Vietnamese Sticky Rice Recipe

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vietnamese glutinous rice or xoi

Vietnamese sticky rice, or xoi, is a staple dish in Vietnamese cuisine that can be enjoyed as a main course or a snack. It is made with glutinous rice that is steamed and mixed with various toppings and flavors, such as chicken, Chinese sausage, and coconut milk. Vietnamese sticky rice is known for its sweet and savory taste and sticky texture that is satisfying to eat.

The preparation of Vietnamese sticky rice can vary depending on the recipe and the region of Vietnam. Some recipes call for soaking the rice overnight, while others require washing the rice thoroughly before steaming. The toppings and flavors also differ, with some recipes using traditional Vietnamese ingredients like rehydrated shrimps and Vietnamese ham, while others incorporate more modern ingredients like cheese and bacon. Regardless of the recipe, Vietnamese sticky rice is a versatile dish that can be customized to fit any taste preference.

Historical Background

Sticky rice, or “xoi” in Vietnamese, has been a staple food in Vietnam for centuries. The dish is believed to have originated in the northern part of the country, where rice is the main crop.

In the past, sticky rice was considered a luxury food and was often reserved for special occasions, such as weddings and festivals. It was also used as an offering to the ancestors during important ceremonies.

Over time, sticky rice has become a popular everyday food in Vietnam, enjoyed by people of all ages and social classes. It is often eaten as a breakfast or snack, and can be found at street food vendors and restaurants throughout the country.

Sticky rice is also an important part of Vietnamese cuisine, and is often served as a side dish or used as a base for other dishes. It is typically cooked with a variety of ingredients, including meats, seafood, vegetables, and spices, to create a range of flavors and textures.

Today, sticky rice remains an important part of Vietnamese culture and cuisine, and is enjoyed by people around the world who appreciate its unique taste and versatility.

Types of Vietnamese Sticky Rice

Vietnamese sticky rice, also known as “xoi,” is a popular dish in Vietnam that can be eaten as a main meal or as a snack. It is made by cooking glutinous rice and adding various ingredients such as coconut milk, peanuts, or meat. In this section, we will discuss three popular types of Vietnamese sticky rice: Xoi Xeo, Xoi Lac, and Xoi Gac.

Xoi Xeo

Xoi Xeo is a yellow-colored sticky rice that gets its color from turmeric powder. It is usually served with mung bean paste, shredded chicken, and fried shallots. The combination of the savory mung bean paste and the fragrant turmeric rice is a favorite among Vietnamese people.

Xoi Lac

Xoi Lac is a sticky rice dish that is coated with roasted peanuts. The peanuts are first roasted and then ground into a fine powder before being sprinkled over the rice. It is usually served with a sweet and salty coconut sauce or a savory meat topping. The crunchy peanuts add a nice texture to the soft and sticky rice.

Xoi Gac

Xoi Gac is a sticky rice dish that is made with gac fruit, a type of small red fruit that is native to Southeast Asia. The fruit is cooked with the rice, giving it a bright orange color and a slightly sweet taste. It is usually served with a coconut sauce or a meat topping. Gac fruit is rich in antioxidants and is believed to have many health benefits.

Overall, Vietnamese sticky rice is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Each type of sticky rice has its own unique flavor and texture, making it a popular dish among Vietnamese people and food enthusiasts around the world.

Essential Ingredients

Glutinous Rice

Glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice, is a staple ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. It is a short-grain rice that becomes sticky when cooked. This type of rice is used to make many traditional Vietnamese dishes, including sticky rice with chicken and sticky rice with mung beans. To prepare glutinous rice for cooking, it needs to be washed and soaked for several hours before being steamed.

Mung Beans

Mung beans are a type of small, green legume that are commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine. They are often paired with glutinous rice to make sticky rice with mung beans. Mung beans are a good source of protein and fiber, and they are also rich in vitamins and minerals. To prepare mung beans for cooking, they need to be soaked overnight and then boiled until they are soft.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a creamy, flavorful ingredient that is often used in Vietnamese cooking. It is made by blending the meat of a mature coconut with water and then straining the mixture to remove any solids. Coconut milk is commonly used in desserts, curries, and soups. When making sticky rice with coconut milk, it is important to use high-quality coconut milk to ensure a rich and creamy texture.


Peanuts are a popular ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine and are often used to add crunch and flavor to dishes. They are commonly used in salads, stir-fries, and noodle dishes. When making sticky rice with peanuts, it is important to use roasted peanuts to enhance their flavor. Peanuts can be chopped or crushed and then sprinkled on top of the sticky rice before serving.

Required Cooking Tools

To prepare Vietnamese sticky rice, you will need a few essential cooking tools. These tools are readily available and will help you make the perfect sticky rice.

Rice Cooker

A rice cooker is the most convenient tool to cook sticky rice. It is easy to use and ensures that the rice is cooked evenly. The rice cooker comes with a measuring cup and water level markings, which makes it easy to measure the rice and water accurately.

Steamer Basket

If you do not have a rice cooker, you can use a steamer basket to cook the rice. A steamer basket is a simple tool that allows you to steam the rice over boiling water. It is essential to use a steamer basket with a lid to ensure that the rice is cooked evenly.

Fine Mesh Sieve

It is essential to wash the rice thoroughly before cooking to remove any excess starch. A fine mesh sieve is an excellent tool for this job. It allows you to rinse the rice thoroughly and remove any impurities.

Mixing Bowl

A mixing bowl is essential to mix the rice with other ingredients such as coconut milk, sugar, and salt. It is best to use a large mixing bowl to ensure that the rice is evenly coated with the ingredients.


A saucepan is required to cook the coconut milk mixture that is poured over the rice. It is best to use a non-stick saucepan to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Using these essential cooking tools will ensure that you make the perfect Vietnamese sticky rice.

Preparation Techniques

Soaking the Rice

Soaking the rice is a crucial step in making Vietnamese sticky rice. It helps to soften the grains and make them more pliable for wrapping. To soak the rice, place it in a bowl and cover it with water. Let it soak for at least three hours, or overnight for best results. Drain the water from the rice and rinse it thoroughly before cooking.

Preparing the Filling

There are many different types of fillings that can be used for Vietnamese sticky rice. Some popular options include pork, chicken, mung bean, and lotus seeds. The filling should be cooked and seasoned before being added to the rice. This can be done by stir-frying the ingredients with garlic, shallots, and other spices.

Wrapping Methods

There are several different methods for wrapping Vietnamese sticky rice. The most common method involves using banana leaves or lotus leaves. The leaves are cut into squares and then folded into a cone shape. The rice and filling are added to the cone and then the top is folded over to seal it. The cone is then steamed until the rice is cooked through.

Another method involves using bamboo leaves. The leaves are soaked in water to make them pliable, and then folded into a square shape. The rice and filling are added to the center of the square, and then the sides are folded up to create a pouch. The pouch is then tied with string and steamed until the rice is cooked through.

Overall, preparing Vietnamese sticky rice requires some patience and attention to detail. However, with the right techniques and ingredients, it is possible to create a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for any occasion.

Cooking Process

Steaming the Rice

To prepare Vietnamese sticky rice, the first step is to rinse the glutinous rice thoroughly in a large bowl until the water runs clear. The rice should then be drained well and soaked in enough water to cover it by at least an inch for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Once the rice has been soaked, it should be drained and placed into a steamer basket. The rice should then be steamed for 18-20 minutes, fluffing up the rice every 10 minutes.

Assembling the Dish

After the rice has been steamed, it is time to assemble the dish. First, mix together coconut milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Scoop out 1 cup and pour it over the steamed rice. Mix and fluff up the rice. In a pot, pour the remaining coconut sauce and whisk in tapioca starch. Next, boil or pan fry the chicken until cooked then drain and shred it. Add the oil to a pan on a medium heat and fry the red shallots, rehydrated shrimps, Chinese sausages, shredded chicken, and Vietnamese ham for 1 minute. Pour in the sugar, chicken bouillon powder, and soy sauce to season the toppings then stir for 2 minutes. Finally, add the toppings to the rice and mix well.

Vietnamese sticky rice is now ready to be served. The dish can be garnished with chopped scallions, cilantro, or peanuts for added flavor and texture.

Serving Suggestions


Vietnamese sticky rice is a versatile dish that can be served as a main course or a side dish. It pairs well with a variety of accompaniments that complement its unique flavors and textures. Here are some suggestions for accompaniments to serve with your Vietnamese sticky rice:

  • Grilled or sautéed vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, or snow peas
  • Meat dishes such as grilled chicken, beef, or pork
  • Seafood dishes such as grilled shrimp or fish
  • Pickled vegetables such as carrots or daikon radish
  • Spicy dipping sauces such as chili garlic sauce or Sriracha

Presentation Tips

Presentation is key when serving Vietnamese sticky rice. Here are some tips to help you present your dish in an attractive and appetizing way:

  • Use a small bowl or ramekin to shape the sticky rice into a mound, then invert it onto a plate for a neat and tidy presentation.
  • Garnish the dish with fresh herbs such as cilantro or green onion to add color and flavor.
  • Serve the sticky rice with chopsticks and a spoon to make it easier to eat.
  • Use a colorful plate or serving dish to make the dish more visually appealing.

By following these tips and suggestions, you can create a beautiful and delicious meal that showcases the unique flavors and textures of Vietnamese sticky rice.

Storage and Reheating

Vietnamese sticky rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To prevent the rice from drying out, it is best to add a damp paper towel to the container.

When reheating the rice, it is important to add a small amount of water or coconut milk to prevent it from becoming too dry. The rice can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.

If the rice has been refrigerated for more than three days, it is best to discard it. Reheating rice that has been stored for too long can result in food poisoning.

It is not recommended to freeze Vietnamese sticky rice as it can become mushy and lose its texture when thawed. It is best to make only the amount of rice needed for immediate consumption.

Overall, by following these simple storage and reheating tips, you can enjoy delicious and flavorful Vietnamese sticky rice for days to come.

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