Every September, and October, every year, when arriving in Yen Bai, visitors can not only see the ripe rice season but also witness the process of making Tu Le nuggets – a dish imbued with quintessence. of the Northwest.
Along National Highway 32 from Nghia Lo to Van Chan, Mu Cang Chai, at every distance, there are huts selling Tu Le nuggets set up along the road and along the field. The stall simply has a small table with a batch of young green nuggets placed in baskets and baskets covered with dong leaves.
Next to the finished product display area are mortars that are fixed to the ground. Here, two people in a family will work together rhythmically to pound nuggets, producing batches of fragrant, sweet, sticky rice.
Just quickly, Ms. Huong Ngoan (36 years old, Tu Le commune, Van Chan) has just introduced to visitors the special feature of Tu Le nuggets and the elaborate process of making nuggets.
According to Ms. Ngoan, Tu Le nuggets are made from tan sticky rice – a precious type of sticky rice that can only be grown in Tu Le soil. Tu Le commune is surrounded by three mountains Khau Pha, Khau Than and Khau Song, so the climate is cool all year round.
Tu Le soil has a lot of humus and minerals, fresh spring water from the top of Khau Pha pass flows down to nourish the sticky rice plants that melt day by day. Those are the natural factors that create the sweetness and sweetness of Tu Le sticky rice.
Early in the morning every day, Thai women will get up early to go to the fields to cut rice. The rice brought back is soaked in cold water to remove the flat seeds and then put on a large frying pan to roast.
“Each batch can only be roasted up to 10kg and roasted again and again up to 3 or 4 times (times). When roasting, you need to stir your hands to make the nuggets cook evenly and bring out the aroma. This is laborious and requires perseverance. of the nuggets,” said Ngoan.
After roasting the nuggets, it’s time to pound the nuggets. Previously, there were no supporting separators, the crushing of nuggets was much more laborious. Nowadays, with the aid of shelling machines, they have saved more time and effort.
The process of pounding nuggets must involve two people. A foot user controls the pestle. The pounding foot must be even and rhythmically so that the pounding pestle is neither too strong nor too light.
Another person will use a bamboo stick to stir continuously, when seeing that there is rice husk, shovel it out and then put it in the mortar to continue pounding. About 10 times pounding like that to complete a batch of nuggets.
When asked about the secret to making delicious batches of nuggets, Ms. Hoang Thi Giang (55 years old, Tu Le commune) said, it is important to choose the right time to cut the rice.
The rice for making nuggets is selected individually, must be the rice in the process of bending, the seed head still has a little milk, the skin is slightly yellowish and the grain is not fully ripe. The nuggets made from this type of rice will be round, fragrant, sweet and have the most beautiful green color.
With her relatives renting a 29-seat tourist car to visit the ripe rice season, Le Thi Chi (in Thuong Tin, Hanoi) and the group stopped along Highway 32, opposite the gate to greet the tourist icon of Mu Cang Chai.
Hanoi women are very excited to witness firsthand the process of making handmade nuggets of the Thai people in Tu Le.
“I used to enjoy Com Vong village, but when I tried Tu Le nuoc, I felt its own delicious taste. In particular, we were able to directly observe the steps of making green rice and taste it as soon as it was fresh. It was a very interesting experience,” said Ms. Chi.
Although it is processed very well, Tu Le nuggets are quite affordable, only 120,000 VND/kg. In addition to selling on the spot, many families also send cars to Hanoi or neighboring provinces if customers order.
Tu Le com and terraced fields are making the brand of Yen Bai highland land, attracting more and more tourists to this Northwest region.
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