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Cassava Cake (Banh Khoai Mi Nuong)

Super Easy Recipe for Cassava Cake (Banh Khoai Mi Nuong) | recipe from runawayrice.comDeliciously starchy cassava (yuca or manioc) is combined with creamy coconut milk and fragrant mung bean to make this scrumptious sweet treat. My recipe makes a simple batter that when baked yields a golden cake that is moist, slightly chewy and just sweet enough. Cut the cake into small pieces and enjoy as finger-food. It makes a perfect little snack or a casual dessert. Enjoy!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Use fresh or frozen cassava. Frozen cassava is really convenient but fresh cassava definitely tastes better.  See my video for how to prepare fresh cassava.

Be sure to mix the mashed mung well so there aren’t big chunks in the batter. Optionally, use an electric mixer to get the batter smooth.

If you’d like a chewier texture, add another 1-2 Tbsp tapioca starch.

This cake is medium in sweetness. Adjust the sweetness to your preference. Optionally, use a sugar substitute.

Line the cake pan with parchment paper to make removing the cake a cinch.

The cake will deflate when it cools and this is normal.

Store any remaining portions in the refrigerator and consume within the week. To reheat, warm the cake in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. You can freeze the cake for up to 3 months when stored in an air-tight container.

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Pumpkin Cassava Cake (Banh Khoai Mi Bi Do), Silkworm Cassava Cake (Banh Tam Khoai Mi), and Steamed Banana Cake (Banh Chuoi Hap).

Ingredients

1 lb frozen grated cassava, thawed
1/2 cup mashed mung bean
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp melted butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transfer the thawed cassava into a colander and allow to drain for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the drained cassava, mashed mung bean, sugar, tapioca starch, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Mix well making sure the batter is free of lumps.

Coat a 9-inch round pan evenly with vegetable oil.

Pour the batter into the oiled baking pan. Holding the sides of the pan, jiggle the pan gently and tap on the counter a few times to settle the batter.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Check to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick. It should come out clean.

Brush the top of the cake with melted butter.

Bake on 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-7 minutes or until the cake is golden on top.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour.

Run a spatula around the cake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the cake from the pan using a large spatula.

To serve, cut into small wedges or bite-sized pieces.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Super Easy Recipe for Vietnamese Cassava Cake (Banh Khoai Mi Nuong) | recipe from runawayrice.com

No-Fuss Recipe for a Sweet and Tasty Viet Treat: Cassava Cake (Banh Khoai Mi Nuong) | recipe from runawayrice.com*This post contains affiliate links.*
 

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Steamed Banana Cake (Banh Chuoi Hap)

A popular Vietnamese dessert, this cake is not overly sweet and has a wonderfully chewy texture.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I am sharing my Mom’s simple and delicious recipe for Steamed Banana Cake.  If you don’t already know, my Mom is the amazing person who taught me everything I know about cooking.  As a child, I spent countless hours with her being her sous chef.  It was in the kitchen that my love for cooking and developing recipes started.  To this day, my Mom is still my culinary mentor.  We share ideas, swap recipes and always look for ways to re-invent dishes.  I had forgotten about this wonderful recipe but on a recent trip home my Mom made this for me.  (It’s just like my Mom to always be thinking about me and making my favorite dishes.)  Her steamed banana cake was perfect–not overly sweet, soft and chewy.  It was so scrumptious!  My Mom generously shared the recipe with much instruction, guidance and love as is everything that she gives.  Now I have the privilege of sharing this recipe with you.  In honor of Mother’s Day, I hope you make this for your Mom or someone who is like a Mom to you to celebrate and cherish how special these ladies are in our lives.  Enjoy!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

I like to use plantains because they have a mealy, starchy texture.  The plantains must be ripe.  You can tell a plantain is ripe by looking at the skin–it should have some black spots but not be completely black.  Also, when pressing on the skin, the fruit should give but not be mushy.  Green plantains take over a week to ripen, much longer than regular bananas.

You can substitute plantains with regular (Cavendish) bananas or any type of banana you like if plantains are difficult to find in your area.  They all work great in this recipe.

Why do I smash the plantains?  I find that smashing the plantains and then soaking in the batter improves the texture of the cake.  Again we’re trying to achieve that balanced combination of a starchy and chewy cake.

The yellow food coloring is optional but really helps to brighten the color of the cake.

Be sure to steam the cakes on Low heat.  Over-steaming will cause the cakes to swell and then deflate when they cool.

I have 2 steamer trays and steam both cakes as once.  If you don’t, just steam one at a time and check the cake for doneness after 15 minutes.

Wrap a kitchen towel around the lid to absorb the moisture so it doesn’t drip onto the cake.  Alternatively, wipe down the lid every 10 minutes.

If using different size pans or molds, the steam times will vary.  Generally, steam the cakes until they turn translucent and no longer wet.  You can test by inserting a toothpick into the center.  If the toothpick comes out clean the cake is done.

When cooking the coconut sauce, be sure to stir every minute and scrap the bottom of the pan to prevent the tapioca pearls from sticking to it.  This sauce needs to be cooked slowly and allowed to set-up and thicken.  If you prefer a much thicker coconut sauce, reduce the water to 1/3 cup.  You can always add more hot water later if you decide you want it saucier.

Store any uneaten portions in the refrigerator.  To reheat the cake, microwave on High for 15-20 seconds.  To reheat the coconut sauce, stir in some hot water to loosen it up and then microwave on High for 30 seconds.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Plantains, Cassava and Tapioca Pearls Dessert (Che Chuoi Khoai Mi Bot Bang)Cassava Cake (Banh Khoai Mi Nuong) and Steamed Layer Cake (Banh Da Lon).

Ingredients

Banana Cake
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
3-4 drops yellow food coloring
4 ripe plantains (approximately 2 lbs)
non-stick cooking spray

Yields: two 9-inch round cakes

Coconut Sauce
3 Tbsp tapioca pearls
1/2 cup warm water (for soaking tapioca pearls)
2 tsp rice flour
14 oz coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water

Yields:  2 1/2 cups

Directions

Banana Cake

In a large bowl, add the tapioca starch, rice flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, warm water and food coloring.  Whisk together combining all of the ingredients well.

Take 3 of the 4 plantains, cut off the ends and remove the skin.  Cut each plantain into 4 equal pieces.  Using a plate, press down firmly on the plantain smashing it flat.  Transfer the smashed plantain into the batter.  Repeat until all plantain sections are smashed and transferred into the batter.  Dunk the plantains into the batter and then stir the batter a few times.  Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

Cut off the ends of the remaining plantain and remove the skin.  Cut the plantain at a slight angle into slices about 1/8-inch thick.

Generously coat two 9-inch round pans with non-stick cooking spray.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plantains to the pans, dividing them evenly.  Stir the batter a few times to remove any settling.  Pour the batter into the pans, dividing it evenly between the two pans.  Top the cakes with the plantain slices.

Bring the water in the steamer basin to a rapid boil.  Reduce the heat to Low.  Place both cakes into the steamer trays and steam for 20 minutes.

Remove from steamer and allow to cool for 1 hour.

Coconut Sauce

Soak the tapioca pearls in warm water for 5 minutes and then drain (discarding the water).

Combine the rice flour with 1 Tbsp water and stir until smooth.

In a saucepan, add the coconut milk, sugar, salt, water and rice flour mixture.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the tapioca pearls and gently combine.

Cook the sauce over Medium Low stirring every minute.  As soon as the sauce starts to bubble, reduce the heat to Low.  Cook the sauce for another 8 minutes making sure to stir every minute.  Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to cool for 20 minutes.

To serve, cut the cake into small pieces and arrange on a dessert plate.  Top the Steamed Banana Cake with a generous amount of the creamy coconut sauce and crushed roasted peanuts.  Enjoy!

Yields: 10-12 servings

This creamy coconut sauce with tapioca pearls is too die for! Go ahead, drizzle it on everything!

Freshly steamed, these delicious cakes are super easy to make. Check out the recipe.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Sticky Rice Cakes with Star Anise (Xoi Vi)

Sticky riceUse cookie cutters to cut these snack cakes into some fun shapes! 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.

Ingredients

Rice Cake
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

Filling
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups mashed mung bean

Directions

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

Use cookie cutters and these cute food storage bags to make a healthy snack for your kids.
Who wouldn’t love finding one of these tasty treats in their lunchbox?

 

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Steamed Rice Cakes/Cow Cakes/Steamed Honeycomb Cakes (Banh Bo Hap)

Soft, moist and delicate, these sweet Steamed Rice Cakes (Banh Bo Hap) are the perfect finger food!

Growing up my sister always called these “Cow Cakes” because “Bánh” in Vietnamese means “Cake” and “Bò” means “Cow”.  My Mom would laugh and explain to her that “Bò” also means “to crawl”.  That’s what the batter does when it’s steamed–it “crawls” upward rising into a puffy cake.  My sister’s nickname for this cake stuck in our household.  Moving to southern California, I was pleasantly surprised to also hear others call them “Cow Cakes”.  Depending on who you ask, you will definitely get different explanations on the name.  Recently I read on Wikipedia the word “Bò” is intended to mean “Cow” as the cakes resemble a cow’s udder.  Well, that I don’t really see.  Call them what you will, these cakes are scrumptious and pretty easy to recognize.  They are sweet, soft and moist and when cut open have honeycombs throughout which give the cakes their interesting spongy, light texture.  The Viet version of these cakes are small and they are usually enhanced with food coloring (green, pink, yellow).

This Viet sweet treat is a dessert everyone should learn to make and it’s not as difficult as you may think.  There are some key techniques you’ll need to learn but once you get these down, you’ll see how easy it is to make these cakes.  Please watch the video, read the recipe along with the tips and tricks and follow the directions closely.  Good Luck with the recipe!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Use fresh active dry yeast.  If the yeast isn’t frothy after letting it rest for 10 minutes the yeast has expired.  The yeast is a key ingredient in this recipe we cannot compromise.

We activate the yeast using warm water that is approximately 100 degrees.  It doesn’t have to be exactly 100 degrees.  A little higher temperature is just fine–just don’t make it too hot, like 130 degrees or more, as this will surely kill the yeast.

In the colder months, the batter may not rise as quickly.  To encourage the batter to rise, place the bowl in the oven with the light on and close the door.  The light will generate some additional heat and further activate the yeast.  During the summer months (air temperature in the 70’s), letting the batter rest on the kitchen counter is just fine.  You do not need to put the batter in the oven during the summer months.

Wrap a large kitchen towel around the steamer lid to absorb the moisture.  This saves time as you don’t have to continually wipe the lid as the cakes are steaming.  If the moisture from the lid drips down onto the cakes, you’ll see little blisters in the cakes.  Also, water drips from the lid could affect the consistency of the cakes as well, and they may become too wet.

You can use liquid or gel food coloring.  Gel food coloring requires lots of mixing so be sure to work it into the batter evenly so there are no streaks or blotches of color.  When adding food coloring, keep in mind the colors brighten when the cakes are steamed so go easy on the food coloring and don’t add too much.

Consider using your wok to steam the cakes if you don’t have a steamer large enough to hold a mini-muffin pan.  The same steaming rules apply.

As an alternative to using a mini muffin pan, you can use any small dishes or cups.  Try to keep them about the same size so they are done steaming at the same time.  To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s done.  The mini-muffins steam for 6 minutes so adjust your steaming time according to the size of your dishes or cups.

Since the batter is near the warm stove, you may notice bubbles forming on top of the batter.  Use a spoon or skimmer to scoop off the bubbles.  These bubbles make the tops of the cakes uneven and bumpy.

As the flour has a tendency to settle, be sure to stir the batter several times before pouring into the pan or dishes.

Having two sets of mini-muffin pans is best.  As one batch is cooling you can start steaming another one.  You’ll be able to make the cakes very quickly.

Be sure to steam the empty muffin pan or dishes before adding the batter.  The hot pan or dishes will help the batter to rise and make the cakes fluffy.

When preparing the steamer, fill the bottom pan with plenty of water,  about 3/4 full.

The steam needs to be strong and steady when cooking these cakes.  The goal is to steam these cakes quickly over High heat.

Store any portions not eaten within the day in an airtight container and refrigerate.  Warm the cakes by popping them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds or steaming for 1 minute.  Consume the cakes within the week.

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nuong).

Ingredients

1/2 cup water + 2 tsp active dry yeast + 1 tsp sugar
1 lb or 3 3/4 cups rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar (approximately 8 grams)
1-14 oz can coconut milk
1 cup water
food coloring: green, pink and yellow
1/4 cup vegetable oil (to oil muffin pans)

Directions

Warm 1/2 cup of water to approximately 100 degrees.  Add the active dry yeast and sugar and stir together.  Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy.

In a large bowl, add the rice flour, tapioca starch and 2 cups water.  Whisk together until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.  Add the frothy yeast mixture to the flour mixture and combine well.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest on the counter for 2 hours.  (If making this during the winter months, please see above Notes.)

In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla sugar, coconut milk and water.  Whisk together until the sugar is dissolved.  Microwave the liquid on High for 1 minute.  Let the liquid cool until the temperature is approximately 100 degrees.

Pour the coconut milk mixture into the batter and whisk together combining well.  Strain the batter.  Pour the batter into 4 separate cups or bowls, approximately 1 3/4 cups each.   Add your choice of food coloring to each batch.   Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

Fill a steamer basin 3/4 of the way with water.  Cover and bring to a rapid boil over High heat.

Using a small brush, lightly oil each of the cups of the muffin pan.  Place the empty muffin pan into the steamer tray and steam for 1 minute.

Stir the batter a few times and then pour the batter into the muffin cups filling each cup almost to the top.  (Leave some room so the cakes can expand and rise.)  Cover and steam the cakes for 3 minutes.  Remove the lid and wipe off the moisture.  Replace the lid and steam for another 3 minutes.

Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.

Enjoy these cakes while they’re fresh.  A simply delicious way to serve these cakes is to drizzle them with a creamy Coconut Sauce and then top with roasted sesame seeds.

Yields:  5 dozen

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

These scrumptious cakes made of rice flour, tapioca starch and coconut milk are soft, spongy and perfectly sweet!

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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How to Prepare Fresh Coconut

Whole Coconuts - the lighter the outer covering, the younger the coconut.

Whole Coconuts – the lighter the outer covering, the younger the coconut.

Daunted by the thought of opening a fresh coconut?  Worried you may chop your hand off?  Fear no more friends, it’s not as difficult as you may think!  In the below video I share tips and tricks for opening a coconut and the different tools you can use to prepare fresh coconut for your favorite dishes.

Coconut is a ubiquitous ingredient in many Viet dishes but some folks are really reluctant to use fresh ones opting for the frozen kind instead.  The frozen variety is super convenient but when I have the time, I like to use fresh coconut.  I love the aroma of freshly shredded coconut and cannot resist snacking on the fresh coconut meat when preparing it.  If they’re on sale, I’ll buy 4 or 5, prep and freeze them.  If sealed in an air-tight container or food storage bag, they’re good for up to 6 months.  I hope you’ll give these techniques a try and share your feedback!

Below are some recipes which are awesome with fresh coconut.
Sweet Rice Flakes with Coconut (Com Dep Tron Dua)
Sweet Fillings for Desserts and Pastries:  Mung Bean and Coconut
Avocado Smoothie (Sinh To Bo)
Tapioca and Mung Bean Cake (Banh Xu Xe/Banh Phu The)

Watch the video below for instructions.

This hand tool creates two different shreds and is an easy way to enjoy fresh coconut without having to remove the meat from the shell!

This hand tool creates two different shreds and is an easy way to enjoy fresh coconut without having to remove the meat from the shell!

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