Speaking of the ancient streets in Hanoi, we cannot forget to mention the name of Hang Than Street, the small street of green rice flake cake, whose flavor has enchanted so many customers.
It is said that in the old days, people made rice flake cake from the adaptation of square glutinous rice cake and did not ever think it would develop in the future. They also used sticky rice and mung bean, but the flavor is different from any kind of cake.
This is because grilled rice was made from fresh sticky rice, and the stuffing includes mung bean and coconut, and both of the cover and the stuffing of the cake are mixed with sugar.
In the past, Hanoi people thought of many ways to enjoy the grilled rice. Finally, the ancestor of Nguyen Duy family in Hang Than Street was the one who discovered the way of making the green rice flake cake.
The process of making grilled rice become green rice flake cake is quite meticulous, from the time we get the fresh rice until we had the grilled rice. The grilled rice used for making green rice flake must be the old one, since the fresh would dissolve and we cannot use that to make the cover of the cake. That means we have to harvest the rice when its seed have been firm and green.
After that, we dry, grind, sift and winnow in the same way we make the fresh grilled rice, and then put the grilled rice into a big jar, or pack it tight in order not to make it damp.
When we use grilled rice to make cake, we pour it into a pot or a frying pan. Usually, we would use 1.3 liters of water for 1 kilogram of grilled rice, and then mix them to make the grilled rice soft.
Next, mingle the mixture with sugar and cook them, remember to overturn steadily. When it is nearly done, add some distilled water from grapefruit flower to make it fragrant. One more important thing is carefully watching the fire to make sure the cake would not be too viscid or overdone.
After we have finished with the cake’s cover, we will make the stuffing for the cake. Choosing the mung bean of Thai Binh, Ha Bac, Son La. Other kinds of mung bean also can be used but they cannot make the cake have a delicious taste and easy to get stale.
Then, we soak the mung beans into the water, remove their shell, grind them and then cook them in the same way as we cook rice.
We should notice to make the mung beans done to a turn, not crushed, not crunchy but so fragrant and scattered.
After that, put the mung bean into a mortar to crush and then mix it with water and sugar, using 1.2 kilogram of refined sugar for 1 kilogram of mung bean. Then, cook it until the bean dry and glutinous. Next, add some more ingredients such as sugar coated lotus seed, scraped coconut rice, and distilled water from grapefruit flower…, mix them all together and then pack them.
The stuffing is shaped into sphere, then we would use the cooked grilled rice to cover it. The last step is packing. Using fresh banana leaves or nylon paper to pack the cake so as to make them have a square shape and finally using banana leaves again to cover outside, put the brand name on and tie them by bamboo strings.
Nowadays, in Hang Than Street there are tens of store that make and sell green rice flake cake, they all use the brand name “Ninh”. This name is proceeded from the brand name Nguyên Ninh, which is a famous brand name that has been handed down from generation to generation.
Green rice flake cake of Hang Than Street has now become a specialty of Hanoi and attracted so many customers from everywhere such as France, Russia, England, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Cuba, Canada, American, and so on.