Each recipe of Bánh tằm in the Mekong Delta seduces gourmets with its own flavors and colors: bánh tằm ngọt (sweet bánh tằm), bánh tằm bì (bánh tằm with meat and pork rind finely cut into strips), bánh tằm xíu mại (bánh tằm with pork balls), bánh tằm cà ri cay (bánh tằm with spicy curry)… Bánh tằm cay Cà Mau, for the inhabitants of the delta, it is bánh tằm with spicy curry. At first glance, bánh tằm cay is reminiscent of curried rice vermicelli, yet there are many differences that make up its own identity. Bánh tằm owes its name to silkworms (tằm) that the big white noodles look like. Preparing the noodles takes real work. Choose the right Cà Mau rice, let it soak overnight before making flour, add water in a reasonable proportion, then cook it over moderate heat. The hand-rolled bánh tằm noodles were not identical and painful to make. Today the dough machine helps to make smooth noodles, which are less elastic. The broth for the bánh tằm cay is also a trick: you need, as with the curry broth, cloves, star anise, turmeric powder, cinnamon, dried coriander seeds, dried chili. All these ingredients need to be heated to a high temperature and crushed. We add roucou powder to make curry. A good bánh tằm cay broth should be well spiced and dense.
The dish is garnished with chicken, pork meatballs, tofu skin, chicken blood. A plate of bean sprouts, salads, basil, lemon, salt, and pepper goes with it. The soul of Delta food, especially Cà Mau which is found in the tangy flavors of curry, fat, and umami of pork meatballs and fragrant noodles will sure leave you wanting to come back to it.
Source: Can Tho Newspaper - Translated by Hoang Dat