Banh it (Little Cake) is one of specialties of the central in Viet Nam, commonly used in regional death anniversaries and marriage rituals as well, but now it has become a snack that you can enjoy anytime.
There are two versions of banh it: the sweet one is called “banh it la gai” and the salty one is known as “banh it tom thit”, both of which are unique and appetising. The sweet cake is simply a mung bean paste ball covered by dough made from the mixture of grounded “gai” leaves, sugar and sticky rice flour.
Sweetened ground coconut sometimes is used instead of mung bean. After folding banana leaves into a cone shape, drop the ball into it and then fold in four sides, creating a pyramid shaped cake.
Steaming is the last step to bring out the cake a glossy deep black color stemming from “gai” leaves, a sweet taste of sugar, mung bean and glutinous rice, and a delicate aroma of banana leaves and “gai” leaves.
For the salty cake, minced pork meat, prawn, mashed mung bean onion and seasonings are stirred fried until well-done and thick to make the filling and the dough is only made of rice flour.
The cake could be either traditionally wrapped into banana leaves or not. Indeed, both versions of little cake are so mouthwatering and small so you could hardly imagine how fast you relish the whole cake, but enjoying them gradually is much better, of course.