Xoi khuc, or banh khuc, is a special sticky rice dish originating from the North of Vietnam. Each bite of xoi khuc offers a delightful combination of mung beans, pork belly, sticky rice, and especially marsh cudweed (lá khúc in Vietnamese). However, since marsh cudweed is not easily accessible outside of the North of Vietnam, in my Xoi khuc recipe, I’ll use spinach as an alternative to replicate the green layer in banh khuc.

Xoi Khuc Recipe

What is Xoi Khuc?

Xoi khuc, or Banh khuc, Xoi cuc, is an elaborate dish featuring mung bean and pork belly fillings, a green layer of glutinous flour mixed with marsh cudweed, and a final layer of glutinous rice as the wrapper. In the North of Vietnam, especially Hanoi, it is commonly sold in the evenings along the streets, making it a distinctive feature of Hanoi cuisine.

The dish is named after a special ingredient: marsh cudweed (lá khúc in Vietnamese). Marsh cudweed, scientifically known as Gnaphalium uliginosum, is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. It is native to North America and commonly found in marshes, wetlands, and other moist habitats, hence its name “marsh cudweed.” It has narrow, lance-shaped leaves that are gray-green in color and covered with fine hairs, giving them a woolly appearance. Marsh cudweed has been used in traditional herbal medicine. In cuisine, Xoi khuc is one of the few dishes that prominently feature marsh cudweed.

However, marsh cudweed is not widely available, even in South Vietnam. Therefore, when making Xoi khuc at home, it’s necessary to look for alternatives. Some possible greens to replace it are spinach or kale. Although the aroma might differ, the appearance and overall flavor of the dish remain quite similar.

Xoi Khuc Recipe

In a ball of Xoi khuc, there are two layers of wrappers: one made of sticky rice and another of glutinous flour mixing with spinach mixture. The filling includes pork belly and mung bean paste. Therefore, you’ll need to prepare the following ingredients:

  • 350g (12.3 oz) sticky rice
  • 100g (3.5 oz) spinach + 200ml (7 oz) water
  • 250g (8.8 oz) Glutinous rice flour
  • 200g (7 oz) Pork belly
  • Marinade for pork belly: A pinch of pepper, 1/3 tsp salt, 1 tsp shallot
  • 200g (7 oz) peeled split mung beans

Instruction

Step 1. Preparation

  • Prepare the ingredients by thoroughly rinsing the sticky rice and peeled split mung beans, then soaking them in water for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight. Rinse them again until the water runs clear. Cut the pork belly into small pieces and marinate it with minced shallots, pepper, and salt. Additionally, rinse the spinach and allow it to dry before use.
Xoi khuc recipe

Step 2. Making the filling

  • Firstly, steam or boil the mung beans until they are soft and can be easily mashed. This is for making the filling together with pork belly. To ensure your beans are thoroughly cooked, you can perform a “squeezing test”: squeeze a bean between your fingers; if it crushes easily, your beans are well-cooked. Drain the boiling water as much as possible. Steaming or boiling overnight soaked mung beans will take you around 20-30 minutes.
  • Next, stir-fry the mung beans with pork until the pork is cooked, and the mung beans are finely mashed. You may need to add a little water while cooking to prevent the beans from drying out or burning. Once the mung beans are completely mashed into a paste-like consistency, form filling balls, each weighing about 60g (2.1 oz).
Xoi khuc recipe

Step 3. Making green layer of wrappers from glutinous rice flour

  • Blend the spinach with water until it forms a green smoothie. After blending, heat the spinach mixture to around 70-80 degrees Celsius and add glutinous flour into a mixing bowl. Gradually pour the hot spinach mixture into the glutinous rice flour. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and uniform. Divide the dough into smaller parts (around 60g – 2.1 oz each), the number equal to the number of filling balls you have prepared.
  • Roll each part of the dough into a thin round. Place a mung bean and pork belly filling ball in the center and wrap it gently until it is fully covered by a layer of green dough. Continue until all the fillings are covered.
Xoi khuc recipe

Step 4. Making second layer of wrappers with sticky rice

  • Roll the balls thoroughly in soaked sticky rice to create the second layer. Ensure that the sticky rice fully covers each ball. This is the final shape of Xoi khuc/Banh khuc.
Xoi khuc recipe

Step 5. Steaming

  • Line the steaming tray with cheesecloth. Place a layer of soaked sticky rice on to create the base, then place Xoi khuc on top. Finally, spread the remaining sticky rice on top of the balls. Steam for 30-50 minutes on medium heat until the sticky rice is cooked completely. To test, pick a small amount of sticky rice to try: if it’s totally soft and chewy, you can turn off the heat.
Xoi khuc recipe

Step 6. Serving

  • When transferring the Xoi khuc to the serving plate, remember to gently lift both the base and the Xoi khuc balls, avoiding distortion. Garnish them with some fried shallots on top.
Xoi Khuc Recipe

Storing Xoi Khuc

Because the Xoi khuc recipe is quite involved, I typically prepare a large batch each time to save for future meals. To store the Xoi khuc balls, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for no more than 2 days. When ready to reheat, you can either steam them again or simply microwave them for several minutes.

Xoi Khuc Recipe

Vietnamese Xoi Khuc Recipe

Yield: 5
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours

Since marsh cudweed is not accessible, in my Xoi khuc recipe, I'll use spinach as an alternative to replicate the green layer of xoi khuc.

Ingredients

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • Prepare the ingredients by thoroughly rinsing the sticky rice and peeled split mung beans, then soaking them in water for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight. Rinse them again until the water runs clear. Cut the pork belly into small pieces and marinate it with minced shallots, pepper, and salt. Additionally, rinse the spinach and allow it to dry before use.Xoi khuc recipe

Step 2. Making the filling

  • Firstly, steam or boil the mung beans until they are soft and can be easily mashed. This is for making the filling together with pork belly. To ensure your beans are thoroughly cooked, you can perform a “squeezing test”: squeeze a bean between your fingers; if it crushes easily, your beans are well-cooked. Drain the boiling water as much as possible. Steaming or boiling overnight soaked mung beans will take you around 20-30 minutes.
  • Next, stir-fry the mung beans with pork until the pork is cooked, and the mung beans are finely mashed. You may need to add a little water while cooking to prevent the beans from drying out or burning. Once the mung beans are completely mashed into a paste-like consistency, form filling balls, each weighing about 60g (2.1 oz).Xoi khuc recipe

Step 3. Making green layer of wrappers from glutinous rice flour

  • Blend the spinach with water until it forms a green smoothie. After blending, heat the spinach mixture to around 70-80 degrees Celsius and add glutinous flour into a mixing bowl. Gradually pour the hot spinach mixture into the glutinous rice flour. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and uniform. Divide the dough into smaller parts (around 60g - 2.1 oz each), the number equal to the number of filling balls you have prepared.Xoi khuc recipe
  • Roll each part of the dough into a thin round. Place a mung bean and pork belly filling ball in the center and wrap it gently until it is fully covered by a layer of green dough. Continue until all the fillings are covered.Xoi khuc recipe

Step 4. Making second layer of wrappers with sticky rice

  • Roll the balls thoroughly in soaked sticky rice to create the second layer. Ensure that the sticky rice fully covers each ball. This is the final shape of Xoi khuc/Banh khuc.Xoi khuc recipe

Step 5. Steaming

  • Line the steaming tray with cheesecloth. Place a layer of soaked sticky rice on to create the base, then place Xoi khuc on top. Finally, spread the remaining sticky rice on top of the balls. Steam for 30-50 minutes on medium heat until the sticky rice is cooked completely. To test, pick a small amount of sticky rice to try: if it's totally soft and chewy, you can turn off the heat.Xoi khuc recipe

Step 6. Serving

  • When transferring the Xoi khuc to the serving plate, remember to gently lift both the base and the Xoi khuc balls, avoiding distortion. Garnish them with some fried shallots on top.Xoi Khuc Recipe
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 200g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 490

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1 Comment

  1. Hey there You have done a fantastic job I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends Im confident theyll be benefited from this site

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