Côm Bac Hà is produced from local varieties of sticky rice grown on mountains with a cold climate. Maybe that's why the grain is sweet and has a very special taste, quite different from that produced in other places.
The production of com is a closed cycle from the harvest of the rice to the packaging. The seeds whose bark is still green are winnowed to eliminate the hollow seeds and keep only the best. These are washed and left to dry before being roasted in a cast iron skillet over a charcoal oven for about two hours. According to the Tày à Bac Hà, roasting is one of the most important stages, which determines the quality of the product.
The fire should be kept at a stable level and the worker should turn the rice continuously. A job mainly reserved for women, considered more demanding and above all more patient than men!
Once cooled slightly, the grains are then pounded in a mortar. During the pounding, the aim is to gradually eliminate the balls until really binding seeds are obtained.
The finished product should be wrapped - often in dong (phrynium) leaves so that it does not dry out and lose its green color.
The scents of the côm and fresh phrynium leaves combine well, giving the particular flavor of the Bac Hà côm.
If you have the opportunity to visit Bac Hà during the rice ripening period, check this delicious dish from the list of specialties to discover. There is no doubt that you will forever remember the fragrance and the suppleness of the côm of this mountainous district of the North.
Text and photos: Phuong Mai /CVN
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