Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice (Banh Chung)
Vietnamese Square Sticky Rice (Banh Chung)
Enjoy this traditional Vietnamese goodness with your family!
  • Difficulty Level Adventurous
  • Technique Simmer
  • Preparation Time 50 minutes
  • Cooking Time 6 hours
  • Yield 10 servings
  • 5½ cup glutinous rice, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1½ cup split yellow mung beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 kg fresh banana leaves (substitute with frozen banana leaves)
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water, enough to fill a large pot
  1. Boil and mash the beans:
  2. Place the mung beans in a pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until mashable, about 20-30 minutes, then mash into a paste with a potato masher or spoon
  1. Caramelize the onions and combine with the mung beans:
  2. Heat the peanut oil in a heavy skillet over low heat and cook the onions until caramelized, about 30-40 minutes
  3. Add the onions and salt to the mung beans and stir to combine. Spread the mung beans out on a large platter or baking sheet and let cool completely
  1. Wrap the cakes:
  2. Lay out two sheets of partially overlapping banana leaves, place a third leaf on top (perpendicular to the first two sheets). If using a mold, place it on your work surface first, then line it with the banana leaves in this manner.
  3. Place about a cup of rice in the center of the leaves and spread out to cover a 6-inch square area (or to fill the mold)
  4. Take about a cup of mung beans and, using your hands, pat it into a slightly smaller square and place it on top of the rice
  5. Then take another cup of rice and pack it over the top and sides. Starting with the innermost banana leaf, fold the leaves in one at a time, forming a square. Wrap it tightly like a present so that the contents don't shift or spill during cooking, and tie tightly with twine
  1. Cook the cakes:
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, add the cakes and make sure they stay submerged (a colander or heavy steamer basket can help keep them under water)
  3. Simmer until the cakes feel plump and the rice is congealed. This takes about 6 hours. Keep an eye on the pot and add more hot water as necessary to keeps the cakes covered
  4. Place the cakes in a colander to drain and cool completely
  1. Cut and serve:
  2. To serve, remove the wrapping and cut into wedges or slices
  1. Chef's Tips:
  2. If using frozen banana leaves, defrost then wipe the banana leaves clean with a damp cloth and spread them out to dry (a laundry drying rack or backs of chairs work well). If the banana leaves are particularly long, you can trim them
  3. An easy way to cut the sticky cake is to use a thread or dental floss. Some also suggest an oiled knife

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