Mai Chau’s Purple Steamed Glutinous Rice and Chicken Grilled with Wild Pepper

Curious about the verse “Her season of fragrance of glutinous rice in Mai Chau” in the poem “Tay Tien” by poet Quang Dung, we decided to visit Lac Hamlet in Mai Chau township in the northern province of Hoa Binh. We were amazed at the landscape of the area and had a chance to enjoy many traditional foods of the Thai ethnic people, including the most famous dish - purple steamed glutinous rice and chicken grilled with wild pepper.

The dish requires some special ingredients, including the variety of glutinous rice which is only grown in terraced-fieldsin Mai Chau and magenta leaves which are available in forests in Hoa Binh. To prepare the dish, the magenta leaves need to be cleaned before being boiled with water and a dash of salt to make the purple water. Soak sticky rice into the prepared water until they have a purple colour and then steam them until well-done. This dish is more delicious when it is served with grilled chicken which is also prepared in a different way.

The ingredients consist of chicken, wild pepper, glutinous rice of Mai Chau and magenta leaves.

Chicken is mixed with wild pepper before being grilled over a charcoal fire until it turns brown.

Soak glutinous rice in the purple water made from magenta leaves and then steam until well done.

The eye-catching and delicious dish of the Thai ethnic people
in Lac Hamlet, Mai Chau township in the northern province of Hoa Binh.

The Thai people use a special wild pepper, called “Mac ken” to mix with the chicken for a few hours before grilling it over a low charcoal fire. When the chicken is well-done, it has a specific flavor of smoked wild peppers and its meat is tender and succulent.

According to Ha Van Minh, the owner of a stilt house in Lac Hamlet, it is a traditional dish of the Thai ethnic people to offer to the Kitchen Gods. Since the locals have participated in developing community tourism, the dish is introduced to tourists as a delicacy of the region.

By Tran Thanh Giang