Red bean sticky rice is a delicious and familiar dish to many people. The red hue of the sticky rice, created by the red beans, makes this dish visually appealing and is believed to bring good luck. Let’s explore how to cook this delicious and simple dish at home.

Red Bean Sticky Rice, Japanese Sekihan or Vietnamese Xoi Dau Do

Right from the name, we can understand what this dish is. It is a simple yet tasty combination of red beans and sticky rice, cooked together in a steamer, rice cooker, or Instant Pot.

This dish is shared across several Asian cuisines, such as Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine. In Japanese cuisine, it is known as Sekihan, which translates to “red rice” or “azuki bean rice” in Japanese. Sekihan is a vibrant dish often prepared for special occasions like weddings, celebrations, or festivals, symbolizing happiness, good fortune, and auspicious occasions. The dish has a subtle sweetness and a rich, nutty flavor from the azuki beans, offering a delightful contrast to the sticky texture of the rice. Sekihan is typically served in small portions as part of a larger meal or as an offering at ceremonial events.

red bean sticky rice

In Vietnamese cuisine, red bean sticky rice (Xôi Đậu Đỏ) has a simpler meaning. It is still considered a “lucky dish”, like red bean sweet soup (Che Dau Do), thanks to its red hue from the red beans but is also a favorite breakfast item for many Vietnamese people. The dish is usually served with shredded coconut, roasted peanuts, and sesame seeds, popular tropical toppings in the country.

Ingredients

To make red bean sticky rice, you’ll only need 2 ingredients, sticky Rice and Red Bean. When serving it, you can choose from some tasty toppings.

  • Red Beans: Also known as azuki beans, red beans are small, red legumes commonly used in Asian cuisines, particularly in East Asian countries such as Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam. These beans are prized for their sweet, nutty flavor and their versatility in both sweet and savory dishes. To make 4 portions of red bean sticky rice, use around 100g (3.5oz) to 200g (7oz) of red beans.
  • Sticky Rice: Sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice or sweet rice, is a type of rice that differs from the more common long-grain and medium-grain rice varieties. It has a high starch content, giving it a sticky and chewy texture when cooked. Despite being called sweet rice, it does not have a sweet flavor but rather a neutral taste. This type of rice is particularly popular in East and Southeast Asian cuisines, from rice cakes to various desserts. For 4 servings, use 300g (10.5oz) to 400g (14oz) of glutinous rice. You can use either Thai glutinous rice or round glutinous rice.
red bean sticky rice
  • Seasonings: Add a pinch of salt and a splash of coconut milk to enhance the flavor.
  • Toppings: Choose from grated coconut, coconut milk, smashed roasted peanuts, or roasted white sesame. My usual breakfast consists of red bean sticky rice topped with roasted white sesame and shredded coconut.

Making Red Bean Sticky Rice

Step 1. Preparation

Both red beans and sticky rice require soaking for at least 4 hours before cooking.

  • Sticky rice: Rinse the rice under running water several times until the water runs clear. This step removes excess starch and ensures a good final texture after cooking. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the rice. You will need to soak it in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Red beans: Choose dried red beans and rinse them under water to remove any impurities. Like the rice, soak the red beans in fresh water. Ideally, soak them for 4 hours to 8 hours or overnight.

Step 2. Cooking with a rice cooker/ instant pot

After soaking your ingredients for a long enough time, you can start to cook them. Rinse the glutinous rice and red bean the one last time and drain out all the water.

  • Parboil red beans: red beans are harder than sticky rice, thus requires to be parboiled in advance. To do so, cook them in 15 minutes in boiling water. If you would like to cook red bean sticky rice in a steamer, do one more step: parboil sticky rice. Blanch sticky rice in boiling water for 30 seconds. Stir continuously to prevent it from sticking to the pot. Immediately transfer the parboiled sticky rice into the prepared mesh strainer to drain excess water.
red bean sweet soup
Parboil red beans
  • Mixing red beans and sticky rice: Mix them thoroughly in the cooking pot (rice cooker’s inner pot or Instant Pot). Add just enough water to cover the rice and the red beans like the picture below. Then, mix in the seasonings (1 pinch of salt and 1 tbsp coconut milk) with the rice.
red bean sticky rice
  • Cooking in a Steamer: Steam red beans and sticky rice for 20 minutes. Check if they are well cooked by biting a piece of red bean; if it’s totally soft, you can turn off the heat. 
  • Cooking in a Rice Cooker: With the rice cooker, switch on the cooking function. After 10 minutes, you can optionally stir the rice once for even cooking. Leave it until the light switches to the “warm” function, and then wait for an additional 10 minutes before opening and stirring the cooked rice.
red bean sticky rice
  • Cooking in an Instant Pot: Using the instant pot, select the high-pressure cooking mode for either 15 minutes and allow for a natural pressure release for about 5 minutes, or opt for 18 minutes and quickly release pressure by moving the pressure release valve to the open position.

Step 3. Preparing toppings

  • Roast white sesame on the stove over medium heat until it turns slightly golden and starts to release sesame oil. If you have fresh coconut flesh, shred it. If you’re using frozen shredded coconut, defrost it naturally at room temperature or blanch it with boiling water.

Step 4. Serving

  • Since red bean sticky rice is sticky, you can shape it into a cool form or let it settle freely on a dish. Then, drizzle coconut milk (if available) on top. Finally, garnish it with your favorite toppings: shredded coconut, roasted white sesame, granulated sugar, or crushed peanuts. Enjoy it with coconut milk and roasted white sesame.
red bean sticky rice
  • Serve the sticky rice hot. If you prefer not to add sweetness directly by using granulated sugar, you can dissolve sugar in coconut milk and drizzle it over your Red bean sticky rice.

Storing red bean sticky rice

To keep sticky rice fresh at room temperature, wait until it cools down completely. Then, store it in a sealed container to prevent it from drying out. It’s best to consume it within one day. If you notice any strange smell or texture, especially on hot days, it’s safer to throw it away rather than eat it.

For longer storage, keep red bean sticky rice in the fridge. It can last for about 3-4 days there. If you have more leftovers and want to keep them longer, freeze them. It can stay good for 1-2 months, but make sure to label it and use it as soon as possible.

When reheating leftover red bean sticky rice, warm it up in the microwave or steamer. You may need to add a bit of water or coconut milk to restore its stickiness and moisture. Warm it gradually, stirring or fluffing with a fork or chopstick until it reaches your desired temperature.

red bean sticky rice

Red Bean Sticky Rice Recipe

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

The red hue of the sticky rice, created by the red bean, makes this dish visually appealing and is believed to bring good luck.

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

Both red beans and sticky rice require soaking for at least 4 hours before cooking.

  • Sticky rice: Rinse the rice under running water several times until the water runs clear. This step removes excess starch and ensures a good final texture after cooking. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the rice. You will need to soak it in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour.red bean sticky rice Sticky rice after soaking.
  • Red beans: Choose dried red beans and rinse them under water to remove any impurities. Like the rice, soak the red beans in fresh water. Ideally, soak them for 4 hours to 8 hours or overnight.red beans

Step 2. Cooking with a rice cooker/ instant pot

After soaking your ingredients for a long enough time, you can start to cook them. Rinse the glutinous rice and red bean the one last time and drain out all the water.

  • Parboil red beans: red beans are harder than sticky rice, thus requires to be parboiled in advance. To do so, cook them in 15 minutes in boiling water. If you would like to cook red bean sticky rice in a steamer, do one more step: parboil sticky rice. Blanch sticky rice in boiling water for 30 seconds. Stir continuously to prevent it from sticking to the pot. Immediately transfer the parboiled sticky rice into the prepared mesh strainer to drain excess water. red bean sweet soup
  • Mixing red beans and sticky rice: Mix them thoroughly in the cooking pot (rice cooker's inner pot or Instant Pot). Add just enough water to cover the rice and the red beans like the picture below. Then, mix in the seasonings (1 pinch of salt and 1 tbsp coconut milk) with the rice. red bean sticky rice
  • Cooking in a Steamer: Steam red beans and sticky rice for 20 minutes. Check if they are well cooked by biting a piece of red bean; if it's totally soft, you can turn off the heat.
  • Cooking in a Rice Cooker: With the rice cooker, switch on the cooking function. After 10 minutes, you can optionally stir the rice once for even cooking. Leave it until the light switches to the "warm" function, and then wait for an additional 10 minutes before opening and stirring the cooked rice.red bean sticky rice
  • Cooking in an Instant Pot: Using the instant pot, select the high-pressure cooking mode for either 15 minutes and allow for a natural pressure release for about 5 minutes, or opt for 18 minutes and quickly release pressure by moving the pressure release valve to the open position.

Step 3. Preparing toppings

  • Roast white sesame on the stove over medium heat until it turns slightly golden and starts to release sesame oil. If you have fresh coconut flesh, shred it. If you're using frozen shredded coconut, defrost it naturally at room temperature or blanch it with boiling water.roast sesame

Step 4. Serving

  • Since red bean sticky rice is sticky, you can shape it into a cool form or let it settle freely on a dish. Then, drizzle coconut milk (if available) on top. Finally, garnish it with your favorite toppings: shredded coconut, roasted white sesame, granulated sugar, or crushed peanuts. Enjoy it with coconut milk and roasted white sesame.red bean sticky rice

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 200g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225

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