Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake (Banh Gio)

Often I crave my favorite Viet dishes but don’t have the time to make them as per the traditional recipes.  This Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake is one of those dishes where the prep time can be a bit daunting.  Called Banh Gio, this savory cake is typically individually wrapped in banana leaves in the shape of a pyramid.  Although knowing how to wrap these cakes is a skill I think every good cook should master, most days I just want to enjoy the wonderful taste of this dish without the fuss.  And so my shortcut is to make just one cake.  It’s super simple and super fast and less time cooking means more time eating! 🙂

Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake (Banh Gio) - Easy, Delicious Shortcut Recipe | recipe from

Quick Tip: If you enjoy the aroma of the banana leaves, line the bowl with the leaves.

Watch the video for instructions.

Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake / Banh Gio


2 Tbsp dried black fungus slivers (also called wood ear mushrooms)
1/2 small onion
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 pound ground chicken (or any ground meat of your choice)
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
non-stick cooking spray

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup rice flour
14.5 oz can chicken broth or homemade chicken stock or pork stock


Soak mushrooms in warm water for 10 minutes to rehydrate.  Drain, and coarsely chop.

Peel onions and finely dice.

Heat a wok over High heat.  Add olive oil and garlic.  Stir fry for 5 seconds.  Add onions and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and ground meat and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Use a spoon to break the meat into smaller pieces.  Add fish sauce, oyster sauce and ground black pepper and stir fry for another 2 minutes. (We are only partially cooking the meat and so it will still be a bit pink.) Remove from the heat.

Spray non-stick cooking spray inside a 8 inch round glass bowl or baking dish.  Smear the oil evenly using a paper towel or pastry brush.

Fill the steamer bottom halfway with water.  Add the steamer tray.  Cover and bring to a boil over High heat.

In a measuring cup, combine water, cornstarch and rice flour and stir until smooth.

In a saucepan over High heat, bring the chicken broth to a boil, then turn heat to low. Stir the flour/water mixture one more time and then pour into saucepan with the chicken broth.  Stir everything together.  The mixture starts to thicken in 1-2 minutes.  As soon as the dough becomes creamy (but still slightly runny), turn off the heat.  Continue stirring quickly as the dough thickens.  It should look like a thick pudding when finished.  This entire process is fast and takes just 2-3 minutes.  If the dough is lumpy, remove from heat and keep stirring and the lumps should disappear.

Spoon half of the dough into the glass dish and spread evenly.  Add the meat filling and distribute almost to the edge of the bowl or dish.  Add the remaining dough on top and smooth with a spatula.

Place the dish onto the steamer  tray and steam for 20 minutes.

Remove the dish from steamer and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve the Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake with the soy sauce dipping sauce and some chili paste.

Yields: 8 inch round cake, 6-8 servings

Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake (Banh Gio) - Enjoy in Half the Time! | recipe from

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8 Responses to Steamed Minced Meat Rice Cake (Banh Gio)

  1. Thuy November 9, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    Hi Trang, so glad i found your very aptly-named website. My kids had been reaping the benefit of your delicious recipes, specifically, banh cuon and this version of banh gio. You are a genius. For health reason, we had not been eating out as much. Now with the help of your blog, I can make Vietnamese food that is healthy for my family on the weekend AND WEEKDAYS as well. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Trang November 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

      Hi Thuy,

      I am delighted to hear you and your family are enjoying the recipes on my blog. I share your sentiments about eating out less. Even though restaurant food tastes amazing, I often worry about the quality and cleanliness. Your family is very fortunate to have you, someone who cares so much about their health and well-being. Happy Cooking and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂

  2. Minh February 3, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    Hi Trang,

    I made this recipe this morning, but I made the filling vegetarian. It came out very very good. I love your video and recipe. Everything is explained clearly and precisely. I love banh gio and was afraid of making it with banana leaves. Your version is just as good and so easy.

    My banh gio is a little dry on the top. Do you think it was because I over-stirred it? I also didn’t have a proper steamer and used foil paper to cover the wok. Perhaps too much steam escaped and left the top part dry?

    Thank you again for your wonderful videos. Minh 🙂

    • Trang February 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

      Hi Minh,
      I am glad to hear you enjoyed this short cut recipe. Regarding your question about the top of the cake being dry: Was the inside of the cake a bit dry as well? If so, I would suggest adding another 1/4 cup of water or broth. If just the top was dry, I would suggest adding lots of water in the wok to make sure there’s plenty of steam to keep the cake moist. Covering the wok with foil is just fine and you make sure to cover it securely. (I don’t think over-stirring the batter is the issue.) I hope you’ll give the recipe another try. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

      • JLee May 2, 2020 at 12:58 pm #

        Quick question ….. for the batter I used tapioca flour instead of cornstarch but for some reason after steaming, my batter separated. Why is that???? Is it bc I used different ingredients? My flour was sweet grain rice (I had to improvise and grined my own flour). Looks almost the same but you can see separation. Also I didn’t have stock so used whatever water that was already in the mixture. I kept stiring but did not meld together. Thanks!

        • Trang June 28, 2021 at 3:00 pm #

          Cornstarch is needed for this recipe. Give it another try. Good Luck!

  3. kim March 6, 2014 at 7:26 am #

    Instead of cornstarch and I use tapioca flour?

    • Trang March 6, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Hi Kim,

      You can but it won’t have the same consistency or taste. Good Luck!

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