Vietnamese hams, or chả is ubiquitous part of Vietnamese cuisine. But like many Vietnamese dishes, the people of each region add special touches to a dish and call it their own. And it’s no different with chả Huế, a relative unknowned compared with chả lụa. This ham originates from Huế, the ancestral capital of Vietnam and is often eaten as a snack and as a meat topping to the classic bún bò Huế soup. In fact, we’re always a tad disappointed when we don’t get a nugget of chả Huế in our soup. Why so? Well, to the generically mild pork paste giò sống, a generous amount of minced garlic and cracked pepper corns are added, transforming a typically mild chả into one with a delicious kick.

You can make your own pork paste or buy them premade in the frozen or refrigerated section of your Vietnamese market.  Individually wrapped and steamed in banana leaves, these make for great gifts when visiting friends or relatives, especially with the Lunar new year, Tet, right around the corner.  Here’s a short video on how to roll chả Huế.

Chả Huế

Yield: 10

Ingredients:

1 lb raw pork paste (giò sống)
1 tbs of coarsely cracked white or black peppercorns
1 head of garlic finely minced
1/2 tbs sugar
1/2 ts fish sauce
~10-12 sheets of 4 x 6 inch banana leaves and thin 6x 1/4 inch banana leaf strips to tie

Directions:

Prepare your steamer. Combine all the ingredients into a mixing bowl until well incorporated. You can pinch off 1/2 ts and microwave it for about 30s and season to taste. Add more garlic and/or peppercorns if you like it more spicy.

Place about 1 heaping tbs of mixture onto one end of the banana leaf. Fold over the side edges and roll the pork mixture. Seal with the banana strip by giving it several twists and tuck the loose ends under. See video above.

Steam for 10 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked. Enjoyed immediately or at room temperature.