Last update: 11:26 | 21/06/2018
Hanoi’s autumn is also the season for ‘com’ or young sticky rice flakes. ‘Com’ can be eaten directly or mixed with other food ingredients to create a variety of tasty dishes, including ‘cha com’ (com paste).
‘Cha com’ is mainly made of ‘com’ and has the subtle scent of new rice. Other ingredients for the dish include lean pork and pork paste.
The meat to mix with ‘com’ should be lean shoulder pork, which contains fat, so the taste will not become too dry or the dish downsized on being fried. The mixture will then be added with salt, seasoning and delicious fish sauce. It will be left to absorb all the spices for less than ten minutes.
After that, the mixture is kneaded into small pieces and steamed from 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, cha com is fried until it becomes light brown on both sides. According to experienced cooks, instead of being placed on the plates, pieces of cha com should be arranged on lotus leaves to absorb the subtle scent of the lotus, the symbolic flower of Hanoi.
The dish is best when the skin is crisp, ‘com’ inside soft and the fragrance of the grain mixed with lotus. It can be dipped into chilli or fish sauce to be eaten with cooked rice or rice noodle.