Sticky rice and mung bean are the dynamic duo in Viet cooking. These two ingredients are commonly used to make a variety of sweet and savory dishes. (Check out the other sticky rice and mung bean recipes I’ve shared below.) This recipe falls into the Dessert category although it’s just slightly sweet. The recipe is super easy and unlike some desserts that need to look perfectly pulled together, this dish can be more rustic looking. So don’t obsess if the layers aren’t perfectly even and uniform. You won’t even notice them as you’re gobbling up the cakes–I promise! 🙂
Notes on the recipe, tips and tricks
Know your sticky rice–I’ve mentioned this in an earlier post but want to emphasize how important this concept is. Different varieties and brands of sticky rice require different water levels. For sticky rice that is not soaked (as in this recipe), use a water to rice ratio of 1:1 when cooking in a rice cooker. Again, this varies depending on the brand and variety. This recipe requires a good amount of rice and I don’t want you to waste it, so, if you are not sure how much water to use with your particular brand of rice, make a test batch by cooking 1 cup of sticky rice with 1 cup of water. Then adjust the water levels accordingly.
Sticky rice is chewier and has more texture than regular white rice. A lot of people make the mistake of not cooking it fully. Using a standard rice cooker, after it switches over to the “Keep Warm” function, don’t open the lid and stir the rice right away. Allow it to cook for another 10-15 minutes. This extra time makes a big difference in improving the texture of the rice.
If your rice cooker isn’t big enough to cook all the rice at once, separate it into two batches. Keep the batches separate and this saves you the step of having to divide the rice for the 2 layers.
Use a food scale to weigh the rice and this will ensure your layers are even.
The mung bean filling should have the consistency of whipped potatoes when done cooking. As the filling cools, it will thicken up further. If your filling is still drippy after cooking for the suggested time, continue cooking to evaporate the liquid. Optionally, you can thicken the filling by adding cooked glutinous rice flour, approximately 1 tsp – 1 Tbsp should do the trick.
These cakes freeze and reheat really well. Cut the cakes into squares and then wrap individually with plastic wrap. Place all the wrapped cakes inside a resealable plastic bag and store in your freezer. When you need a breakfast or a quick snack, just take one of the cakes out of the freezer and microwave on High for 1-2 minutes. The cakes can be frozen for up to 3 months.
A lot of folks find star anise a bit overpowering. This recipe doesn’t use much of the spice but if you don’t like it, you can skip it or substitute with Pandan essence.
Want more sticky rice and mung bean recipes? Check out some of the other recipes I’ve shared:
Sticky Rice and Mung Bean Cakes (Banh Tet)
Sticky Rice and Hominy (Xoi Bap)
Sticky Rice and Mung Bean Dumplings (Banh Khuc)
Quick Sticky Rice and Mung Bean (Xoi Xeo)
Watch the video below for instructions.
4 1/2 cups sticky rice (also called glutinous rice or sweet rice)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coconut milk
3 cups water (see Notes above and adjust as needed)
5 drops green food coloring
2 dried star anise or 1/2 tsp star anise powder
1/4 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups mashed mung bean
Wash the rice by rinsing with cool water 3-4 times or until the water is clear. Drain the rice using a colander. Toss the rice in the colander for 1 minute to shake off any remaining water.
Add the rice into the rice cooker along with the sugar, salt, coconut milk, water and the green food coloring and combine well. Level the rice in the cooker by using the back of a spoon. Place the lid on and set to Cook. After the rice cooker switches to the Keep Warm function, allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes.
To make the filling, in a wok over Medium Low, combine the coconut milk, sugar and salt and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the mashed mung bean and combine with the syrup. Stir the filling continuously to incorporate all the ingredients. Cook for approximately 7 minutes or until the filling thickens and resembles whipped potatoes. Let the filling cool while continuing with the next steps.
In a small skillet over Low heat, toast the star anise until they become fragrant, approximately 2-3 minutes. Place the star anise into a spice grinder and pulse until it’s a fine powder. Sift the powder into a small bowl and then set aside. (The larger bits can be discarded.)
After the rice is finished cooking, remove the lid and stir the rice gently. Add the star anise powder and mix with the rice. Allow the rice to cool for 10 minutes. Divide the rice in half and place in separate bowls.
Add vegetable oil into a 13×9 inch pan and use a paper towel to spread the oil and wipe up any excess. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of the sesame seeds into the bottom of the pan.
Take spoonfuls of the rice and place into the pan using up the first batch of rice. With your hands, spread and firmly press the rice into the pan. Add the filling and spread evenly over the rice. Add the second batch of rice as was done previously. Again, spread and press the rice, covering the mung bean filling. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
To serve, cut the cake into medium-sized pieces and enjoy!
Store any remaining cake in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months to enjoy later.
Yields: 13×9 inch pan, approximately 20 pieces