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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bánh Giò (Vietnamese Pork Pyramid Dumpling)

I love banh gio wrapped in banana leaf. As you may know, the Vietnamese people wrap every kind of food in banana leaves; it may as well be our national baking wrap . . . and with good reasons. To me, the broad lush green leaf symbolizes the country's vitality, youth, beauty and the abundance of banana trees. But more importantly, with respect to cooking, it imparts a natural beauty, freshness, and flavor to anything that it surrounds. Take for example bánh chưng, bánh tét, bánh ú and of course the featured recipe bánh giò.

Although it's used ubiquitously, this is my first time using the banana leaf to wrap. So I sought the help of my mother-in-law who has been making bánh ú and bánh tét using this leaf all her life. After a few tries, it came very naturally and I was able to finish the entire batch with ease. It was a tremendously fun and satifying experience. Now I can wrap anything with banana leaves :-). So go ahead, have fun at it!
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RECIPE: Bánh Giò

2 pounds of ground pork
1 small bag of dried black fungus aka wood ear mushrooms (Nấm mèo), finely chopped
2 onion, diced
7 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of pepper
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of fried shallots (hành phi)

Heat the wok and add 1 tablespoon oil in the wok on medium-high heat. Stir in the  garlic until lightly browned.  Add onion and black fungus.  Stir for 1 minute.  Add the rest of filling ingredients and stir it for about 10 minutes or  until cooked through. 
1 box of Kingsford Cornstarch (16 oz)
12 cups of water or use half of water and half of chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons of oil
4 tablespoons of fish sauce if you use only  water
2 tablespoons of fish sauce if you use half water and half chicken broth

In a 5 quarts pot, add all the dough ingredients and stir it until cornstarch dissolved.  Turn the heat on to medium high.  Make sure to stir it constantly for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.

1 bag of frozen banana leaf, trimmed of any brown edges, washed, and wiped. 
Cut into 30 pieces of 4" x 10" or
30 squares of  aluminum foil  9" x 9".
You can also use rice bowls instead wrapping it.

Place a square of aluminum foil in a diamond shape on your work surface. Add a scoopful of the dough in the center and flatten to a circle. Add a spoonful of the meat mixture. Fold the aluminum foil in half to make a triangle with pointed side on top.  Fold in both sides about 3 folds per side, then fold down the top slightly, then fold the bottom ends underneath.
If you use banana leaf, fold a piece of banana left into a cone shape. Add a scoop of dough.  Use a small spoon to make a hole in the center.  Add a spoonful of meat, then cover meat with another scoop of dough.  Fold in four sides.  Do the same if you use rice bowls. 

Steam banh gio over boiling water for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before eating.  Open up the banana leaf  and dig in.  If you love spicy food, eat it with a few slices of fresh chili peppers. 
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Ăn Ngon...


  1. Can you tell me how many Oz is the kingsford cornstarch. Here in Florida both Publix and Walmart do not carry that brand. Is it the same size box as other companies carry?

  2. I am not sure if it is the same size box as other companies carry but it is a 16 oz box.

  3. Sorry, but the measurements for the banana leaf is it in inch or cm

  4. I am's in inch. Have fun making it. Pls let me know how yours turn out. Thanks.

  5. hey Loan, its anonymous from before, the Banh Gio came out really good, thanks for the recipe
    New years coming up so

  6. Do u have to use chicken broth

  7. Chicken broth will add more flavor to the dumpling flour but you can use water if you prefer.

  8. Can u make these ahead and freeze then steam when u r ready to eat??? Thanks

  9. I could not find Kingford cornstarch anywhere.Please tell me where to get it. Thanks.

  10. You can find Kingford cornstarch at any Asian stores .

  11. Can I used tapioca starch substitutes for cornstarch?