Lá dứa (pandan or screwpine leaf) has never been something that my mom cooked with a whole lot, so I don’t know how I thought of making pandan sticky rice one day. I just remember going to the Asian bakeries with her and seeing green-colored chiffon cakes and made-to-order waffles, and the scent was aromatic – often combined with coconut milk, it was just lovely. I was texting with my friend Phi and she told me to make pandan leaf extract with the leaves I bought at the Asian market one day. I wanted to make a sticky rice, and having never made (or eaten!) xôi lá dứa before and not knowing how it would taste, I was totally winging it.
You can use pandan leaf extract, but I wanted to veer away from artificial food colorings. The pandan leaf juice/extract that I made was a bright, vibrant green, and I used it to make a number of things which I’ll blog about in the following weeks. I used these instructions on how to make the pandan extract. It lightly tinted the sticky rice, not like the bright-green products you’ll find at the store.
Lá Dứa (pandanus leaves):
Before blending the pandan leaves with water:
And after! A cup of snipped pandan leaves blended with a cup of water yields about 3/4 cup of extract:
Just in case you’ve never seen it before, here’s a type of coconut cream powder I used:
With the sticky rice, just make sure you soak the glutinous rice for 6-8 hours before steaming it, so it takes less time to steam. I sprinkled it with a sweet and salty roasted sesame and peanut topping that is very popular in Vietnamese culture as an adornment to sticky rice. You can eat it as a snack or even dessert! So, about my first time making xôi lá dứa? Pretty awesome, and something I’ll make as a splurge again sometime! I’m so excited about my newfound discovery on making this! I really want to tell y’all what else has been brewing around the house but I’ll keep you in suspense.
Xôi Lá Dứa – Pandan Sticky Rice
makes 4 cups sticky rice
2 cups glutinous sticky rice, soaked in water for 6-8 hours
1/2 cup coconut cream powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons pandan leaf juice (instructions how to make it here)
for the roasted sesame/peanut topping:
1/4 cup ground, unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup unroasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
For the sticky rice: Soak the sticky rice (cover the rice with about an inch and a half of water above the top of the rice) for 6-8 hours. Drain. In a medium bowl, mix together the rice, coconut cream powder, salt, sugar, and pandan leaf juice. Place in a steamer and steam for about 30 minutes, until the sticky rice is translucent and chewy.
For the sesame/peanut topping: In a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat, toast the sesame seeds and peanuts until light brown, about 10 minutes. Make sure you frequently stir so as not to burn the sesame seeds and peanuts. When browned, pour into a small bowl, and mix in the sugar and salt to taste when cool.