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How to make vietnamese xoi vo

Updated on November 18, 2014
  • Nếu bạn là người Việt thì làm ơn kéo xuống dưới phần đường link đẫn đến bài của mình bằng tiếng Việt, (If you are Vietnamese, please jump to the link at the end of this page for my Vietnamese version on the press)
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xoi vo
xoi vo | Source

Xôi vò is vietnamese mung bean coasted sticky rice.

Xôi: steamed sticky rice
Vò: rubbing and fluffing

Traditionally, we use hands to rub and fluff steamed sticky rice with cooked mung bean's powder to separate rice grains from one another. That how it's named Xôi Vò.

There are translation of xôi vò as steamed sticky rice with mung bean. This is confusing because, apart from xôi vò, we have xôi đỗ xanh and xôi xéo which are also the combination of sticky rice and green mung bean. While it's obvious that đỗ xanh means green mung bean; I do not know exactly what xéo mean. In general, xéo means step on something by accident. So I guess, there must be a story behind it such as somebody by accident jumped on Xôi Vò so rice grains sticked together in groups (typical xôi xéo, rice by groups); or some one made xôi vò but didn't success and called it xôi xéo as the subordinate, the lower class of xôi vò.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
xoi vo, rice grain in full rich shapexoi vo, rice grains are separated from one another.
xoi vo, rice grain in full rich shape
xoi vo, rice grain in full rich shape | Source
xoi vo, rice grains are separated from one another.
xoi vo, rice grains are separated from one another. | Source
xoi vo, rice grains separated from one another
xoi vo, rice grains separated from one another | Source

Xôi vò used to be a sophisticated dish, as many other traditional dish that require skills and attention, it represented the cook. In general, xoi vo associated to typical traditional Vietnamese woman, the master of Vietnamese kitchen, the author of scrumptious xoi vo. Perfect xoi vo has rice grains separated from one another; each has its full shape as a ripen grape; lightly coated with mung bean's powder. Scrumptious xoi vo looks inviting and tastes beautifully.

In this hub, I am going to introduce an easy xoi vo recipes. Before knowing this, it took me so much time and hustle, now it's simple.

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 4-6 servings


  • 2 cups (400g, 14oz) good sticky rice, we prefer Nep Cai Hoa Vang type
  • 1 cup green mung bean
  • 1 tsp salt
  • chicken fat, (optional)
xoi vo ingredients
xoi vo ingredients | Source

Xoi vo in 4 steps

Step 1:

Soak sticky rice and mung bean in cold water overnight, or at least 8 hours. When at whim, you can soak them in warm water (40-50 celsius degree) for two hours.

Step 2:

Place chõ xôi (steamer) over the high heat and bring to rolling boil.

While waiting for it to boil, drain and rinse soaked sticky rice and mung bean (above) under cold running water, toss to get rid of residual water.
Place the mung bean aside and mix rice with salt.

I didn’t do any research about why do we need to mix rice with salt, but traditionally we do that, and without this step, xôi just tasted bland regardless sweet or savoury type. So please mix salt with sticky rice, whichever dish you cook.

When the steamer’s ready, pour in drained mung bean and put the lid back on. After few minutes, lift the lid and create few vertical holes so mung bean will be consistently cooked. Occasionally lift the lid to get rid of the evaporated water to prevent mung bean turn mushy.

When mung bean start to lose its shape, and if you place one between your fingers and squeeze; it becomes powder; It’s ready.

Step 3:

Transfer mung bean into a container, use a mortar to pound it repeatly. You’ll see that they will be pressed together but also become smaller. Use a spatula to stir up and make our desire powder.

If you have a blender, take advantage of it.

Step 4:

Mix the mung bean powder with sticky rice. Steam this mixture as we did with mung bean for about 20 minutes. When the rice grain look full and if you squeeze one between your fingers, you make it a consistent dough which stick together but not to your hand. It’s perfectly cooked.

If it’s undercooked, you feel a hard bit in the middle of the rice grain
If it’s overcooked, it loses its form and likely to mess your fingers when you squeeze it.

Transfer it into a large tray or large container; Toss or turn to get rid of the hot steam so rice grains will not stick together again.

The whole point is to make rice grain lightly dusted with mung bean powder, fully rich looking like a ripen grape and separated from one another.

It’s your option to use chicken fat. We mix chicken fat with steamed sticky rice because we want to add richness and flavour to the finally dish, also to prevent the grain drying out. You might consider trying butter, sesame oil or olive oil.

If you want xoi vo to have bright yellow colour, like in restaurant, you can soak sticky rice in water mixed with turmeric powder.

I hope you’ll find this informative, easy to understand and useful. If you have any better tricks, please share.

Happy cooking!

Points to remember:

  • do not overcook green mung bean, a bit undercook is safer
  • mix rice with salt
  • do not overcook/undercook rice
  • water level in the steamer is important: Too low (too little water) will not produce enough steam; Too high, boiled water it will go up into the upper part and mush the mung bean or/and sticky rice.

5 stars from 2 ratings of this recipes

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