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Vietnamese Sticky Rice Cakes (Banh Chung)

Category Vietnamese
Although time consuming to make, these savory rice cakes are well worth the effort. This page explains how to make Vietnamese sticky rice cakes (banh chung).
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August 29, 2017

Vietnamese Banh Chung is called sticky rice cake. This delicious cake has only a few key ingredients, but the cooking process is time-consuming. Some would rather purchase a cake over making it from scratch. Sticky Rice Cake is a tradition that is made and sold during Chinese New Year, but you can make it at home year-round. You will typically eat sticky rice cake with sugar on the side. If the cake is no longer fresh, it would be best to pan fry the cake and serve with sugar on the side.

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 8 hours

Yield: 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb sticky rice
  • 2 lb pork belly
  • 6 cloves shallots
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 package mung beans
  • water
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • banana leaves

Steps:

  1. Overnight you will need to prep the sticky rice. Dump the entire bag of sticky rice into a bowl, add vegetable oil, salt, and water to about 2" above the rice. It will be ready to use the next morning.
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  3. Once you wake up, drain the water of the sticky rice and set aside.
  4. Soak mung beans in warm water for 15 minutes.
  5. Drain mung beans. In a medium pot, add mung beans. Cover with water to boil for 10 minutes and stir. Add a dash of salt and allow to cook on low heat for another 10 minutes. Once mung beans have cooled down, form into a balls and set aside.
  6. For the pork belly, remove any fat you may not want. Then, cut into smaller pieces. Add diced shallots, a dash of salt/pepper, and fish sauce. Stir evenly.
  7. For the green banana leaves before assembling the sticky rice cakes - we cleaned the leaves with water on both sides and wiped clean with a towel.
  8. If you do not have a mold for the size square you want to make, you can make it yourself with cardboard and tape. We made a 6 by 6 mini sized sticky rice cakes.
  9. Now, you are finally ready to start assembling your sticky rice cake. Follow the photos to get an idea on how to fold the banana leaves.
  10. Once you finish folding the banana leaves for the base, add 2 scoop of sticky rice, level mung beans, add layer of pork belly, back to mung beans and sticky rice.
  11. Fold the banana leaves and remove from the mold. Then, tie tightly with ribbon. Then using foil, wrap the sticky rice cake to prepare for cooking. Repeat until you are out of ingredients.
  12. Add all the sticky rice cakes in an extremely large pot. Then, fill the pot up to level. To keep the sticky rice cakes down from floating, try to secure chopsticks so it will not rise up. Or use something heavy to keep the cake from floating. It is ready to cook on high heat for about one hour. Then reduce the heat for 5 additional hours. Be sure to check the water level every hour and if it is low, fill up more water up to level.
  13. Once finished cooking for 6 hours, you will need to drain the water out overnight. I stacked the sticky rice between wood pieces with heavy cement on top to drain the water out. The cake will go back to being solid. Once finished, you are ready to use plastic wrap and use a ribbon for gifting, to sell, or it is ready to eat.
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