Sticky rice with sweetened porridge – A special dish of Hanoi

In a tiny corner of Hanoi, only with a small shift and some smallish chairs, an old lady is busy all the time scooping sticky rice with porridge for customers.

For a very long time, her shift has been there and become so familiar as a beauty of Hanoi’s cuisine.

It is not simple as it looks to make such a delicious dish as she does. The maker should be someone who has clever and skillful hands.

The sticky rice must be cooked with split peas which has a beautiful yellow as the sunshine in Hanoi. It takes a lot of effort to make this kind of sticky rice. Rice must be soaked in water for one night and then sifted. When the rice was drained, put it in a clean towel and make it as dry as possible.

After that, mix the rice with a little salt. For the split pea, we should use the small kind which is yellowish and scented. Soak it with warm water, sift and then cook it. When the pea is cool down, grind until it  become smooth.
We should be clever when mixing the sticky rice with the pea to make sure every seed of rice would be cover in a smooth layer of pea. In that way, after being cooked, the sticky rice would not be curdle. When the rice is ripen, scoop it up into a tray, and while stirring it, fanning continuously to make it cool down and scatter.
This sticky rice could be used with different kinds sweetened porridge. Each kinds of sweetener has their own taste. Enjoy them together would make the sweetener more refined and the sticky rice more moreish. They stick together and create an unforgettable aftertaste.

This is a sweet traditional food of Hanoi. Therefore, only when enjoy it in an ancient space in Hanoi, should we deeply feel the special taste of the dish. Maybe that is the reason why there are always many customers visit the shift in the corner of that old lady. - Translated by Vu Minh

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