Pandan Rice Cake (Vietnamese Banh Duc La Dua)

Pandan Rice Cake is an interesting dessert made with rice flour and pandan leaves, the two native ingredients of Vietnam. The slightly chewy and jiggly texture, combined with the pleasant fragrance of pandan leaves, makes pandan rice cake a delightful dish to try when exploring Vietnamese cuisine.

pandan rice cake

What is Pandan Rice Cake?

Pandan Rice Cake, or Bánh đúc lá dứa in Vietnamese, is a traditional Vietnamese dessert that is made from rice flour and flavored with pandan leaves, which give it a green color and a unique aroma. It is a popular treat during Vietnamese festivals and special occasions, as well as an everyday snack for those who appreciate its unique taste and texture. It can be found at local markets and street food stalls.

To make pandan rice cake, the rice flour is mixed with water to form a smooth, thick batter, which is then steamed until it solidifies. Once the rice cake is set, it is typically cut into small pieces and served with a variety of toppings and sauces. Common toppings include shredded coconut, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, and coconut milk.

vietnamese pandan rice cake

The use of pandan leaves not only gives the rice cake its distinctive green color but also imparts a pleasant, fragrant flavor to the dish. From pandan leaves, we’ll blend them to make pandan juice/extract, which we will use not only to color the cake green but also to enhance its flavor and fragrance. Pandan juice and pandan extract are key ingredients for coloring and adding aroma in Southeast Asian cuisine. I incorporated them into numerous dessert and beverage recipes, mung bean milk, mung bean milk tea or glutinous rice balls (che troi nuoc).

Ingredients

Each piece of pandan rice cake consists of green layers made from starch and pandan juice, as well as white layers made from starch and coconut milk. Regarding the type of starch used in the dish, in Northern Vietnam, rice starch is primarily used, while in the South, tapioca starch or a combination of tapioca starch and rice starch are also popular choices. Regardless of the type of starch used, the cake is still commonly referred to as pandan “rice” cake because it has become a familiar and traditional name for the dish.

For a small pandan rice cake for 4 people, do prepare:

Pandan juice mixture

  • Pandan juice: 400ml water + 40g pandan leaves
  • 200g (7 oz) rice starch/tapioca starch
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • 30g (2 tbsp) sugar
  • 30g (2 tbsp) cooking oil

Coconut milk mixture

  • 200g (7 oz) coconut milk
  • 100g (3.5oz) rice starch/tapioca starch
  • 15g (1 tbsp) cooking oil
  • 15g (1 tbsp) sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt

Additionally, you will need a steamer and a mold. The mold can be round, rectangular, or square, made of metal or silicone, provided it is safe for steaming.

How to make Vietnamese Pandan Rice Cake (Banh Duc La Dua)

To make Bánh đúc lá dứa (Pandan Rice Cake), follow these steps:

Step 1. Making Pandan Juice

  • Wash the pandan leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt. Cut them into smaller pieces, around 2-3 inches long. Then, blend them with water and filter to obtain the green juice.

Step 2. Mixing pandan mixture and coconut milk mixture

  • Combine the pandan mixture and the coconut extract mixture, ensuring they are well mixed. Allow these batters to rest for at least half an hour to let the flavors meld and the starch fully hydrate. After resting, give the batter another good stir to make sure it’s well-mixed.
banh duc la dua pandan rice cake

Step 3. Steaming the pandan rice cake

  • Prepare your cake mold by greasing it with some oil to make it easier to remove the cake later. Also, set up your steamer with boiling water. Place the cake mold in the steamer and heat it up.
  • Turn on medium heat and wait until the water starts to evaporate. Pour the prepared batter into the heated mold, alternating one spoonful of pandan mixture and one spoonful of coconut mixture. Close the lid and wait for 3-5 minutes for the first layer to steam and become partially firm, then continue with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th… layers until you have used up all the batter. The total time to fill the mold and steam the cake over the boiling water is about 20-30 minutes.
banh duc la dua pandan rice cake
  • To test if it is fully cooked, use a toothpick. Insert a toothpick into the cake. If the toothpick comes out without any cake batter, it means the cake is done.

Step 4. Serving

  • Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the steamer and allow it to cool for a bit. After it has cooled slightly, you can cut the pandan rice cake into your desired shapes, typically squares, rectangles, or diamonds. Serve with toppings such as shredded coconut, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, or more coconut milk. Enjoy!

Storing Pandan Rice Cake

Because this is a fresh cake, you should consume it all within 2 days. Always store it in the fridge and store the cake and the toppings separately. Coconut milk should be refrigerated, while roasted peanuts and white sesame seeds are better kept in an airtight box at room temperature to maintain their crispiness.

pandan rice cake

Pandan Rice Cake (Vietnamese Banh Duc La Dua)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Pandan Rice Cake is an interesting dessert made with rice flour and pandan leaves, the two native ingredients of Vietnam.

Ingredients

Pandan juice mixture

Coconut milk mixture

Toppings

Instructions

Step 1. Making Pandan Juice

  • Wash the pandan leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt. Cut them into smaller pieces, around 2-3 inches long. Then, blend them with water and filter to obtain the green juice.how to make pandan juice and extract

Step 2. Mixing pandan mixture and coconut milk mixture

  • Combine the pandan mixture and the coconut extract mixture, ensuring they are well mixed. Allow these batters to rest for at least half an hour to let the flavors meld and the starch fully hydrate. After resting, give the batter another good stir to make sure it's well-mixed.banh duc la dua pandan rice cake

Step 3. Steaming the pandan rice cake

  • Prepare your cake mold by greasing it with some oil to make it easier to remove the cake later. Also, set up your steamer with boiling water. Place the cake mold in the steamer and heat it up.banh duc la dua pandan rice cake
  • Turn on medium heat and wait until the water starts to evaporate. Pour the prepared batter into the heated mold, alternating one spoonful of pandan mixture and one spoonful of coconut mixture. Close the lid and wait for 3-5 minutes for the first layer to steam and become partially firm, then continue with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th… layers until you have used up all the batter. The total time to fill the mold and steam the cake over the boiling water is about 20-30 minutes.banh duc la dua pandan rice cake
  • To test if it is fully cooked, use a toothpick. Insert a toothpick into the cake. If the toothpick comes out without any cake batter, it means the cake is done.banh duc la dua pandan rice cake

Step 4. Serving

  • Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the steamer and allow it to cool for a bit. After it has cooled slightly, you can cut the pandan rice cake into your desired shapes, typically squares, rectangles, or diamonds. Serve with toppings such as shredded coconut, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, or more coconut milk. Enjoy!pandan rice cake
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 250g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320

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