Xoi Lap Xuong is a Vietnamese staple! It's made with sticky glutinous rice and lap xuong, a sweet and salty Chinese sausage. The rice is seasoned with soy sauce and scallion oil, then topped with pork floss.
What is Xoi Lap Xuong?
Xoi translates to "sticky rice" and lap xuong is a type of Chinese sausage. Sticky rice is common throughout several Asian cuisines and can be applied in both savory or sweet meals. Know the sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves (Lo Mai Gai) at dim sum? Or the popular Thai dessert, sweet rice with mango? They're made from the same grain as this Vietnamese Sticky Rice!
Xoi Lap Xuong is a dish I grew up eating. I'd love waking up on the weekends to the smell of sweet rice steaming away. It pairs really well with the sweet, salty, and decadent Chinese sausage. The pork floss is my favorite part - it adds another layer of texture and salty umaminess. Finally, green onions add a pop of freshness that rounds out the dish.
The Best Sweet and Salty Dish
This Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage is a humble dish. You only need a couple ingredients and when combined, the flavors, texture, and aroma are incredible! While we most commonly eat this for breakfast, it's also great as a snack or full meal during lunch or dinner. You can also make a big batch to bring to holidays, parties, or potlucks. It's a total crowd pleaser and kids love it!
This dish calls for a couple specialty ingredients but most are easy to find these days!
- Short grain sweet rice: I love sweet rice for its sticky, glue-like texture.
- Chinese sausage: A sweet and salty sausage.
- Green onion and oil: Cooking the green onion for a couple seconds brings out more flavor.
- Soy sauce: Traditionally, this xoi is flavored with Maggi, a darker and more concentrated form of soy sauce. I usually don't have it on hand so I use soy sauce instead.
- Pork floss: This ingredient may sound unusual but it's basically dried pork that's been shredded. Don't be scared of it! It adds salt, umami, smokiness, and crisp texture. It can be sprinkled on top of congee like my Chao Ga, ramen, sweet breads, or eaten on its own as a snack.
Where Can I Find These Ingredients?
These are the brands I always get because it's the one my mom uses. Feel free to experiment with what you find!
Sweet rice: This is the brand my grandma used and the one that all my aunts, cousins, and I use. It can be labeled as glutinous, sweet, or sticky rice. Your best best is finding it at Asian markets or on Amazon.
Chinese Sausage: You'll find this bright red sausage in a vacuum-sealed package in the non-refrigerated aisles. I actually get mine from Costco! But you'll find this at almost any Asian market or on Amazon. I've seen Trader Joe's sell an Asian style sausage in the refrigerated section but I wouldn't recommend it.
Maggi: If you want to use Maggi instead of soy sauce, get the one with the red cap. Maggi is basically a concentrated soy sauce with more umami and saltiness. I've seen it at Costco, Asian markets, Amazon, and Whole Foods.
Pork Floss: This is probably the most obscure ingredient in this list. I've seen variations of it at Costco but my mom usually buys them homemade from Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) stores or small markets. You can find them at Asian markets, especially Vietnamese or Chinese ones, or on Amazon. The blue one is stringier with a chewier consistency while the red one is shorter, crispier, and has a little more seasoning.
How To Make Xoi Lap Xuong
A few simple steps and soon you'll have a delicious bowl of xoi!
- Soak the sticky rice. It's important to soak the rice for at least 4 hours, best if overnight. This allows the grain to swell and will ensure even moisture absorption.
- Steam the rice. White and brown rice is usually boiled in water, but that will ruin the sticky rice's texture. Instead, you should steam it stovetop or in the Instant Pot. Line a steamer basket with perforated parchment paper or cheesecloth and steam until tender, stirring every few minutes for even cooking.
- Warm the sausage. Let the residual heat of the rice warm the sausage.
- Make the "scallion oil". Microwave oil and green onions until bright green.
- Assemble. Season the rice with soy sauce (or Maggi), then combine with sausage, green onion, and pork floss.
- The cooked rice really does get sticky and can be difficult to handle after cooking. Make sure to line the steamer with parchment paper or cheesecloth, and to go up the sides too. Wet your tools and hands when handling the cooked rice.
- Cut the Chinese sausage very, very thin. It should look almost translucent.
- Don't use the rice cooker for this rice unless you have a specific setting for sticky rice. It's best to steam this rice to get the right texture.
- If steaming in the Instant Pot, use the Sauté function instead of pressure cooking it. This way, you can easily take the lid off to stir and check on the status of the rice.
If you have leftover Vietnamese Sticky Rice, store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. Over time, the rice can dry and harden so try not to leave it out for longer than necessary.
To reheat, place a wet paper towel over the top and microwave until heated through. You can also serve this at room temperature.
Add Your Own Twist
- Several versions of this recipe also includes chicken. Stir in shredded rotisserie chicken seasoned with soy sauce for more protein.
- Want a crispy topping? Add fried shallots or garlic for a hit of crunch.
- If you're looking for more umami flavor, add diced caramelized onions or rehydrate dried mushrooms to the rice.
- To make gluten-free Xoi Lap Xuong, use tamari soy sauce and omit the pork floss.
The main difference is in its starch content. White rice contains both amylopectin and amylose starch molecules, while sticky rice only has amylopectin. When hot water (or steam) interacts with amylopectin, the molecules separate to create a gelatinized, sticky texture.
No! Although sushi rice can be fairly sticky, it contains more amylose than sticky rice. It contains more moisture and has a slightly more sour and salty taste. Sticky rice, on the other hand, doesn't have any amylose, is sweeter, and much sweeter.
The cooking time will depend on how much rice you're making, the size of your pot, and the brand of rice you buy. Keep checking the rice in 10-15 minutes intervals and stir so the steam evenly cooks the rice. You'll know it's done by its texture - the rice should be completely cooked, soft, and chewy. The grains should easily separate but clump together. If the rice is mushy and pastey, it's overcooked.
Looking For More?
Most of the Asian recipes on this blog are ones either I or my husband grew up with! Check out some of our favorites:
- Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill (Cha Ca Thang Long)
- Kimchi Deviled Eggs
- Rabokki (Tteokbokki + Ramen)
- Kimchi and Pork Meatball Stew
- Better Than Takeout Shrimp Fried Rice
Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage (Xoi Lap Xuong)
- Add the sticky rice to a large bowl and cover with 3-4 inches of water. Let soak for 8 hours, best if overnight. Then drain.
- Line steamer basket with perforated parchment paper or cheesecloth. Add the rice into the steamer basket. 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 45-60 minutes until tender. Stir the rice every 15-20 minutes for even cooking. If top of rice looks dry, pour a little water over the rice and keep steaming.
- After the rice is cooked, turn off the heat. Place the Chinese sausage links on top of the rice, cover, and let sit for 5-10 minutes until lightly translucent and puffy. Then, thinly slice the sausage on a bias.
- In a small bowl, mix the green onion with oil. Microwave for 10-15 seconds.
- Add the soy sauce and green onion to the rice. Stir and season to taste.
- You can either lay all the ingredients out and have each person assemble their own bowl. Or stir everything together in a large bowl, then have extra pork floss and green onion on the side for topping.
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