Traditional Vietnamese Recipe - Bánh Tráng Mè (Sesame Rice Crackers)
Bánh Tráng Mè (Sesame Rice Crackers)
Brown rice flour: 300gr
Tapioca flour: 400gr
Black sesame: 100 gr
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Water: 1.5 liters
Soak brown rice flour and tapioca flour with 1.5 liters of water for 3 hours to make it clean, remove the water on the top and keep about 1 liter of water.
Mix the flour well and add sesame and salt,
Let it sit for at least half an hour or overnight to allow the batter to absorb the liquid and the air bubbles to settle before steaming.
Stir the mixture well before using.
Steaming Rice Paper
Fill the bottom steamer with 2/3 water. Place the fabric ring inside of the top steamer. Make sure it's straight.
Bring the steamer to a rapid boil.
Ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the fabric screen. The size of the rice paper depends on the portion of the batter you pour onto the fabric screen and how big you spread the batter.
Use the bottom of the metal or coconut shell ladle to help spread the rice batter thinly and evenly over the stretched fabric. Be sure to spread this quickly using a circular motion. Cover it up with a lid and let it steam for about 4-5 seconds.
Remove the lid and spread another layer of batter on top of the cooked one. The rice paper for rice paper cracker needs to be thick, therefore, pouring two layers of batter is a must.
It will take a few more seconds for the steam to cook the smooth rice batter. The rice paper will puff up when it's ready. Use a flat and long bamboo stick to remove the rice paper, then place it directly on a drying mat. An easier way is to use a wide roller like the one in the picture, use it to roll the rice paper up, and then unroll intact onto a drying mat.
If you don't have enough space to put the drying mat in your kitchen while making the rice paper, place the rice paper on the small rack then flip it over on the drying mat at your convenience.
Repeat the steaming process until done.
Making Ring and Cloth for the Steamer/Pot
2 pieces of Metal Straps (stainless hose clamps), 6.5 in diameter, are available at the Hardware store.
50cm x 100cm wide Cotton Cheese Cloth Fabric
Measure your pot for the size.
Screw one end of the metal ring to the other with the nut provided and then bend it into a circle. Measure the diameter of the ring to ensure it's the same size as the pot. Screw the second nut on to complete the circle.
Cut material slightly bigger than your metal ring. Sew a hem around the outside of the circle of material and attach a drawstring to tighten the material once placed over the metal ring.
Place the metal ring in the center of the damp cloth. I find it's a lot easier to stretch the cloth when it's wet. Pull the two strings tightly until the cloth is stretched tight and smooth. Tie the strings to secure.
Making Drying Mat
1/2 in Black Plastic Hardware Cloth, 3ftx15ft
2x2 Timber Baton, 8ft
8-10 Zip Ties
Cut wood into two pieces the same size as the two end of the mat. Use zip ties to fasten the wood onto the mat. Wash the mat with soap thoroughly before use.
Drying Rice Paper
Dry the rice papers on the mat or the bamboo screen like the way people do in Vietnam in full sun for a couple of hours, then move to a shaded area. Drying too long in the full sun will cause the rice paper to warp.
When exposing it to the Sun, you should choose a cool place or sunny weather until it is dry. When it is dry, the cake is bent, so when baking it, you should press it down to make it flat.
To Cook and Eat
Place one rice paper in a microwave and cook it for 1-2 minutes until it puffs up and turns slightly brown. Or place them on a stainless rack and cook over a very low heat charcoal burner or stove stop or infrared stove. Bake sesame rice cracker over low heat.
Bake each one at a time, while baking you should bake evenly on both sides to avoid it being burnt.
Enjoy it by itself or break into pieces and use it to scoop your favorite Vietnamese salad or just as a great snack with beer.