Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Hand-Cut Mung Bean (Xoi Xeo) features soft-chewy golden sticky rice, wholesome mung bean and crispy fried shallots. It is a classic breakfast so many Hanoians love.
Sticky rice is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine. Many of us Vietnamese grew up eating sticky rice a few times a week for breakfast. There are probably as many sticky rice dishes as noodle dishes in Vietnam, and I love all of them. Whenever I eat a sticky rice dish, many fond childhood memories come back to my mind.
One of my favorite Vietnamese sticky rice dishes is Xoi Xeo, which I roughly translate to Sticky Rice with Hand-Cut Mung Bean in English. What is unique about this dish is the use of mung bean. Mung bean is steamed, then finely pounded and formed into large balls. After that, we will use a knife to hand-cut the mung bean balls into thin slices to top the sticky rice.
There are actually several Vietnamese sticky rice dishes with mung bean, but I think Xoi Xeo is the one that showcases the best of both sticky rice and mung bean. The sticky rice is soft-chewy and slightly sweet naturally. The mung bean is hearty, wholesome and can almost melt in the mouth since we have processed it very finely.
To make Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Hand-Cut Mung Bean, you will need:
- sticky rice,
- split mung bean,
- turmeric, and
- fried shallots.
Split mung bean can be bought at Asian grocery stores. You will come across this ingredient in a number of Vietnamese savory and sweet dishes such as Square Sticky Rice Cake (Banh Chung), Mung Bean Pudding and Glutinous Rice Balls (Che troi nuoc).
You can also find sticky rice at Asian grocery stores. They may also be called glutinous rice or sweet rice. In the US, I like to buy short-grain sticky rice from Japan or Korea because these types of sticky rice are very soft once steamed.
You may notice from the photo that the sticky rice in Xoi Xeo has a yellow color. That is because we soak the grain in water with either turmeric juice or turmeric powder before steaming. A lot of Vietnamese dishes use turmeric as a natural food coloring, such as Hoi An Chicken Rice, Hanoi Turmeric Fish or Sizzling Crepes.
Fried shallots can be made at home or purchased from Asian grocery stores. If you like to make them at home, you will need to slice shallots thinly and then fry until golden and crispy.
Vietnamese street food vendors also drizzle a spoon of chicken fat over Xoi Xeo to enhance the richness. It’s totally up to you whether you want to do this or not.
I usually don’t use chicken fat. Instead, I would add a few tablespoons of coconut milk to the glutinous rice while steaming. It’s very delicious with the addition of coconut milk and this way, the sticky rice is naturally vegan.
How to Make Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Hand-Cut Mung Bean (Xoi Xeo)
To make Xoi Xeo, you will need to have a steamer. If you have a double-tiered steamer, that would be even better since we will need to steam the mung bean and sticky rice separately. You can get some stackable bamboo steamer baskets from Amazon.
Both the glutinous rice and split mung bean require at least 2-3 hours of soaking. Soaking will help them cook faster and more evenly. Steaming sticky rice is easy. Just steam until soft, then mix in a few tablespoons of coconut milk if desired and steam for a few more minutes.
With the split mung beans, you will also need to steam until they are completely soft. After that, you can mash them, or pound them with a mortar and pestle, or process them finely with a food processor or food chopper.
Then shape into large balls when the mung beans are still warm. It is important that you form the mung bean balls while the beans are warm, otherwise it may fall apart easily.
How to Serve Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Hand-Cut Mung Bean (Xoi Xeo)
Once you have finished cooking everything, here comes the fun part of this dish :). First, place sticky rice in serving bowls or on serving plates. Then use a knife to cut the mung bean balls into thin slices and let those mung bean slices fall on top of the sticky rice.
Finally, top with plenty of fried shallots (and drizzle some chicken fat if desired). And now you have it, the signature sticky rice dish of Hanoi cuisine. I also love to eat xoi xeo with thit kho tau (Vietnamese caramelized pork belly). So delicious and filling! Please find detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
I’d love to hear what you think about this dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Hand-Cut Mung Bean (Xoi Xeo)
- 8 oz sticky rice (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3.5 oz split mung beans
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3-4 tablespoons coconut milk (optional)
- fried shallots
- Rinse sticky rice under water. Add sticky rice to a large bowl, add plenty of water and turmeric powder. Soak sticky rice for at least 2-3 hours.
- Rinse split mung beans under water. Add to a bowl and fill with water. Soak mung beans for at least 2-3 hours.
Cooking the Sticky Rice
- Drain sticky rice and then toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Steam until soft, about 25-30 minutes, give the rice a stir halfway.
- If you want the sticky rice to be softer and richer, add 3-4 tablespoons of coconut milk to the rice and mix. Continue to steam for another 2-3 minutes.
Cooking the Mung Beans
- Drain mung beans and toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Steam until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Let the mung beans cool down slightly but still warm. Then either mash them, or pound them with a mortar and pestle, or process them finely in a food chopper/food processor. After that, form the mung bean powder into two balls.
Putting the Dish Together
- Place steamed sticky rice on serving plates or in serving bowls. Use a knife to cut the mung bean balls into thin slices onto the sticky rice.
- Sprinkle a lot of fried shallots on top, then serve immediately.