Sticky Rice Cakes with Star Anise (Xoi Vi)

This easy recipe for Sticky Rice Cakes with Star Anise (Xoi Vi) features the dynamic duo in Viet cooking: glutinous rice and mung bean.  These two ingredients are commonly used to make a variety of sweet and savory dishes.  The yummy snack cakes fall into the Dessert category although they’re just slightly sweet.  The Sticky Rice Cakes with Star Anise are super easy to make and unlike some desserts that need to look perfectly pulled together, these cakes can be more rustic looking.  So don’t obsess if the layers aren’t perfectly even and uniform.  You won’t even notice as you’re gobbling up the yummy stick rice cakes–I promise! 🙂

Use cookie cutters to cut these snack cakes into some fun shapes!

Notes on the Sticky Rice Cakes with Star Anise (Xoi Vi) Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Know your glutinous/sweet rice–I’ve mentioned this in an earlier post but want to emphasize how important this concept is.  Different varieties and brands of glutinous rice require different water levels.  For glutinous rice that is not soaked (as in this recipe), use a rice to water 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 glutinous rice with 1 cup of water.  Then adjust the water levels accordingly.

Glutinous 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 specified 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.

The sticky rice 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 other recipes I’ve shared:

Watch the video for instructions.

Sticky Rice Cakes with Star Anise (Xoi Vi)

Sticky Rice Cakes with Star Anise (Xoi Vi) | recipe from


Rice Cake
4 1/2 cups glutinous rice (also called 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 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 by 9 inch pan and use a paper towel to spread the oil and wipe up any excess.  Sprinkle 2 Tbsp roasted 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.  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 sticky rice 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 by 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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11 Responses to Sticky Rice Cakes with Star Anise (Xoi Vi)

  1. Kim August 8, 2019 at 9:59 am #

    Hi Trang,
    Like your way of cooking, it’s simple to follow and make it. Already sub to your youtube channel. Wising you all the best.

    • Trang August 8, 2019 at 11:05 am #

      Hi Kim,
      Thank you for stopping by my blog and YouTube channel. I really appreciate your support and interest in my recipes. Much love and Happy Cooking! 🙂

  2. Trang Nguyen July 7, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    Dear Trang,
    Hope all is well with you!
    One more question & hope you don’t mind! Do you have problem with the stainless steel cooking pot as rice sticks to the pot when cooked?
    Thank You for always taking the time to answer our questions!
    Best Regards,

    • Trang July 13, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

      Hi Trang,

      Yes, my rice sticks to the bottom as well with the stainless steel cooking pot. It’s not the perfect rice cooker. I hope you’re doing well 🙂

      • Trang Nguyen July 15, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

        Thanks Trang for taking the time to let me know.
        Yes, all is well;-) Still follow you 😉
        Best wishes!

        • Trang July 15, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

          Hi Trang,

          My pleasure! Thank you for your continued support 🙂

  3. Trang Nguyen February 21, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    Thanks Trang for taking your time to answer my question. Yes, I will have to purchase it soon! I feel safer with the stainless steel cooking pot.
    Best Regards,

    • Trang February 23, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

      Hi Trang,

      You’re very welcome, I am glad to be of help. I really like the idea of cooking with a stainless steel pot too and I love appliances that are multi-purpose.

  4. Trang Nguyen February 19, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    As always thanks Trang for your dedication 😉
    Noticed your rice cooker is stainless steel, is that right? if so, what is the name & where to buy it?
    Thanks & Happy Tet;-)

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