• Vietnam Food Safari



200 g rice flour

400 ml water

100 g shrimps peeled, deveined, and minced

100 g pork minced

100g wood ear mushroom – rehydrated and minced

1/2 annatto powder or paprika powder

5 banana leaves

1 bulb of garlic

3 bulbs shallots

Pepper, fish sauce, chicken stock

vegetable oil


Mix 200g rice flour with 400ml water. Stir well to dissolve. Add just a little bit of salt and 1 tsp vegetable oil. Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes.

For the fill

ings, mince the shrimps with some shallots and garlic. Then season the shrimps with 1 tsp fish sauce, chicken stock and pepper (1/2 tsp each). Mix well and set aside. Do the same with 100g minced pork. Add some minced garlic and shallots, season slightly with some pork powder, pepper and fish sauce, add minced wood ear mushrooms to the mixture. Mix well and set aside.

Add some oil in a pan and stir fry the minced shrimps first on high heat to bring out the color. Also add in the minced pork and stir fry until cooked. Use a spatula to break up the pork chunks. For a nice orange-red color, add ½ tsp annatto powder.

Cook the batter on medium heat while constantly stirring. When the cooked starch starts sticking to the whisk, bring down the heat to low and constantly stirring. When the batter starts to thicken and turn into a paste, turn off the heat and continue stirring for a few more minutes.

Tear the banana leaves into about 20cm pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then blanch the banana leaves for about 15 seconds or so. This helps to sterilize the banana leaves and make them softer and easier to deal with. Then use paper towel to wipe them dry and clean.

Spread about 1 tbsp of the rice flour paste into the center of the banana leaf, then spread 1 tsp of the fillings on top. Fold both sides, and the the two ends like a parcel. Use your fingers to flatten it out, distributing the paste evenly. Normally they will pair up 2 dumplings together and tie them up with a banana leaf string.

Steam the dumplings for about 15-20 minutes. You should eat them while they're still hot. To serve, just unwrap them and enjoy with a sweet dipping fish sauce. The sauce recipe is: 1 part fish sauce, 2 parts sugar, 5 parts water.