Green sticky rice is given by friends and family as an autumn gift in Hanoi.
Green rice-making career in Vong village, Hanoi, had the origin of a legend: In fall, thousands of years ago, when rice crops were still young, it rained heavily with strong winds which broke the dyke. All the rice fields were flooded.
Vong village‘s people tried to harvest the immature rice grains to dry to eat and store for later time. Surprisingly, that unexpected product possesses its own taste and is so attractive that villagers usually make it to eat every autumn.
Green sticky rice is made of many different types of rice; however, it is the most delicious when made of glutinous rice in two seasons per year: the fourth lunar month crop and the main harvest. Normally, the best green sticky rice is in the main harvest (from the full-moon day of July lunar month to in the end of September lunar month).
Rice grains become round, equal and fragrant after threshing grains, eliminating rice straws and plat pieces and washing with water, and then, putting ina pan to be roasted.
The stove used to roast green sticky rice is covered by coal slag, but wood is used for a fire. The pan is usually made from cast-iron so that green sticky rice grains are not burned and still soft and fragrant.
The grains are roasted on a small fire and stirred on and on. After roasting, the grains cool down and are put into the mortar to pound.
The grains are pounded regularly and not too strongly. Husks of the grains will part. Based on time of harvesting, they will be pounded about 7 times.
Green sticky rice is packed into two layers of leaf. The inner is green and cool to keep the rice soft and green. The outer is leaves of the lotus to keepit fragrant and refined.
The grains touch the tongue and become sweet, nutty and buttery.
The autumn in Hanoi is beautiful with special presents such as: lotus tea, “sấu”, sapodilla plum and especially young green sticky rice.
Green sticky rice is not the dish of four seasons, but it would be a pity to miss the special green sticky rice of Vong village.
These days, green sticky rice is processed into “bánh cốm”, “chè cốm” and so on. They are not less delicious than green sticky ricebut have green beans and coconut fibers. “Bánh cốm” and “bánh su sê” have been important cakes in engagement ceremonies for a long time.
The girl who carries shoulder poles and steps rhythmicallyonly needs to put down the poles covered with lotus leaves and some green strawfibers, which makes people in Hanoi miss the new green sticky rice season.