Xoi Dau Phong, or Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Peanuts, is the best way to start your day. It's the perfect balance of sweet and salty, soft and sticky, and light and hearty. This classic Vietnamese dish is something you’ll want to tuck into every morning!
Vietnamese Sweet Sticky Rice
The name of this dish directly translates to sticky rice with peanuts. "Xoi" in Vietnamese means sticky rice and "dau phong" is peanuts. And that’s exactly what it is! But despite its humble ingredients list, this Vietnamese breakfast staple is as yummy as it is filling.
This xoi dau phong recipe actually belongs to my grandma. I have vivid memories of her visiting us every weekend with a big batch of xoi. I loved that she kept it simple - I don't make it any other way now! At home we often eat this dish for breakfast or as a snack. It's really popular with kids too, especially as an after-school meal.
A big pile of soft and sweet sticky rice mixed with salty, crunchy peanuts is a sure-fire way to satisfy any comfort food cravings. The peanuts gently steam with the rice and softens slightly. But they still provide a great textural contrast you won’t be able to get enough of.
Why You'll Love It
- It’s a big hit with kids. When your little ones are hungry but they don’t know what they want, try serving them a bowl of Vietnamese sticky rice with peanuts!
- You only need 5 ingredients, most of which are pantry staples!
- It’s super simple, making it great for busy mornings. The rice steamer does all the work for you while you get ready.
- A great option for a gluten-free diet. Even though it’s sometimes called glutinous rice, the rice used in this recipe is 100% naturally gluten-free.
- Perfect for meal prep. You can make a great big batch of this on a Sunday and enjoy quick, hassle-free breakfasts for the rest of the week.
- Short grain sweet rice: Also known as sweet rice, sticky rice, or glutinous rice. My family's favorite brand is Koda Farms Sho-Chiku-Bal.
- Skin-on peanuts: It's traditional to keep the skin on for this recipe. You can find these in any Asian market. If you can't find them, skinless peanuts would still work.
- Salt: A little bit in the peanut rice helps balance the sweetness of the sesame sugar topping and enhance the flavor of the rice.
For the Sesame Sugar Topping
The topping is optional, but it's addicting! It adds a little sweet and salty crunch.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar works best.
- Sesame seeds: Adds additional nuttiness and saltiness.
How To Make It
- Soak the peanuts and glutinous rice. It's important to soak the rice for 8 hours or overnight. This allows the grain to swell and will ensure even moisture absorption and cooking.
- Steam the rice and peanuts together. Combine the drained xoi and peanuts, plus a pinch of salt. Line your steamer with cheesecloth or a perforated piece of parchment paper. Steam for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until rice is translucent and soft. If the top looks dry, you can pour some water over the top.
- Make the sesame sugar topping. Toast your sesame seeds if they aren't already toasted. Then add them to a ziplock bag and crush with a mallet or rolling pin until they resemble coarse sand. Combine with sugar and a little salt.
- The peanut sticky rice certainly lives up to its name. It gets really sticky when it’s cooked and can be tricky to handle. Always line your steamer with perforated parchment paper or cheesecloth. It’s worth lining the sides of your steamer, as well as the bottom.
- To make handling the glutinous rice with peanuts easier, wet your hands and tools. This will stop the rice from sticking to you and your kitchen equipment.
- Although it’s tempting, don’t use a rice cooker for this unless it has a special setting for sticky rice. It’s best to use a steamer to get the proper sticky rice texture.
- You can use the Instant Pot in a pinch. If you do, use the sauté function — not the pressure cooker function. This setting allows you to take the lid off to stir and check on the rice while cooking.
- If you’ve got a high-power blender or food processor, you can use it to make super-fast sesame sugar. Simply add all the ingredients into the blender and pulse until you’ve got a rough sand-like consistency.
Substitutions & Variations
- Some recipes for xoi dau phong tell you to boil the peanuts first before steaming them together with the rice. If you like a bit of crunch in your rice and peanuts, skip the initial boiling step and just cook the peanuts with the rice. If you prefer softer peanuts, boil them for 15-20 minutes before cooking them again with the rice.
- To make this dish extra creamy, add coconut milk. Stir 6 tablespoons of coconut milk into the rice when it’s almost done. Place the lid back onto the steamer and leave to cook for 5 minutes before serving.
- For a savory twist, replace the sweet sesame sugar topping with a fried egg and some scallions.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: If you have leftover Vietnamese sticky rice with peanuts, leave it to cool to room temperature then store it inside an air-tight container. You can keep it in the fridge for 5-7 days. The longer you chill it, the harder and drier the rice will become. So try and eat it as soon as you can.
Freezing: To freeze xoi dau phong, divide it into individual portions and place each serving into is own zip-loc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible to save space. Store the bags in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Reheating: To reheat, open up the container and place a wet paper towel on top. Microwave until hot. This should take around 1-2 minutes from chilled or 3-5 minutes from frozen.
The difference between the two is the starch content and how it affects the texture. The starch in white rice is made up of both amylopectin and amylose molecules. The starch in sticky rice is made up of only amylopectin.
When hot water or steam is added to the amylopectin molecules in sticky rice, they separate. This is what creates the iconic texture in Vietnamese sweet sticky rice.
Although they’re both sticky, sushi rice and sticky rice are two totally different things. Sushi rice contains amylose, so it isn’t as sticky as sticky rice. It’s also got a sourer, saltier taste. Sticky rice doesn’t contain any amylose and it’s got a much sweeter flavor.
I don’t recommend you substitute sushi rice for sticky rice in this recipe. You won’t get the same texture or flavor profile. If you don’t have sticky rice, see the substitution section for tips on how to replace it with regular white rice.
You can definitely eat the skin on peanuts! In fact, I think this is the best way to eat them. Skin-on peanuts are the type traditionally used in this Vietnamese recipe and it’s so much easier and faster to leave them on.
The loosest peanut skins will fall off the peanuts on their own during the soaking process. But if you really don’t want to eat the remaining skins, you can remove them by hand. I just don’t think it’s worth the hassle.
Looking For More?
Nothing is more satisfying and comforting than family recipes. For more authentic Vietnamese recipes from my family, try:
- Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage (Xoi Lap Xuong)
- Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Ca Ri Ga)
- Vietnamese Chayote Squash with Beef (Su Su Xao Thit Bo)
- Vietnamese Shrimp Toast
- Vietnamese Stir Fried Macaroni with Beef (Nui Xao Bo)
Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Peanuts (Xoi Dau Phong)
- Place rice and peanuts in separate bowls. Make sure the rice has enough room to expand. Then fill bowls with water until covered by 1-2 inches. Let soak for 6-8 hours, best if overnight.
- After soaking, drain both bowls thoroughly. Combine rice, peanuts, and salt together and remove any excess skins that have come off the peanuts.
- Line steamer basket with perforated parchment paper or cheesecloth. Add the rice into the steamer basket and flatten. To a large pot, add as much water as possible without it touching the bottom of the rice. Set the steamer basket aside and bring the water to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, place the steamer basket with rice inside the pot, cover with lid but leave a small crack, and steam for 45-55 minutes until rice is cooked. Stir every 15-20 minutes for even cooking. If top looks dry, pour a little water over the rice and keep steaming.
- To serve, let cool slightly and top with sesame sugar.
- If sesame seeds are not already toasted, toast them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until lightly golden. Stir often and keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Take off heat and let cool.
- Transfer sesame seeds to a zip-top bag or mortar and pestle. Grind with rolling pin, mallet, or pestle until finely crushed. It should look like coarse sand.
- Add crushed sesame seeds, sugar, and a very small pinch of salt to a bowl. Stir to mix.
- Short grain sweet rice can also be labeled as glutinous or sticky rice.
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