• Magenta sticky rice (Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam )Source: Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam

The vibrant colour of this sticky rice is the uniqueness of this dish!






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 100 g fresh magenta leaves (see note)
  • 600 g (3 cups) glutinous white rice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and finely sliced
  • toasted coconut flakes, to serve

Peanut and sesame mix

  • 80 g (½ cup) roasted peanuts
  • 40 g (¼ cup) roasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar 

Sweetened coconut milk

  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut cream     
  • 1 tsp potato starch 
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Cook's notes

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.


Cooling time: 1 hour

Soaking time: 3 hours

1. Place 500 ml (2 cups) water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Bruise the magenta leaves, then add to the boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes. The leaves will emit a beautiful violet colour. Turn off the heat and let it cool down completely. The colour will turn a deeper tone of purple. Drain the magenta water into a bowl. Squeeze the leaves to extract the liquid, then discard the leaves.

2. Soak the glutinous rice with the cooled purple water for 3 hours or overnight for a deeper colour.

3. Meanwhile, for the peanut and sesame mix, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 

4. For the sweetened coconut milk, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir continuously over low heat until hot but don’t allow it to boil. Remove from the heat.

5. Drain the rice, place in a steamer basket and steam over high heat for 15 minutes. Add 60 ml (¼ cup) of the sweetened coconut milk to the rice, then steam the rice for another 10 minutes. 

6. Divide the warm steamed purple rice between 4 serving bowls. Top with some sliced mango and drizzle 2 tablespoons of sweetened coconut milk over the top of each serving. Garnish with the peanut and sesame mix and a little toasted coconut. 


•Magenta leaves can be hard to come by but may be available in select Vietnamese supermarkets. They go by the botanical name Peristrophe bivalvis, or lá cẩm in Vietnamese.


Catch Luke Nguyen on the tracks dishing up Vietnamese fare in the brand-new series, Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam.