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Sticky rice with cassava and onion oil (xôi sắn/xôi khoai mì)

>> Sunday, June 12, 2011

{Delicious Vietnam #14}


It is cold, and the rain hasn’t stopped. I wake up to the sound of the rain, and the wind. It has been so cold, and waking up in the 5C isn’t the easiest thing to do. After feeding Đen, it is time for my own breakfast, which is a simple affair for most days. Toasts or muesli and coffee. Sometimes if Mr. B is around I will make something with eggs although I am not a fan of them for morning meals.

Sometimes, the “Vietnamese in me” wants a heavy breakfast though. Noodle soup (bún, mì, phở), congee (cháo) or sticky rice (xôi). It’s a rather substantial meal but oh-so-satisfying and can set you right up for the rest of the day. (And it makes sense scientific wise to have a glorious breakfast, yes?)

Lately I have been craving for sticky rice. Sticky rice with cassava (xôi sắn) in particular. This is not the sort of thing you often find in Hanoi shops. It’s a pheasant dish that Ms. Lụa, my home-help, used to cooked up at my request. I remember her asking why the Hanoians didn’t embrace this sticky rice dish. Too heavy to their “refined taste”? Whatever. I love it.

Xôi sắn (Vietnamese sticky rice with cassava)

Anyway, this is my first time cooking sticky rice with casasva. The last time I had a chance to enjoy it was more than five years ago. When Ms. Lua left, no one made it for me anymore. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to cook. Just a little bit of organisation is needed. Sticky rice must be soaked the days before (4 hours in summer, and longer time for winter). Frozen cassava is thawed, cut into large pieces then mixed with the rice. The whole mixture is then steamed in a steamer until cooked through.

The sticky rice is typically served with a mixture spring onion cooked in lard. I have substituted lard with oil without much problem. Sometimes people will also add prawn floss. Today I have paired the sticky rice with a Malaysian-inspired anchovy sambal (!). It’s highly non-Vietnamese but this is an effort to please the Singaporean side of my family and introduce them to the dish. It’s a win-win situation, you know? ;)

(Now a bit of language lesson for those who understand. Cassava is called củ sắn in the north and khoai mì in the south. Don't confused with "củ sắn" in the southern Vietnamese language, which means jicama)

I am sending this dish to Delicious Vietnam #14. This month is hosted by the lovely couple at rauom. Please join us for some tasty treats!


Sticky rice with cassava and spring onion sauce (xôi sắn/xôi khoai mì) {printable recipe}

You will need to start this recipe the day before

Ingredients (feed hungry 5 people and more)
500g sticky rice (glutinous rice or sweet rice)
500g frozen cassava, thawed, drained and cut into pieces*
1/2 tablespoon salt

½ cup oil
2 cups finely chopped spring onions (both green and white parts)
2 tsp salt


Wash the sticky rice and soak it overnight. The next day, drain the rice in a colander.

Mix the rice well with salt. Put the rice in a steamer and steam over medium heat for around 30 minutes or until cooked through.

When the rice is being cooked, prepare the spring onion oil  - Heat the oil, add salt and briefly fry the finely chopped up spring onion. Let cool.

Serve the sticky rice hot, drizzle with the spring onion oil. Serve with anchovies sambal, if desired.

(*) Frozen cassavas are at Asian shops. You can use fresh cassava - peel well and cut into cubes and cook as above.


Malaysian-inspired anchovy sambal

I like the use of vinegar here. It makes the anchovies crispier for longer. My sambal is not as sweet as the traditional Malaysian kind, so increase the amount of sugar if you like.

1.5 cups dried anchovies
2 tablespoons oil
4 shallots
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons ground chilli (store-bought)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar

Wash the dried anchovies and drain well.
Pound the shallots and garlic into a fine paste.
In a wok, add 1-2 tablepoons oil, fry the anchovies in low heat until cripsy. Dish out. In the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil, fry the garlic-shallot paste until golden. Mix in chilli sauce, sugar, vinegar and toss through the fried anchovies.
This will keep well for a few days.


Rosa's Yummy Yums 10:21 PM  

That is an interesting dish! So comforting.



Pam 10:22 PM  

I wonder if I can find cassava here?

Anh 10:29 PM  

Pam: I am sure Vietnamese shops will have them!

Phuoc'n Delicious 10:29 PM  

LOL crazy northerners/southerners :p I was wondering what the heck cu san was.. I like simply having sticky rice with pork floss mmm...

I remember when I was in Hanoi, we had very little time to grab some breaky in the morning, I saw a lady on the side of the street with many people huddling around her and there she was selling sticky rice with a mixture of toppings. Because I couldn't really understand what she said, I ended up with sticky rice with some peanuts in it lol But I so should've gotten more. That was delish!

I reckon it'd be perfect for a morning snack too since it's also freezing here!

La Table De Nana 10:42 PM  

Your photos are always just so special:) This particular presentation is so simply beautiful.

OohLookBel 10:54 PM  

Great pair-up with the cassava rice and the sambal. That anchovy saltiness is so yum.

leaf (the indolent cook) 10:56 PM  

A warm and comforting dish for sure. And I totally approve of your addition of sambal. ;)

chocolatesuze 12:05 AM  

sticky rice + sambal sounds perfect for this crappy weather!

chinmayie @ love food eat 4:18 AM  

I LOVE sticky rice!! I think i will remember the food i had in Hanoi ALL MY LIFE!! I have tried cooking sticky rice at home with not much success ;( I don't really have a traditional steamer though! Do you have any suggestions?

bunnyeatsdesign 9:51 AM  

I love rice for breakfast. Just wondering, is there a reason this was served on paper?

Anh 10:03 AM  

@chinmayie: u can cook sticky rice in the microwave you know? It's not at good, but better than cooking it in a stove top cooker. Just put enough water to barely covered the rice (which has been soaked overnight). Cover with cling wrap and microwave for 2-4 minutes, take out and give a good stir. Cover again and microwave for a few more minutes. Check if the rice is cooked. Since cooking sticky rice this way tends to dry the final dish, I would suggest you add some oil to the cooked rice straight away.

@bunnyeatsdesign - I wish I had fresh banana leaves to style this photo. Often, sticky rice in Vietnam is wrapped in banana leaves (lotus leaves) which keeps the rice moist. It also gives the dish a really refreshing fragrance...
Here I used baking paper (!) to get that rustic look, but obviously I didn't succeed :<

Tanvi@SinfullySpicy 10:21 AM  

I love thai sticky rice with mango..never ate cassava but I m seeing it so much on ur blog that now I feel like really trying it! That sambal sounds and looks soooo awesome!

tigerfish 10:56 AM  

I always adore the oil of aromatics (e.g. garlic, shallots, or spring onion) drizzled over gently cooked food. I like spring onion oil tossed into noodles. I never tried this dish before but I know it's going to be tasty delicious.

Monet 11:44 AM  

Delicious. Isn't it amazing how great a simple meal like this can taste? So filling, so flavorful, so comforting. Thank you for sharing another inspired recipe. I hope you have a wonderful start to your week. Hugs and love from Austin!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets 1:25 PM  

Mmm looks and sounds so yummy - love the onion oil!

Jo 2:40 PM  

Yum .. especially the crispy anchovies!

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed 2:40 PM  

This looks absolutely delicious! I have never cooked with sticky rice, so this seems like a bit of a scary recipe, but I would absolutely love to try it :) The anchovy sambal also looks just incredible.
Heidi xo

Kayla 2:46 PM  

I love the fusion here. I think the use of sambal just makes every rice dish sound more exciting (that's my Singaporean side talking) ! I've not tried this dish before, and it's really nice to learn of a dish that is not commonly served in restaurants.

Johanna GGG 3:20 PM  

looks like a good hearty breakfast - I so rarely have rice for breakfast because I come from such a toast-centric breakfast culture but it sounds like a good start to the day

Hannah 3:31 PM  

Oooh! Considering how much I love eating Japanese rice with pickles, I know I'd love this rice with the intense anchovy sambal! Looks fabulous :)

pickyin @ LifeIsGreat 5:49 PM  

Interesting dish this. I'll probably make this with noodles instead. Sambal ikan bilis is always the winner!

Maris (In Good Taste) 6:02 PM  

What an delicious way to start the day. A warm and comforting dish to warm the heart

penny aka jeroxie 8:34 PM  

This reminds me a little of nasi lemak. Must be the anchovies.

Trissa 10:10 PM  

I love an Asian breakfast - for me - there is nothing more satisfying than rice and fish for brekky... while I've never had your version - it brings back fond memories of me having garlic fried rice and dried fish for breakfast in the Philippines. I will certainly try this version one day...

tasteofbeirut 11:04 PM  

I have been looking for cassava; now I know to look for it in Vietnamese shops; love your rice!

a travel bee 11:28 PM  

Chị ơi, em là travel bee đây ^^ cùng tên với ông xã nhà chị nhỉ? Cảm ơn chị đã ghé qua blog em nhé. Em vui ơi là vui vì trước giờ luôn ngưỡng mộ blog chị và những công thức chị nấu, hình ảnh thì cứ gọi là trên cả nghệ thuật. Có hôm thì bình dị, dân dã, hôm thì trao chuốt và tỉ mỉ. Em chắc Mr. Bee là người đàn ông hạnh phúc nhất rồi ^^

Nami @ Just One Cookbook 5:55 AM  

Sticky rice with cassava! Yum! We also use dried anchovies for cooking and we have very similar dish, but instead of chili we add soy sauce. This whole meal would be perfect for my everyday breakfast. LOL.

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul 7:04 AM  

First off, thank you Anh for explaining how sticky rice is made. This looks very satisfying....extra sambal for me please!

Jackie at 10:32 AM  

mmm I haven't made xoi in so long. It's so delicious. Thanks for reminding me!

Two fit and fun gals 12:23 PM  

this looks SO GOOD!!

Tina@foodboozeshoes 4:31 PM  

Loving all things sticky rice in this cooler weather - so filling and nourishing :)

Karen 5:58 PM  

Anh, this looks wonderful and perfect for a cold and rainy morning. I love sticky rice, but I've only had sweet versions of it.

shaz 10:45 PM  

I am a big fan of sticky rice, and definitely on board with this dish especially the anchovy sambal :) So sweet to keep the in-laws happy.

my spatula 12:00 AM  

ohhhh, one of my favorite childhood dishes of all time (and still today)! i'd love a big bowl right now.

Reese@SeasonwithSpice 12:24 AM  

Hi Anh, interesting to see your take on Malaysian anchovies sambal with the use of vinegar. We call them ikan bilis. I happened to share the Malaysian Sambal Ikan Bilis recipe on Season with Spice. Would love to try it with vinegar soon.

foodwanderings 9:34 AM  

Anh, I can almost taste it the sticky rice and love what seems like crunchy casava. You always do such a meticulous job & your pics look beautiful!

Hovkonditorn 7:08 PM  

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! This dish sounds really interesting :)

lena 12:25 AM  

dear anh, i'm so glad that you dropped by my blog so that i know you. I just went thru your recipe list and gosh, you got lovely recipes there. i will come here very often!!

Little Corner of Mine 1:44 AM  

I have yet to try this kind of combination, looks intriguing.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen 11:22 AM  

I so agree how a good breakfast gives a good start to the day, although my American roots may prefer this as a meal later in the day. It sounds delicious any time!

Julia @Mélanger 3:39 PM  

I would must rather detour the typical western cereal or toast for a breakfast like this. I'm quite partial to congee myself, and definitely want to try this one day soon!

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