27.08.2021, 09:15

The cake that makes Southerners mistake it for a drink

The name “Sweet Soup Lam” makes many people in the South think that this is a sweet dessert eaten with ice or a dish made from Sweet Soup leaves.

The first time he went to Hanoi was in December 2019, Chi Minh (25 years old, Ho Chi Minh City) was invited by a friend to eat lam tea. Having never tried this dish before, he thought it was the name of a drink made from green tea leaves because Northerners often call it Sweet Soup. “I was quite surprised when I found out that this is a cake, not a drink as I thought,” he said, adding that the cake is as chewy as gum, has a fleshy, sweet, and fragrant taste of ginger.

And Thanh Chu (24 years old, Dong Nai) thinks that Sweet Soup lam is the name of a sweet dessert eaten with ice. Having the opportunity to visit a friend’s hometown in Thanh Hoa on the occasion of Tet, he had a chance to try lam tea and knew he was wrong.

The cake that makes Southerners mistake it for a drink
Lam tea is handmade, people add pandan leaves and gac fruit to diversify flavors and colors. Photo: Ngoc Thanh

In fact, che lam is the name of a cake with the main ingredients including glutinous rice flour, molasses, malt, ginger, and roasted peanuts. In the North, the dish used to appear on holidays and Tet. Today, lam tea is quite popular and can be purchased at any time of the year. When eating the cake, cut it into small pieces.

Che lam is present in many provinces and cities, there are places that have become the trademark of this dish such as Thach Xa in Thach That district, Ha Hoi; Lam tea in Duong Lam ancient village, Son Tay town, or Phu Quang tea in Vinh Loc district, Thanh Hoa.

According to the elders in Thach Xa, the cake was born because the people wanted to pay their respects to the Buddha with a local product on every holiday and Tet. In the 15th century, when the Lam Son insurgent army passed through the village, the people of Thach Xa gave them tea leaves as long-term food. The hundred-year-old cake is like a specialty of the Northern countryside.

The stage of stirring tea powder determines the softness and flexibility of the dish. Photo: Ngoc Thanh

Traditional green tea has a simple way of making, but the selection of ingredients must be meticulous. The type of sticky rice to make tea must choose the sticky rice with yellow flowers, the seeds are stretchy and white, then fragrant and finely ground, the finer the dough, the more delicious the cake. Golden roasted peanuts split in half, ginger chooses old roots, scrape off the skin and then boil, cut thinly or pound to make it fragrant and flexible. This is also the secret to making delicious tea from skilled people. Sugarcane molasses helps the sweet taste of tea lam to be both bold and aromatic.

In the traditional way, but molasses, malt, ginger, and filtered water into the pot to boil, then add glutinous rice flour, roasted peanuts into the pot, pay attention to stir well, immediately so that the dough does not stick and burn. If you add too little flour, the tea will stick, if there is a lot of flour, the cake will harden quickly, so the maker has to make a thick and flexible soup, then stop so that the cake is soft when eating.

The remaining roasted glutinous rice flour spreads a thick layer of pure white on the tray, at this time the finished batch of green tea is poured on top to cool, then cut into small bars with scissors, both cutting and rubbing the powder coating evenly. pieces so they don’t stick together.

Che Lam cut into small bars, the outside is a layer of smooth roasted glutinous rice flour. Photo: Ngoc Thanh

Now you don’t have to wait until Tet to eat Banh Sweet Soup Lam. When the wind blows at the beginning of the season, the sunlight is less dazzling, people also start to enjoy the rustic cake with the fragrant plasticity of glutinous rice, the spiciness of ginger, the fatty flesh of peanuts, and the rich sweetness of the rice. molasses. Che lam will be more delicious when sipping with a sip of warm, delicious green tea, enjoying the full deliciousness of a gift from the countryside.

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