This is a delicious Vietnamese dessert called steamed rice cakes also known as banh bo. When I was little, my grandma used to make this for me (minus the coconut milk). There is a chinese version to this cake that doesn't use coconut milk. In hmong we call this "ncuav sawv".
Many years ago when I tried to learn how to make this dessert, I failed miserably 13 times. On my 14th attempt, I finally got the beautiful honeycombs in my steamed rice cake. Oh boy, what a journey that was! The key to this recipe is PATIENCE!!!! Do not rush anything otherwise, you'll end up with a flat and unflattering cake. I also found that the secret to nice honeycombs is also in the preparation of the first step. It is critical that you have a good solid container.
If you use instant yeast, you only need to allow the batter to rise for about 1 hour, then add the coconut/water/sugar mixture and let rest 20 minutes and then you can steam it. No need to wait 5-10 hours.
- 1 - 16 oz bag rice flour
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 package yeast or 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1 - 13 oz can coconut milk (the cooking kind is preferred, do not use dessert coconut milk)
- 1 3/4 cup sugar (adjust sugar to your liking)
- 1 cup water
- gallon ice cream bucket or other airtight container
- Add 2 cups warm water, yeast, and 1 tbsp sugar to an ice cream bucket. Mix.
- Add rice flour and mix.
- Close lid, set aside for 5 - 10 hours (or overnight). The batter will rise and fall. The longer you keep it in the container, the stronger the flavor.
- In a small pot, add 1 cup water, coconut milk, and the sugar. Heat on medium until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.
- Set aside for 10-15 minutes until cool.
Mixing it all together
- Using a whisk, stir the batter to loosen it from the ice cream bucket.
- Add the syrup from step 2 to the batter. Mix. It will become the consistency like milk.
- Close lid.
- Set aside for 1 hour.
After 1 hour
- Open lid and you will see tiny air bubbles form.
- If you want to make multiple colors, separate the mixture into equal parts. Add food coloring of your choice. Skip this step if you don't want color.
- Heat a steamer to boiling and place a metal pie pan. Make sure the metal pie pan is hot before you pour in the mixture.
- Steam on high for about 15-20 minutes.
- When the rice cake is done, the top surface should be solid.
- Remove from steamer and place into a freezer for about 10-15 minutes until cool.
- Transfer onto plate and cut. Serve
I hope you try this recipe and let me know how it turns out for you!
- Steam in tart molds
- Cut up the bottom of soda cans and use as a mold. It has a unique shape!
- Steam in small round molds or dishes