 2 tbs canola oil.
  3. Add the remaining chopped shallot and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the pork mixture, continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add wood ears, cook for another minute.
  6. Add shrimps, cook for another minute.
  7. Finally add carrots and turn off the heat immediately.
  8. Add the remaining ground pepper (2 tsp).

To make the dough:

  1. Mix flour and salt.
  2. Gradually add water and mix until a small ball can be formed without breaking.
  3. Divide into 30 balls.

To wrap:

  1. Take each dough ball and make a flat circle.
  2. Add a spoonful filling, and pinch around to make a ball.
  3. Roll into a long dough (like a cigarette).
  4. Brush some canola oil on 30cm-square banana leaves.
  5. Place the dough on one banana leave (parallel with the veins), roll, and fold the two ends.
  6. Steam for about 15 minutes.
  7. Take out the banana leaves on two ends, but leave just enough in the middle to cover the dumpling.
  8. Re-wrap with 15cm-square banana leaves as shown in the pictures below (courtesy of Bep Gia Dinh)
  9. Serve with dipping sauce.

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