Theses delicious sticky rice cakes are often served in Vietnam as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or sweet crisp roasted duck but are just as delicious served solo, as a snack, dredged in sugar or icing sugar. Note that a wok is the best cooking vessel to use here and that using a cooking thermometer is by far the safest and most accurate way to monitor the temperature of your oil.
- 200 g (1 cup) white sticky (glutinous) rice, soaked overnight
- 115 g (½ cup) split dried mung beans, soaked overnight
- 1 tsp salt
- 2½ tbsp caster sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) coconut milk
- 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable oil, plus extra, for cooking
- white or raw sugar (not caster), or sifted icing sugar, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time: overnight or 8 hours
Drain the rice and beans well. Place them in a steamer basket lined with muslin or a clean tea towel, spreading the mixture evenly. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, then cook over boiling water for 25–30 minutes or until beans and rice are extremely tender. Transfer to a large bowl, add the salt, sugar and coconut milk stir to mix well. Cool slightly then, when still quite hot (wear clean rubber gloves to protect your hands), knead the mixture until the beans have broken down and a very smooth, thick paste forms, adding 1 tbsp oil as you knead. When the mixture is smooth and the oil incorporated, transfer it to a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap large enough to enclose it. Using your hands, form the mixture into a neat cylinder about 22 cm long. Wrap the cylinder in the plastic wrap, then cool to room temperature.
Remove the plastic wrap and cut the cylinder into rounds about 1 cm thick, discarding the end pieces (which will be a little uneven). Heat the remaining oil in a large wok until 180˚C. Add 5–6 rice cakes to the wok and cook for 2 minutes or until starting to brown a little. Using a wide spatula, press down on each one briefly (this helps them puff and continue cooking for another 4 minutes, turning once, or until they are slightly puffed and deep golden all over. Serve hot or warm, sprinkled heavily with sugar or sifted icing sugar.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.
When she doesn’t have her head in the pantry cupboard, Leanne Kitchen finds time to photograph food and write cookbooks. You can view her work on her website.