Delicious Vietnam #2 – Savory mochi dumplings in light broth (súp bánh ít)

For the second edition of Delicious Vietnam, I’ll take an unusual approach to re-interpret one Viet dish – Bánh ít (savory mochi dumplings)

Savory mochi dumplings in light broth (sup banh troi man)

So first off, what is “bánh ít”? It is one of those dishes that fall into the “dumpling” category of Vietnamese cooking. The outer dough is made of glutinous rice flour. The filling has mince meat, prawns, mashed mung beans and onion.

In Hue, where this dumpling was christened, the making of “bánh ít” requires a lot of attention and details. I once saw a documentary on Hue imperial style cooking and it showed the whole preparation process. Typically, each dumpling was wrapped carefully with banana leaves. After cooking and cooling, this layer of leaves was removed, and a new layer was applied to achieve that ever-green and fresh presentation. So much effort in preparing a feast for the King, huh?

Nowadays, in the modern kitchen, we don’t really use banana leaves. Thus, the name “bánh ít trần”, aka “naked dumplings”, was born. They are certainly tasty even though the whole detailed presentation is lost. We like our banh it tran with spring onion mixture.

Savory mochi dumplings in light broth (sup banh troi man)

My interpretation…

Lately the weather has not been too kind. Cold, windy and grey. I’ve been craving for some hot and steamy soup. Not exactly the thick or rustic soup, but something more elegant like a flavorful clear chicken broth… Having tasted such awesome chicken broth made by Ms Baklover, I know I have to make some.

Pairing savory mochi dumplings with the soup is a fun idea. I quite like the texture of glutinous rice wrapping – it’s sticky, a bit chewier than the normal kinds. Enclosed inside is the usual suspects – minced chicken meat, mixed with the sweetness of the diced prawns, the peppery spicy note from white peppers and that familiar aroma of spring onion. Seasoning is simple – good fish sauce, and perhaps a tiny bit of chicken powder. I have purposely left out the mung bean, since it does feel a bit heavy on the palate. But the star is the broth – And I cannot recommend this recipe enough. Just sprinkle some chopped spring onion and serve the soup hot. It’s heavenly on a cold rainy day.

(it may be good as a lovely late night snack for the coming World Cup season since most things can be prepared before hand and reheat. The mochi balls keep well for at least a day)

Savory mochi dumplings in light broth (sup banh troi man)

Savory mochi dumplings in light broth

Enough for 4 servings as entrée. The amount of broth from here might be more than needed. Just freeze it for later. Make sure to let the dough rest. Be gentle when wrapping the filling.

The dough
200g glutinous rice flour
1 cup warm water, approximately
2tsp sea salt

The filling
100g minced meat
50g prawn meat, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
White pepper, fish sauce, and salt to taste

1 quantity of light chicken broth, recipe here

To serve: 1-2 Shanghai bokchoy, clean.

Prepare the chicken broth beforehand.

Make the dough– Put glutinous rice flour in a bowl with some salt. Slowly pour in the warm water, mix to combine. Add enough water and adjust the amount of rice until a dough is form and it doesn’t feel too sticky. Knead lightly, then let the dough rest in a covered bowl for at least 30-40 mins,

Prepare the filling – mix all the ingredients together. Knead briefly until everything comes together. Set aside.

Making the mochi balls: pinch a piece of dough (about the size of table tennis balls), flatten it using your hands, put some filling in the center. Gently enclosed the filling, roll the dough lightly to get a round shape. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Make sure to cover the dough and the balls properly to prevent them from drying out.

Boil a large pot of water, add some salt. Prepare another bowl of cold water. When the water in the pot is boiled, add in several mochi balls, and let boil gently. The balls are cooked when they float to the surface. Take out with a slotted spoon and immediately refresh them in the bowl of cold water (to prevent them from sticking together). Finally, put in a separate bowl and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the mochi balls.

Prepare the broth: Let the broth simmer for a little, briefly cook Shanghai bokchoy. Taste and adjust seasoning.

To serve, put some mochi balls in a bowl together with the Shanghai bokchoy. Ladle the hot soup over the dumplings. Serve hot, with extra sprinkle of pepper.


You still have time for Delicious Vietnam #2, hosted by Ravenous Couple. The details can be found here. Hopefully more of you can join the fun. :)

Inspirations needed? Here is the roundup of Delicious Vietnam #1!

42 Responses to Delicious Vietnam #2 – Savory mochi dumplings in light broth (súp bánh ít)

  1. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    A very comforting dish! I bet it tastes wonderful.

  2. Little Corner of Mine says:

    How interesting! I never have a savory mochi before.

  3. Gattina says:

    Oh Anhhhhhhh!!!! It is one of my childhood's favorite!!! (isn't it interesting that this dish in my country also share so much similarity :) … I am dying to come to your place to have a beauiful bowl of dumplings!

  4. Ivy says:

    Thanks for passing from my site. I am not familiar with Vietnamese Cuisine but this sounds very interesting and surely delicious.

  5. Ravenous Couple says:

    what a great idea to use banh it in a soup!

  6. Juliana says:

    Oh! I absolutely adore this mochi balls filled with meat…could have them every meal…

  7. Faith says:

    This looks like such a flavorful dish! Definitely the perfect comfort food. :) It is presented so beautifully, Anh!

  8. Melissa says:

    This looks sensational! Your plating is perfect and that is a really gorgeous photo :)

  9. tigerfish says:

    I am definitely in for savory mochi but I don't think I have seen them :(

  10. Mint Juice says:

    Hi!!I'm new in English blogger world!!

  11. Ms Baklover says:

    I am so flattered!! :) :) So glad my dodgy, vague instructions for the broth worked out.

  12. Johanna GGG says:

    I still get a bit intimidated by dumplings – but yours look so beautifully effortless with those lovely photos – and I love the name naked dumpling – sounds like a great name for a restaurant

  13. edith says:

    I love mochi but mmmmm have yet to taste a savoury one.

  14. Barbara says:

    Anh the dumplings look great. These photos are absolutely fabulous.

  15. penny aka jeroxie says:

    Not tried savory mochi before. Love the photos… now I need time to make mine!

  16. My Little Space says:

    HI there, thanks for stopping by my blog earlier and nice to meet you. You have such a lovely blog here. These savory mochi sounds vey interesting. Thanks for sharing and hope you're having a wonderful day!

  17. Susan says:

    Lovely photos, Anh. I've enjoyed some mochi, usually w/ bean filling, but these in broth are quite stunning.

  18. Amy @ cookbookmaniac says:

    Nice one, Anh! Your pics are very elegant. i don't know if I've ever eaten this. i'll have to ask my mum 😀 I think I still have lots to learn.

  19. Agnes says:

    Oooh I'm such a big fan of mochi – these sound very interesting!

  20. tasteofbeirut says:

    Wonderful dish; it is nice to know that it has such glorious past usage!

  21. Asha says:

    Wonderful looking dish, scrumptious.

  22. Naomi says:

    These look awesome. I grew up eating on Vietnamese food, so I love love love your blog!

  23. Food For Tots says:

    I never know that there is such an interesting savoury mochi dumpling in Vietnamese cuisine. The more I stare at the photo, the more my tummy rumbles. Oh gosh….!!!

  24. Angry Asian says:

    this is so lovely. i can't say that i love banh it but your presentation could possibly sway me.

  25. Ana Powell says:

    Divine work

  26. Zara says:

    Hi Anh! The pics are so eyecatching and I like your creative approach to the recipe..!

  27. WizzyTheStick says:

    I really need to get my hands on some glutinous rice flour as these dumplings would be perfect for my gluten intolerant son.

  28. Big Boys Oven says:

    wow! I love the setting of the photos, excellently set up! the dish was very appealing too!

  29. ChichaJo says:

    This looks like it really hits the spot! I love dumplings in soup although I've never tried this type of savory mochi dumpling…it sounds delicious!

  30. bake in paris says:

    Love the clear soup, and these savoury mochi balls are so tempting! Can almost taste it from here :-)

  31. Soma says:

    A completely new recipe for me and the minimalist photographs are like a dream. very well done.

  32. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) says:

    Beautiful dumpling soup. Loving all these Vietnamese dishes. Looking forward to more.

  33. SteelCityFlan says:

    The soup looks wonderful, and I'm saying that on a hot, sunny day! I can imagine that it would be heaven on a chilly one :) Also, your photos are really just gorgeous.

  34. Yasmeen says:

    Those look delectable.I'm also eager for start of world cup,these would be perfect for game time snack 😀

  35. Trissa says:

    Most of the mochi I've eaten has been sweet – I can't even remember having the savoury ones! Thanks for sharing – you have beautiful cuisine – am glad to learn about it from you!

  36. shaz says:

    SOunds wonderful, I love the texture of mochi and I like the sweet soup version, so I think I'll definitely like this savoury version.

  37. mademoiselle délicieuse says:

    I've only ever had these with a sweet filling or no filling so this is a revelation to me. Thanks for the insight!

  38. My Casa Bella says:

    Hi, this looks wonderful and comforting, but what is "glutinous rice flour"?

  39. Forager says:

    Wow – I eat a great deal of Vietnamese food but I've never had Vietnamese mochi before. I'll have to try to make these now!

  40. Indonesia-Eats says:

    Savoury mochi is new to me. Looking great!

  41. Anonymous says:

    I wandered in looking for a savoury alternative to sweet mochi. All the sweet mochi recipes I have found are insanely complex. This looks so simple! Thanks from anna

  42. Foto Bugil says:

    Hi Anh! The pics are so eyecatching and I like your creative approach to the recipe..!

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