My cheat version of Vietnamese sweet coconut sticky rice – xoi nuoc dua is one of the best recipe hacks I have ever developed. This method does not require soaking the sticky rice overnight like traditional methods or the use of any special equipment. All you will need is simply a pot / dish with a lid and a microwave! This popular Vietnamese breakfast dish and snack is gluten-free, dairy-free and suitable for vegans.
My little girl is beginning to learn and understand her emotions. Whether you have children or not, you have probably heard about the “terrible twos” – that dreaded 2nd birthday where your cute little child transforms into a wild savage with an appetite for chaos and disorder.
But what doesn’t get talked about much are the lead up months before they reach their final form. Everyday they are learning more and more about themselves. And I swear the gods have cursed me since Maddy has chosen anger and frustration for her first areas of study. Which prompts me to say that Steph and I are very proud to announce that we are expecting nothing but straight A’s from Maddy this semester.
OK enough with the trial and tribulations of being first-time parents and back to the sticky rice. This recipe was the inspiration behind the development of an earlier recipe I posted a while back called My Lazy Dim Sum Sticky Rice – Xoi Man. That recipe is a cheat version of the popular sticky rice dish in banana leaf you find at dim sum / yum cha. I may be a little biased here but I highly recommend trying that little gem out!
In this post I have included 3 popular versions of the sweet sticky rice my family has at home. To be completely honest, they all taste the same with the exception of pandan (green). Pandan paste (KoePoe KoePoe brand) is used to give colour, flavour and aroma to the sticky rice. Pandan and saffron were the most popular ones I had growing up since they were easiest to make,
The purple sticky rice gets its colour from boiling the magenta plant (Vietnamese = la cam) and soaking the rice in the liquid. I have questioned myself whether to add this one in because finding the plant is like trying to lick your elbow… (did you just try it?). Sometimes I can get it at an Asian groceries but the only fail safe source I can find it is at my parents place. My mum got a hold of it 10 years ago when she ninja’d into my uncle’s backyard in Brisbane and hijacked a few plants. Ever since then she has been growing it in an old kitchen sink that was supposed to be thrown out after the house renovations.
If you have looked everywhere and don’t know my mum… then this is going to sound crazy but honestly your best chance is to ask a Vietnamese household. Show them the words “la cam” because trust me it is not pronounced they way it is spelt. Then pray. Or just stuff the whole thing completely, make up a story about your epic adventure into the woods to find this mysterious plant and add a few drops of purple food colouring!!! No one will know…
My Tips for Success
- The best cookware for this is a casserole baking dish with a lid that is roughly 1.5 L to 2 L. Anything smaller may cause the liquid to spill out of the bowl / dish while cooking.
- Chopsticks are best to fluff up the rice since spoons will likely breakup the rice grains.
- Do not skip soaking the rice. This is an essential step to ensuring the rice is cooked through.
- The amount of coconut milk will determine the texture of the rice. For me, 1 cup + 2 tbsp of coconut milk is about middle ground. You can tinker it to your liking by using less coconut milk for a drier / harder texture or adding more for a softer / mushier consistency.
- Do not lose your mind trying to find the magenta plant / la cam. It can be substituted with purple food colouring since the plant has little to no flavour.
- Use a thick, viscous and dark pandan paste like Koepoe Koepoe brand. Avoid buying pandan essence or anything that looks watery.
Our family usually has this simply on its own with some coffee in the morning but here are some suggestions to dress it up.
- Sprinkle roasted sesame seeds on top
- Top the sticky rice with fresh shredded coconut and crushed peanuts
- Serve it Thai style with fresh slices of mango and a little coconut milk over the top. I recommend using either the purple or yellow versions for this. You can also go plain and skip the colour component all together.
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My Cheat Vietnamese Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice - Xoi Nuoc Dua
My cheat version of Vietnamese sweet coconut sticky rice - xoi nuoc dua is one of the best recipe hacks I have ever developed. This method does not require soaking the sticky rice overnight like traditional methods or the use of any special equipment. All you will need is simply a pot / dish with a lid and a microwave!
- 250 gm glutinous rice
- 1.5 L boiling water
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp sugar
Saffron - Colour Component Yellow
- 1/4 tsp saffron powder
Pandan - Colour Component Green
- 1/4 tsp pandan paste (available at Asian groceries)
La Cam - Colour Component Magenta
- 1.5 cup boiling water
- 30 gm magenta plant, cut into 2 cm pieces (available at Asian groceries) (Note 1)
Garnish (all optional)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, roasted
- 1/2 cup fresh coconut, shredded
- 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
If making magenta / la cam sticky rice, then add the chopped magenta plant into a small sauce pot with 1.5 cup of water and boil for 15 minutes on medium. Otherwise, skip step if making other versions.
In a bowl, wash the rice with tap water and discard the water. Repeat about three times.
In a bowl, add the glutinous rice and enough boiling water to completely submerse the rice by 2 cm. Continuously stir for 1 min.
Strain the rice and wash it in the strainer under a tap with warm - hot water. Use your fingers to move the rice around in the strainer to remove the gooey texture.
Place the rice back into the bowl and completely submerse the rice in boiling water by about 2-3 cm. Let it sit for 25 minutes while stirring the rice every 5 minutes. (Note 2)
If making magenta / la cam sticky rice, then strain the purple liquid into the rice and then fill it up with boiling water until completely submersed. Make sure the purple liquid is boiling hot when adding it to the rice. (Note 2)
After 25 minutes, strain the rice and place in a microwaveable container / bowl / casserole dish. (Note 3)
Add the coconut milk, salt and colour component and stir well. Put the lid on and microwave for 6 minutes on high.
After 6 minutes, take the rice out of the microwave and add 4 tbsp of sugar. Combine gently, so to not break the rice grains. Put the lid back on and cook for another 4 minutes.
Take out of the microwave and gently fluff the rice up. Taste a few grains of the sticky rice for sweetness and texture. Adjust according to your preference.
If the rice is is too mushy, then leave the lid off and cook it for a further two minutes in the microwave. Otherwise, put the lid back on and cook for 2 minutes.
Take out of the microwave and let it rest for 10 mins with lid on, If it looks too moist for your liking then let it rest with the lid off.
Optional step: Sprinkle roasted sesame seeds / crushed peanuts / coconut over the top and serve.
- Magenta plant / la cam is admittedly hard to find. If you are unable to obtain it, use food colouring instead. Add the food colouring like the colour component in the pandan and saffron versions.
- It is very important that the water is boiling hot. I suggest reboiling the water just before the 25 minute soaking of the rice just to be on the safe side. The goes for the purple liquid from the magenta plant as well.
- The microwaveable container / bowl / dish should be able to hold roughly 2 L. There is a chance it will not work with anything smaller since the liquid may spill over the sides.