Bánh Tổ is the name of traditional cakes made of nothing more than sugar, water and glutinous rice flour. These cakes are made during Tết (Lunar New Year) as an offering to the gods and ancestors. Hence, grants it the name: Bánh Tổ, as Tổ is the Vietnamese word for ancestors.  Tổ can also mean nest.  Since the cakes are usually the size of a bird's nest, Bánh Tổ symbolizes family, togetherness and happiness. 
 There are 2 versions of bánh tổ, one is made of đường thẻ and ginger, the other is made with white sugar and the ginger is withheld. This year I decided to give the traditional white version a twist by making it with coconut milk. These cakes are served “as is” sweet and chewy. After a couple of days the cake will harden, once it reaches this state, it is usually sliced into thin strips, dipped into battened eggs and fried. 

Brown Sugar and Ginger Version:
-400g glutinous rice flour
-300g đường thẻ (Chinese brown sugar aka bar/slab sugar)
-375g water
-3 inch piece of ginger
-sesame seeds (optional)

What to Do:
Toast sesame seeds. Crush ginger and boil together with sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Cool syrup completely and remove ginger. Mix syrup with flour into a thick batter. Grease moulds (rice bowls or cake pans) with some oil. Ladle batter into moulds steam over high heat for 20 mins (if using rice bowls), longer if using a larger mold. Use a pastry design stamp (same one used to make bánh bía) to stamp on the good luck symbols using red food coloring as ‘ink’ decorate with sesame seeds.

“White” Coconut Version:
-400g glutinous rice flour
-300g sugar
-200g coconut milk/cream
-175g water

What to Do:
Mix everything together to make smooth batter. Grease moulds, pour in batter and steam. Stamp with pastry design stamp for good luck.

For the traditional White version, replace coconut milk with water. The amount of water and coconut milk can be adjusted just as long as there is a total of 375g of “liquid”.

Comments (9)

On 6:10 AM , jadepearl said...

So many yummy goodies!!! Wah, you have been busy, busy, busy in the kitchen.

Gong Xi Fa Chai to you and your family!!!

On 7:12 AM , rokh said...

mm this one seem so easy and i have all the ingredients. must do it! thanks

On 4:39 PM , Tazz said...

tt, Happy New Year! :)

On 9:28 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

happy new year everybody!

On 10:26 PM , SeaDragon said...

tt, have a wonderful and properous new year :)

On 7:38 PM , Unknown said...

is there a good place in Seattle / Vancouver (or online) to buy these 'Chinese stamps' and other Asian bakeware?

I live in the Seattle area too.

BTW, I see many comments about metric measurements. Just so you know, a gram of water = 1 mL = 1 cubic centimeter. So 175g water = 175 mL.

NOTE: different liquids have different densities, so that rule only works for water.

Where do you buy koh fun in the Seattle metro area? Ranch 99 doesn't know what I am talking about, even if I write the Chinese characters.

On 1:33 PM , AikoVenus said...

Those look so tasty! Next new years I think I'll make this as well. ^^

On 12:24 PM , Unknown said...

please tell me where can I get the stamp for the cake

On 11:02 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

Nha Van,

i purchased the stamps in Vietnam. However, you can buy rubber stamps from craft stores and they work just as well.