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Pandan Rice Cakes (Banh Duc La Dua)

These chewy, nutty, flavorful pandan rice cakes is most popular street snacks in Vietnam. Serve over ginger syrup and coconut sauce. 

Servings 4

Ingredients

For the green layer:

  • 1 bunch pandan leaves (about 7oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 1/4 cup pandan water (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 drop teaspoon pandan extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the white layer:

  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk see notes

For the Ginger Syrup:

  • 0.7 oz palm sugar can be substitute with brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • a small thumb size ginger
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the coconut sauce:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pandan leaves (optional)
  • toasted sesame seeds for toppings

Instructions

  1. To prepare the pandan water: Combine 2 cups water with 7 oz of chopped pandan leaves in a blender. Blend until smooth. Strain through. You'll get about 1 1/2 cup of pandan water. 

  2. To make the green layer: In a small bowl, combine corn starch, rice flour, tapioca starch and 1/2 cup of pandan water. Mix until smooth. 

  3. In a small sauce pan, place the remaining 1 cup of pandan water. Bring it to boil. When it starts boiling, add in the flour mixture and remove from heat immediately. Use a whisk and keep stiring until you get a thick paste, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

  4. To make the white layer: Repeat the same step to get the white paste. In a small bowl, combine corn starch, water, rice flour, tapioca starch. Mix until smooth.

    Bring 1 cup of coconut milk to boil. When it starts boil, remove from heat and add in the flour mixture. Keep stiring until you get a thick paste, about 3 to 5 minutes. 

  5. To arrange the cake: Grease a 9" cake pan with some vegetable oil. Pour the green into the mold, then the white layer. Use a spatula to flatten it out. 

  6. Steam the cake for 20 minutes.

  7. To make the ginger syrup - In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, combine water, palm sugar, ginger. When the sugar are all melter, turn the heat to low. In a separate bowl, whisk tapioca starch with 2 tablespoons of water until dissolve. Add mixture to sugar syrup, cook for a minute until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside. 

  8. To make the coconut sauce - In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, salt, pandan leaves and water. Bring it to a boil. Whisk tapioca starch and water in a small bowl until smooth and add to the coconut mixture. Let it simmer for a few minutes until sauce thickens. 

  9. Chill the cakes until set and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably over night. 

    To serve: Cut the cakes into cubes, drizzles some ginger syrup, some of the coconut sauce and tops with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

A 13.5 oz can of coconut milk is used in this recipe. I use 1 cup for the white layer and the remaining (about 1/2 cup) for the coconut sauce. 

If you can't locate pandan leaves, you can use more of pandan extract. See picture #3 above. I use 3 drops of pandan extract for the darker green cakes and did not use any pandan leaves at all.