Vietnamese snow skin mooncake (Banh deo) is soft-chewy on the outside. You can put any mooncake filling inside it.
Snow skin mooncake (bánh dẻo) and baked mooncake (bánh nướng) are the two delicacies of Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam. Most Vietnamese people prefer the baked cakes over snow skin ones though :). In this post, I want to show you how this Vietnamese traditional cake is made.
Vietnamese snow skin mooncakes are not the same as those from neighboring countries like Singapore and China. They are chewy on the outside and usually very sweet. The skin is much sweeter than that of the baked ones. They are kept at room temperature because if you store them in the refrigerator, they’ll turn hard as a rock.
Banh deo is not baked. Instead, it is made from cooked glutinous rice flour. The flour may also be called fried glutinous rice flour. As far as I know, it is impossible to make this flour at home. You can try toasting or even baking raw glutinous rice flour, but the result will be completely different.
So what is cooked glutinous rice flour? Glutinous rice is puffed up and toasted first, and then processed into fine flour. That’s why the flour has a distinct taste compared to the one you make by toasting raw flour at home.
The best places to find this flour are local Asian grocery stores. It is called “bột bánh dẻo” in Vietnamese. Above is the brand I use in Vietnam.
For the filling, you can use any mooncake filling you like. In Vietnam, the most popular filling for traditional snow skin mooncakes is mixed nuts. We use the mixed nuts filling from our banh nuong recipe.
How to Make Vietnamese Snow Skin Mooncakes
Generally speaking, snow skin cakes are quicker and easier to make than baked one. The dough simply consists of cooked glutinous flour, sugar and water.
Since the flour is already fully cooked, the dough will not be cooked. You will put the filling inside, form a ball, use a mooncake mold to shape it. Then the cake will be eaten directly after a day. You can watch the process in the video below.
Traditional banh deo is very very sweet. The level of sweetness is almost inedible to me. So I tried to reduce sugar as much as I can in this recipe, although it would speed up the spoilage process. Normally, this cake can be kept for only 4-5 days.
My family almost never buys commercially-made snow skin mooncakes because of concern about poor food hygiene practice. Although I prefer the baked cakes, I do enjoy the soft-chewy texture of snow skin cakes.
Other Vietnamese dessert recipes
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 Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Snow Skin Mooncakes (Banh deo)
- 3/4 cup water
- 2-3 oz sugar
- 7 oz cooked glutinous rice flour (a bit under 2 cups, this is for both the dough and for dusting)
- 5.5 oz your choice of mooncake filling
- Add water and sugar to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar completely and turn off the stove once the mixture starts to boil and looks clear.
- Pour the sugar syrup into a clean bowl and let it cool down slightly. Gradually add the cooked glutinous rice flour in batches. Stir to combine thoroughly before adding a new batch.
- After you have added about 2/3 of the flour, you will have a clumpy, sticky dough. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle a third of the remaining flour on a clean surface and place the dough on top of the flour. Sprinkle another third of flour on top of the dough.
- Make sure your hands are clean, or put on food-grade gloves. Press down on the dough, then fold in half top-to-bottom and then left-to-right. Press down again and repeat. The dough will gradually absorb the dusting flour, becoming heavier and smoother.
- Once the dough looks smooth, feels heavy and dense (but not hard), press down to flatten it and roll into a log. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions, about 1.4 oz (35-40gr) each. Lightly dust each dough piece and roll into a ball.
- Divide the filling and shape into small balls. Flatten a dough ball and place the filling in the center and then seal. Dust your mooncake mold thoroughly and place the cake inside the mold. Press to shape the cake. Continue with the remaining dough and filling.
- The cakes can be eaten after a few hours, but they will taste better the next day. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, and eat it within 3-4 days for the best taste and texture.