New Year Goodies – Vietnamese Cinnamon “Paté”

As Valentine and Lunar New Year approach, my workload is getting heavier with some unexpected duties coming up. It means less time in the kitchen, and my plan for the New Year has been altered significantly. I will just celebrate with whatever available at the time, something simple and easy to whip up… How much I wish to be in Hanoi with my family at this time of the year!

Despite of my busy schedule, I did manage to prepare Vietnamese Cinnamon “Paté” or Chả quế. This aromatic dish is so lovely and always appears on my family table during Tet. There is also steamed version where the finely pounded meat is wrapped in banana leaves into roll. The steamed version is called Giò and looks like a long loaf. Should I say both versions, baked or steamed, are lovely and you really have to try them out when possible.

Making Vietnamese Paté requires a lot of hard work. Traditionally the meat of very good quality is pounded in a large moral and pestle until it becomes a very fine and smooth paste. This is essential so that the final product has a firm yet soft texture. Now a food processor can be used. Nevertheless, the meat must be chilled in the fridge for a lengthy period. It must never get warm otherwise all the efforts will be lost…. I had to process the meat four times to get the right consistency (with 30 mins chilling time in between). The photo here shows you how the mixture looked after the 3rd time.

This round of making Cha Que is my first attempt ever. Back in Hanoi, we just have to buy it from a good shop. It is also a little achievement for me since I am able to convert a traditional recipe using pork to one with chicken. Ever since my allergy to pork developed, I haven’t had much chance to enjoy a lot of Vietnamese dishes. But now, at least I can enjoy my beloved Cha Que with a peace of mind.

If you are interested in making Cha Que, this recipe is a good and reliable one. My approach is quite similar, and I will find sometimes to write down the recipe using chicken and other associated notes when time permits. Meanwhile, you can find the steamed version, called Giò, in most Vietnamese stores. You can choose from pork, chicken or beef. Gio is sold in small loaf wrapped in banana leaves.




Gattina 9:18 PM  

These pates have such a wonderful texture! Can't imagine how much effort and time the people they spending on pounding that meat! But sure the result is worth it!
Anh, have a great, prosperous and stress-free New Year!

sher 6:11 AM  

Boy, that has my mouth watering! I love the pictures and so glad you can replicate this for yourself without the pork! :):) Happy New Year!

Asha 8:46 AM  

Pates look great Anh! I am not very familiar with Vietnamese cooking much but my daughter's best friends are Chau and Tuyet Nguyen in her high school and Chau brings some Vietnamese food from home for Trisha.

Thanks for visiting me,will visit you again!:)

Freya 5:27 AM  

This all looks so delicious! Worth the effort!

sailaja 2:13 AM  

Wow, those look delicious, Anh! Wishing you a very happy and cheerful New Year!

Anh 4:32 PM  

Gattina, happy New Year to you, pal!

Sher, I love this dish, too. :D

Asha, thanks for dropping by :D

Freya, yes, I think it really worths all the efforts!

Sailaja, thanks so much for your wish! :)

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A culinary journey of a Vietnamese girl, who loves to cook. From her tiny kitchen in the middle of Sydney, Australia. You can contact me at anhnguyen118[at]gmail[dot]com

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