Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice – Xoi Nuoc Dua

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! This popular Vietnamese breakfast dish and snack is gluten-free, dairy-free and suitable for vegans.

My Cheat Vietnamese Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice - Xoi Nuoc Dua

Vietnamese Pandan Sweet Sticky Rice[/caption]

In this post I have included three popular versions of the sweet sticky rice my family has at home:

  • Pandan (green) – pandan paste gives colour, flavour and aroma. We recommend the KoePoe KoePoe brand, available at Asian groceries.
  • Saffron (yellow) – use saffron threads.
  • Magenta (purple) – use the magenta / ca lam plant – see section below “Sourcing Magenta / Ca Lam”.
Magenta Plant

Magenta Plant

Sourcing Magenta (La Cam)

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 Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice Success

  1. 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.
  2. Chopsticks are best to fluff up the rice since spoons will likely breakup the rice grains.
  3. Soaking the rice is ESSENTIAL for ensuring the rice cooks through.
  4. The more coconut milk you use the softer the texture of the rice. Use 1 cup + 2 tbsp of coconut milk for a “medium” consistency then adjust from there.
  5. Do not lose your mind trying to find the magenta plant / la cam. It has minimal flavour and can be substituted with purple food colouring.
  6. Use a thick, viscous and dark pandan paste like Koepoe Koepoe brand. Avoid buying pandan essence or anything that looks watery.

How to Serve Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice

Our family usually has this simply on its own with some coffee in the morning but here are some suggestions to dress it up.

  1. Sprinkle roasted sesame seeds on top
  2. Top the sticky rice with fresh shredded coconut and crushed peanuts
  3. 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.
My Cheat Vietnamese Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice - Xoi Nuoc Dua

Other Recipes You May Like

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Thank you for visiting our blog and we hope you enjoyed this post.

Scruff & Steph

My Cheat Vietnamese Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice - Xoi Nuoc Dua

My Cheat Vietnamese Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice - Xoi Nuoc Dua

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!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4
Calories 473 kcal


  • 250 gm glutinous rice
  • 1.5 L boiling water
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar, or to taste

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. Let it sit for 5 minutes and stir the rice every few minutes.
  • 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. Quickly add 4 tbsp of sugar and 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. If it is a bit hard still, stir in 1 or 2 tbsp of coconut milk. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 


Calories: 473kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 9gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gSodium: 233mgPotassium: 281mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11gVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice, Xoi Nuoc Dua
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

19 thoughts on “Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice – Xoi Nuoc Dua

    1. To be honest Michele, I have no idea. I have yet to try black rice! If you do end up giving it a whirl, please tell me how it went. Thanks for leaving a comment Michele.

  1. I’m going to try this for our next team morning tea! I prob become the most popular person in the team 😉

  2. I have never tried sticky rice with magenta plant or saffron. Do they add more flavors to the sticky rice in addition to colors? Have you guys tried eating pandan sticky rice with ice cream :D? It’s a very popular dessert in Hanoi.

    1. Hi Sophie! Hope you are doing well. The magenta plant and saffron only add colour to the rice. It may seem like a lot of effort for just colour but it is a good natural alternative to artificial food colourings. And pandan sticky rice with ice cream??? I have never thought of putting those two together! Definitely will give it a go next time I make it. Thanks for dropping by Sophie!

    1. Hi Della! My local supermarket just sells generic white glutinous rice. It does not say whether it is long grain or short. In terms of brands, I have used many types and for me they are all pretty much the same. If I had to choose, I would pick the Lion brand. Thanks for dropping a comment!

  3. Good afternoon, from Ft. Myers Shores, Florida. I just saw your recipe of Sweet Coconut Rice as I was looking up Sushi posts on Pinterest. I love it, thank you. I can only imagine using your rice recipe(S) for sushi, as the condiments that are used on the side would change the way we dip into them. AWESOMENESS & thank you for sharing. Mauhhhhhhhhhhhhh from Us Florida Coconuts…..Going to share you guys on FB, too….

    1. Thank you for leaving such a nice comment Maria L. Russo! We are so happy you like the recipe. You have given us a lot of motivation to keep posting more recipes. So thank you!

  4. I just tried your recipe, and I can’t believe it worked. I made a batch of pandan flavored rice. I used a glass pie dish because I didn’t have a casserole dish with a lid. I just covered it with plastic wrap, threw it away every time I had to stir, and covered it with a new piece when I had to reheat the rice. We’ll probably find out that’s carcinogenic if we haven’t already but oh well.

    Some of my rice didn’t cook all the way through before we hit the two minute microwave session so I added a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk and put it back in for a couple of minutes. I really just eyeballed it.

    Anyways, thank you for the recipe!

  5. Thank you so much for this!! I first tasted this at the house of a Vietnamese friend. I always wondered what it was, and now I am able to make this on Christmas for my family 🙂

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