Vietnamese Grilled Banana Sticky Rice (Chuoi Nep Nuong)

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Vietnamese Grilled Banana in Sticky Rice (Chuoi Nep Nuong) is a delicious Southern snack or dessert. Served with rich coconut sauce and nutty toasted sesame seeds, this humble-looking dish delivers a wide range of textures and flavors.

Grilled banana sticky rice rolls, served with coconut sauce and toasted sesame seeds. This is a popular Southern Vietnamese dessert.

What is Chuoi Nep Nuong?

In Vietnamese, “chuoi” means banana, “nep” means sticky rice and “nuong” means grilling. The name “Chuoi Nep Nuong” perfectly describes the dish, which features ripe bananas wrapped in sticky rice. The banana sticky rice rolls are then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled until the outside is golden. We like to eat it hot off the grill with coconut sauce and toasted sesame seeds.

What fascinates me about this popular Southern Vietnamese street snack is how many different flavors and textures are packed in it, although very few ingredients are used. The outermost sticky rice layer is golden and crunchy after being grilled. There remains a thin layer of sticky rice inside that is still soft-chewy. And in the center is a whole sweet and tender banana.

In addition, Chuoi Nep Nuong will also make your nose excited since banana, coconut milk and banana leaves are all fragrant. On top of that is the irresistible char-grilled taste. So many good things in one simple dish!

Ingredients

To make Chuoi Nep Nuong, you will need ripe bananas, sticky rice (also called glutinous rice), coconut milk, banana leaves and toasted sesame seeds. This Vietnamese dessert is vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.

Traditionally, the dish is made with pisang awak variety of bananas (chuoi su/chuoi xiem) in Saigon. These bananas are shorter and firmer than the cavendish variety which is more popular in Western country.

Vietnamese pisang bananas (chuoi su)
Vietnamese pisang bananas (chuoi su or chuoi xiem)

You can try to find pisang awak bananas at Asian grocery stores. If they are not available, you can try using the regular cavendish bananas. However, make sure you use just ripe ones and not overripe ones.

Update 10/21/19: I have made this dessert recently with cavendish bananas. The bananas inside will become very soft, kinda mushy and banana flavors are lost quite significantly after we grill it. So it’s best to use pisang awak bananas. I’ve been wondering if plantain will work.

For coconut milk, my favorite brand is Aroy-D. Another good brand is Chaokoh. Banana leaves are usually in the frozen section at Asian grocery stores. You can also grab sticky rice and toasted sesame seeds there.

Steam Sticky Rice First

Making Chuoi Nep Nuong requires a few steps, but I promise it will be worth it once done. Start with soaking the sticky rice in plenty of water for a couple of hours, and then steam until soft. This may take 20-30 minutes depending on how long you soak the rice. While steaming the sticky rice, you can wash and prepare the banana leaves.

I recommend covering a clean cutting board or working surface with cling wrap before you start wrapping because the rice can be sticky. Then spread the rice thinly on top so that the sticky rice layer is slightly wider than the length of the banana.

Spread sticky rice into a thin layer. Place a banana on top and roll until all sides of the banana is covered with sticky rice.

Place a banana on the near edge of the rice layer and let’s roll. Make sure the sticky rice covers all sides of the banana.

Wrap the Rolls with Banana Leaves

Prepare four pieces of banana leaves, two of which should be as wide as the length of the banana sticky rice roll. The other two should be as wide as the width of the roll so that they can cover the two ends of the roll.

Wrap the banana sticky rice roll in a couple of layers of banana leaves

Use these pieces of banana leaves to wrap around the sticky rice rolls. Make sure all sides of the rolls are covered.

Grill the Rolls

You can use a grill pan/plate, outdoor gas or charcoal grill the cook the rolls. I often use my Staub grill pan and they turn out great. Use medium-low to medium heat to make sure they are evenly grilled on all sides. This may take around 20-25 minutes.

Grill banana sticky rice rolls with a grill pan

The banana leaves will turn brown and darkened as you grill the rolls. Once blackened, they will start to peel themselves from the sticky rice. Grill until most of the leaves are blackened and the outer sticky rice is golden and crunchy. Don’t burn the sticky rice, but don’t undercook it either because if undercooked, the rice will be hard-chewy instead of crunchy.

Prepare the Coconut Sauce

While grilling the banana sticky rice rolls, you can prepare the coconut sauce. My chef friend who is a native Saigonese shared with me that the coconut sauce that is often served with Chuoi Nep Nuong nowadays isn’t what it was originally. The original coconut sauce was slightly savory with a little bit of sweetness, but these days people have forgotten about the savory side of it.

Making coconut sauce for Chuoi Nep Nuong: saute sliced scallions, then add coconut milk, salt, sugar and cornstarch.

The savory version of the coconut sauce contains coconut milk, salt, sautéed sliced scallions, and some sugar. It brings the needed balance to Chuoi Nep Nuong which is already sweet, rich and filling. With the salt and scallions in the sauce, the dish becomes multidimensional and more interesting.

I hope you will find all the cooking notes above useful. Detailed measurements and instructions to make Vietnamese Grilled Banana Sticky Rice are in the recipe card below. The instructions may look long but they are actually simple and straightforward.

Grilled banana sticky rice rolls, served with coconut sauce and toasted sesame seeds. This is a popular Southern Vietnamese dessert.

⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on FacebookYoutubePinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

Vietnamese Grilled Banana Sticky Rice (Chuoi Nep Nuong)

Vietnamese Grilled Banana Sticky Rice (Chuoi Nep Nuong)

Vietnamese Grilled Banana in Sticky Rice (Chuoi Nep Nuong) is a delicious Southern snack or dessert. Served with rich coconut sauce and nutty toasted sesame seeds, this humble-looking dish delivers a wide range of textures and flavors.
Author: Sophie
No ratings yet
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients
 

For the Banana Sticky Rice Rolls

  • 3/4 cup sticky rice
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 ripe pisang bananas (or 2 large cavendish bananas, cut in half)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk (optional)
  • banana leaves, washed and patted dry

For the Coconut Sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon thinly sliced scallions (green parts only)
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • toasted sesame seeds

Instructions
 

Steaming Sticky Rice

  • Soak sticky rice in plenty of water for at least 2 hours. Then rinse under running water. Toss with a pinch of salt and steam until soft, about 20-30 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate to slightly cool down. Divide into 4 equal parts.
  • If you want the rice to be soft, drizzle 2 tablespoons of coconut milk, mix and continue to steam for another 2-3 minutes.

Wrapping Bananas with Sticky Rice

  • Cover a clean cutting board (or working surface) with cling wrap. Spread 1 part of the sticky rice thinly on top so that the sticky rice layer is slightly wider than the length of the banana.
  • Place a banana on the near edge of the rice layer and roll. Make sure the sticky rice covers all sides of the banana. Continue with the remaing bananas and sticky rice.

Wrapping Banana Sticky Rice Rolls with Banana Leaves

  • Prepare four pieces of banana leaves, two of which should be as wide as the length of the banana sticky rice roll. The other two pieces should be as wide as the width of the roll so that they can cover the two ends of the roll.
  • Use these pieces of banana leaves to wrap around the sticky rice roll, making sure every side of the roll is covered. Continue with the remaining rolls.

Grilling Banana Sticky Rice Rolls

  • Place a grill pan over medium-low heat (or use a charcoal or gas outdoor grill). Once the grill pan is hot, place the banana sticky rice rolls onto the grill. Cook and rotate every few minutes to ensure all sides are grilled evenly.
  • Grill until the banana leaves are blackened and the outer sticky rice layer is golden and crunchy. It may take 20-25 minutes.

Making Coconut Sauce

  • While grilling the rolls, place a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat the oil and then add sliced scallions. Cook for a few seconds until scallions are fragrant.
  • Add coconut milk and 1/4 cup of water to the saucepan. Add salt and sugar, stir to dissolve. Taste and adjust it to your liking. Let the sauce come cook until some small bubbles start to appear, do not let it boil.
  • Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Slowly add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce while whisking to thicken the sauce to your liking. Turn off the heat and transfer the sauce to a bowl.

Putting the Dish Together

  • Peel off any remaing leaves from the grilled banana sticky rice rolls. Cut each roll into pieces and place in shallow serving plates or bowls. Drizzle coconut sauce and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top. Serve immediately.

Notes

Traditionally, the dish is made with pisang awak variety of bananas (chuoi su/chuoi xiem) in Saigon. If you use regular cavendish bananas which are longer and curvy, you may need to cut them in half so that it will be easier to roll. However, please be aware that the dessert will not turn out as good when you use cavendish bananas. I have made this dessert recently with cavendish bananas. The bananas inside will become very soft, kinda mushy after we grill it. So it’s best to use pisang awak bananas.
This dish can be prepared ahead. After wrapping banana sticky rice rolls with banana leaves, wrap them with cling wrap. You can then store them in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. The day you want to eat them, remove them from the refrigerator and let them come closer to room temperature before grilling.

Nutrition

Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 232mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dessert and Snack
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: banana with sticky rice, chuoi nep nuong
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