Another one of the must-made Vietnamese dish to me is banh mi or Vietnamese sandwich. This cha que/ Vietnamese baked cinnamon pate recipe I shared here was particularly made to go with the banh mi.
Cha que is smooth in texture and goes very well with noodle or rice dishes, not to mention goes super well with banh mi. The pork is marinated in fish sauce, cinnamon, sugar, black pepper and corn starch for at least 4 hours, preferably 24 hours if possible. The meat is then processed into a paste and baked. This baked pate is also readily available at the freezer section at Asian grocery store if you don’t feel like making it. I know I said this a lot, however, this pate is really not that hard to make. The food processor and oven will do the job for you 🙂 This pate can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. I know the Vietnamese find this indispensable in their kitchen. Thanks to the Hot,Sour,Salty,Sweet cookbook by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid that I could make this cha que to go along with banh mi.
CHA QUE/ VIETNAMESE BAKED CINNAMON PATE (8x8-inch)
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 lb boneless lean fresh ham or trimmed shoulder or other roast
- 1 oz pork fat
- In a medium bowl, stir together the corn starch and fish sauce, then stir in the remaining marinade ingredients. Add enough water to make a fairly liquid paste
- Trim the pork of fat, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and put into the marinade. Turn to coat with the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or as long as 24 hours. Before proceeding, place the meat and fat in the freezer for 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Place the fat in a food processor and process to a paste. Remove and set aside. Place the chilled meat mixture in the processor (batch by batch) and process to a fine paste. Add the fat and pulse briefly to blend the two
- Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and press it evenly into the pan with wet hands. Smooth the top and place in the center of the oven
- Bake until browned on top, about 40 minutes. Cool in the pan. Slice into long narrow slices or cut into cubes. Store, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month