My mom taught me a lot of things about cooking traditional Vietnamese food. She’s a stickler for old school flavors but is open to new world methods. For example, she measures with certain spoons in her kitchen, but loves the digital scale that I bought her. “It’s one of my favorite gifts from you,” she’s told me several times. Mom is a hard woman to shop for and please so I try to be practical.
Last week Michelle asked about making these. I usually don't have time to fulfill recipe requests but these are one of my favorite dumplings that my mom taught me how to make. If you’re not Vietnamese, you may not know about banh gio (“baan zaw” or “baan yaw”). When I was growing up, she prepared dozens of them for us to eat for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Commonly found at Vietnamese delis and sandwich shops, these northern Viet dumplings are best when made at home and eaten fresh from the steamer, when they are soft and redolent of the tealeaflike fragrance of the banana leaf wrapper. Inside, the firmish-soft rice dough encases a savory pork, shallot, and wood ear mushroom. They’re fun and delicious to eat. A Viet dumpling comfort food.