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Vietnamese Snowballs - Banh Bao Chi

Vietnamese Snowballs - Banh Bao Chi

These delicious little Vietnamese Snowballs are one of the best Asian treats I have ever had. Each snowball has a soft, sweet centre wrapped in a chewy outer layer that is covered in desiccated coconut. In this post we have included recipes for both mung bean and coconut fillings, which are easily the most popular flavours.
Course Dessert, Snack, Treat
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Vietnamese Snowballs
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 22 - 24 Snowballs
Author Scruff


Coconut Filling (approx 22 - 24 balls)

  • 80 gm desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 70 gm white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed

Mung Bean Filing (approx 22 - 24 balls)

  • 100 gm dried peeled split mung bean
  • 70 gm caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp canola oil, (or any neutral oil)
  • candied winter melon / mut bi dao, cut into small cubes (Optional but highly recommended)(available at Asian groceries)

Dough Mixture (approx 22 - 24 balls)

  • 250 gm glutinous rice flour
  • 100 gm white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp canola oil

Presentation (approx 22 - 24 balls)

  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 24 cupcake wrappers
  • black sesame seeds (optional)


Coconut Filling (approx 22 - 24 balls)

  • In a fry pan on medium heat, add the desiccated coconut, salt, sugar and water.  Cook and stir for 7 mins. 
  • Add 1 tbsp glutinous rice flour and cook for a further 3 mins.
  • Turn off heat and add the vanilla extract, sesame seeds and crushed peanuts. With a spoon, combine thoroughly. 
  • Measure 1 heaped tsp and mold into balls with your hands. (approx 3 cm diameter)

Mung Bean Filling (approx 22- 24 balls)

  • In a large bowl, soak the mung beans in boiling water for 15 minutes. 
  • Strain the mung beans and cook in a pot with plenty of boiling water on medium heat. Once the water starts to boil, cook for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the mung beans and put back into the pot with 2 tbsp of hot water. Cook on low for another 5 minutes with the lid on. (Note 1)
  • Puree the mung bean in food processor or with a rolling pin. To do it with a rolling pin, put the mung bean into a freezer bag and push out all the air. Leave the bag open and roll it with the pin until smooth. (Note 2)
  • In a fry pan on medium heat add sugar, vanilla extract and oil. Combine with a spatula and cook for until the mung bean mixture is the texture of soft play-dough. This may take anywhere from 5 - 10 minutes.  
  • Once the filling is at the right consistency, take off the heat and allow to cool down. Once cooled put 1 heaped tsp of filling into your hands,and wrap it around a cube of candied bitter melon. Roll them into a ball with a diameter of roughly 3 cm.

Dough Mixture (approx 22 - 24 balls)

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all the dough ingredients together with a whisk. The water must be warm, not hot or boiling. 
  • Grease the sides of the plastic microwave-safe bowl with a neutral oil and pour in the dough mixture. Cook on high for 7 minutes. (Note 3)
  • With a spoon stir the dough mixture until it is uniform. 

Making the Snowballs

  • Prepare a small bowl of cold water and a flat plate of desiccated coconut. 
  • Spoon a heaped tbsp of dough mixture and lay it on the desiccated coconut. To get the dough out, use the tbsp like you would a cookie cutter and cut into the dough with the edges of spoon. Please refer to the progress pictures for help. 
  • Drop the filling ball on top of the dough and push it into the dough mixture. 
  • Wet your finger tips in the bowl of water and slowly pull the dough mixture up over the sides of the filling ball.  (Note 4)
  • Roll the ball in the desiccated coconut and smooth it into a sphere. Don't worry if it is not perfect since you can hide a lot in the cupcake wrappers. (Note 5)
  • Repeat until done.


  1. If you have accidentally burnt the mung bean, do not peel it off the bottom of the pot. 
  2. Results can vary at this stage. Do not be alarmed if mung beans are already squishy. You will have to compensate by cooking it on the fry pan for a little longer to get the right consistency. 
  3. Plastic bowls work best for this. Every other material tends to stick.  
  4. If your fingers are sticking too the dough, dip them into the desiccated coconut. This step can be quite difficult and it will take you a few goes to get it right. 
  5. If there is too much dough on the snowball,  gently pull on the dough and cut off the excess with a pair of scissors. Then reseal the snowball.