The buttery taste, the spicy scent, the softness of mung beans, the sweetness of granulated sugar, subtle grapefruit flavor as well as the strong aroma of cinnamon, cardamom all are in good harmony with each other, which creates the unique taste of Vietnamese mung bean puddings, one of the best dish of the Northern village.
Although it is not very popular to some Vietnamese, mung bean pudding is usually eaten in traditional events, especially in the countryside in the North of Vietnam such as Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, Nam Đinh, etc. Mung bean pudding is also one of the famous specialties of Bac Giang. After harvests, the whole village often gathers cooking and enjoying this kind of pudding.
The process is not too complicated but skills and experience of the chef are required. Indispensable ingredients are granulated sugar, cinnamon, aromatherapy or grapefruit oil extract, and yellow mung beans soaked in water within 4-5 hours.
The first step is choosing the beans. We should choose the beans that are plump and has a very yellow color inside. After picking out all bad beans, soak beans into water overnight until they remove their shell, then remove shell of the rest, let dry, then put some salt into the beans to make them more flavored and then cook those beans in a pot just in the same way of cooking sticky rice until the beans are overdone and expanded.
The next step is to strain off the water, put all of the beans into a mortar, and grind the beans until they are well kneaded, soft and glutinous.
Then pour all the beans into a large pot, put some molasses or dissolved sugar into the pot and cook over low heat. This step acquires experience of the cook, which is how to handle the fire in order not to make the dish over cooked. Along with handling the fire, the cook should continuously stir the pot, using the big flat chopstick.
Doing so would prevent the pudding from clotting and make all the ingredients dissolve. Keep doing until you see all the water evaporates and the pudding becomes solid. When serve, we usually put some essential oil of grapefruit's flower or cardamom or cinnamon to have good smell.
In the end, spoon the pudding into small plates like flower petals, then sprinkle some sesame seeds on the top, not only to make the dish look appetizing but also greasy.
The mung bean pudding usually has a light yellow and a little brownish color as well as the buttery taste. It is best served when the pudding is let cool. Although the dish is simple and easy to made, the taste it bring is very moreish and special, the dish really reminds us so much of our hometown’s cuisine.