For quality cashews, there’s only one place to go - Bình Phước, the birthplace of cashews, more than 100km to the north of Hồ Chí Minh City.
Cashew nuts have put this place firmly on the map, and locals living here serve up the delicacy with added ingredients of love and pride.
Chef Tô Văn Phục said cashew biscuits are his most popular sweet food.
“We often receive a lot of visitors and travellers from HCM City and surrounding provinces to Bình Phước to enjoy our cashew cakes,” Phục said, adding that many of them asked his restaurant to serve them roast salted cashews to sip with a glass of wine.
|Cashew biscuits, a must-try sweet food when visiting the southern province of Bình Phước. Photo sgdbinhphuoc.edu.vn|
Nguyễn Lam Kiều is a regular visitor from HCM City.
“At the weekend we often drive to visit Bình Phước and enjoy cashew biscuits," she said.
“We are attracted to the cakes because of its buttery, crisp taste and aromatic flavours. The cake is more enjoyable when eaten with a hot cup of tea. It is suitable to take on picnic or a snack when travelling. My parents are particularly interested in the cake because of its special fragrant taste and its nutrition values.”
Kiều’s mother said cashew nuts help to reduce cholesterol levels and is very good for cardiovascular system and osteoarthritis.
|Ingredients to make cashew biscuits include cashew nuts, wheat flour, cinnamon powder, butter among others. Photo sgdbinhphuoc.edu.vn|
“That’s why I eat the nuts every day to prevent blood hypertension and diabetes,” she said.
Chef Phục told Việt Nam News the main ingredients to make the cake are baking soda, wheat flour, cinnamon powder, sugar, eggs, cooking oil, vanilla, butter, salt and, of course, cashew nuts.
First, cashew nuts should be cleaned carefully before soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then cooled and dried with tissues.
Second, mix all the ingredients together then put sugar, butter, egg and cooking oil in and use a hand mixer to mix them into dough, said Phục.
Finally making the dough into flat cakes about 4cm in diameter and top with salted cashew nuts.
|Sticky rice (locally known as bánh tét) cake with cashew filling is a popular dish in Bình Phước. Photo luhanhvietnam.com.vn|
The cakes should be baked for around 13 minutes at 180-200 degrees Celsius.
Once complete, the cake has a bright yellow colour from the eggs and flour, crispy from cashews, fragrant from the cinnamon and smooth and sweet from the butter, sugar and cooking oil, said Phục.
The cashew biscuits are an ideal gift to bring home for friends and relatives, he added.
Apart from making cakes, locals also make cashew sweets, cashew spring rolls, cashew salad, stir-fried chicken with cashews, cashew porridge, sticky rice cake with cashew filling, and many others, he said.
|Bình Phước's roast salted cashews are considered the best in the country. Photo mia.vn|
Bình Phước is blessed with fertile, basalt land and is rich with minerals to grow the best cashew trees compared with other areas.
Farmers often harvest cashew nuts from February to May and when dry season starts, conditions are perfect to dry the nuts naturally to ensure the best possible taste. VNS