Ca Mau crepe
Every time I go through the crepe store and hear the “xeo xeo” sound when the seller pours the cake in the pan, my childhood memories comes back. I begin to remember, love and crave for the flavor of crepe.
Ca Mau people consider crepe as a reunion cake because they only make crepe when all family members are present. In order to complete crepe, it is necessary to implement many stages with the participation of many members in the family: grind flour, scrape coconut, prepare cake core, fish-sauce, pick vegetables.
Hot crepe is served with forest vegetables
The most important part of making crepes is probably flour preparation. Unlike now, crepe flour is available in the market. Villagers who want to make crepe must soak rice in water one night in advance so that rice become soft in the next morning. Then rice is grinded into white fine powder by millstone. When rice flour is finished, add the wheat flour and turmeric powder, some pre-stirred eggs, coconut milk, spices, green onion. This mixture can be considered as finished cake powder.
Crepe core is also very important. Crepe core may be made from pork, chicken, duck meat or maybe fresh shrimp, etc. and other types such as beansprout, “Nan tuoi”, sliced cassava or coconut root, which can be said nothing is as delicious as it is.
Crepe should be combined with sweet and sour fish sauce. Fish sauce preparation for crepe is also considered as a meticulous part of crepe-making. Firstly, chop chili and garlic, mix with spices, lemon juice, then add the fish sauce and a little warm water to limit the saltiness of fish sauce. Salted turnip and radish can be used in combination with fish sauce to enhance the flavor of crepe.
Crepe can be eaten with many kinds of vegetables, especially “forest vegetables” and garden vegetables such as Cach leaves, Cach Loi leaflets, young mango leaves, “cool rice” leaves, perilla leaves, young lotus leaves, Chum Ruot leaves, young mint leaves, Bong Soi Nhai leaves, fig leaves, Binh linh sprouts, Lut sprouts, The vegetables, sky mustard greens, paederia tomentosa, centella, green lettuce, salad, heartleaf, basil, aromatic herbs, etc
When the preparation of ingredients has finished. An important step and the last step is to fry cake. If cake-frying is an art of cooking, then cook can also called as an artist who must be meticulous, clever and enduring for hours in the furnace. In order to have a delicious eye-catching crepe, the pan should be special and the flame must be not too large nor too small. The pan is heated and then oil is added. Stir flour and scoop into the pan, quickly rotate the pan until the flour evenly covers the pan. Now just cover the pan and wait until the crepe is nearly cooked, add the core prepared. When the crepe becomes crispy, it is time to take it out. A delicious crepe must be crispy and not too greasy. It is great to sit next to the fire, hear the “Xeo Xeo” sound and sniff at the smell of fried crepe.
It is said that crepe must be eaten by hand because we can wrap the crepe with vegetables and fish sauce easily before putting it into the mouth, which is difficult to carry out when using chopsticks. It will not be strange when people who eat Ca Mau crepe and forest vegetable remember the atmosphere in their hometown.
Today, in the hustle and bustle atmosphere of the modern life, crepe appears not only in family gatherings but also in many areas of Ca Mau from the town to the city. Tourists coming to Ca Mau can enjoy genuine crepe and forest vegetables, which shows culinary culture of the Southernmost land of Vietnam.
Photo and Article: Duong Kim Chuyen
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