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Saturday, July 13, 2024

A dish in Hue

By Viet Phong

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Banh ep (in Vietnamese ep means “press” or “exerting physical force on something”), literally “pressed pie,” is a dish from Hue City in Thua Thien-Hue Province. The pie seems to be a simple dish yet it is really delicious.

Street stalls selling pressed pies are familiar to Hue citizens most of whom like enjoying the pie after school and work.

Ingredients used for the dish are tapioca starch, pork, egg and green onion. To obtain its best taste, the pie must be prepared immediately upon being ordered. That way, the pies to be served are hot and crispy.

First, a pie maker puts small balls of dough filled with stir-fried pork in a greased mold consisting of two flat cast iron pans over intense heat. The cook next presses the two flat cast iron pans and turns the mold back and forth for five or six seconds. An egg is added to the mold and pressed for another several seconds. Now, the pressed pie is ready for diners to enjoy.

The secret of a good cook lies with the right amount of time the cake is cooked and how much force he or she should apply on the mold to obtain the perfect crispiness.

Dipping sauce for the pressed pie is sweet and sour fish sauce with minced chilies. Additionally, pickled sliced young papaya, herbs and sliced cucumber are indispensable.

Banh ep has another form which is totally dry. For this version, cooks increase the duration they apply force to the mold until the pie becomes completely dry.

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