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Pandan Sticky Rice Recipe – Xoi La Dua

What Is Xôi Lá Dứa?

Xôi Lá Dứa, or pandan sticky rice, is a popular Vietnamese dish made from glutinous rice and pandan leaves. The leaves impart a unique flavor to the dish, creating an aromatic, sweet-salty taste that is familiar to many in the region. 

Xôi Lá Dứa is distinguished by its use of glutinous rice, a special type of rice that is inherently sticky, as opposed to regular rice which can be manipulated to become sticky. This particular rice provides the distinctive texture that characterizes the dish.

The standout ingredient in this dish is undoubtedly the fragrant pandan leaves, whose aroma is accentuated by the sweet undertones of coconut. This delightful combination is harmoniously unified by the comforting presence of warm sticky rice.

Ingredients Needed

  • Pandan fresh leaves – 10 leaves: In case you’re unable to secure fresh pandan leaves, don’t worry. You can readily substitute them with frozen pandan leaves. 
  • Pandan Extract – 1/4 tsp In addition to pandan leaves, it is crucial to use pandan extract to achieve the distinctive color and enhance the flavor of Xôi Lá Dứa. 
  • Glutinous rice – 2 cups: It’s important to note that regular rice won’t work for this recipe as it is not inherently sticky. 

Coconut sauce

  • Coconut milk – 1/2 can: To add a distinct sweetness to the dish that is essential in achieving the desired flavor profile.
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Additional topping

  • Shredded coconut
  • 3tsp minced peanut
  • 2tsp toasted sesame
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1.5tsp salt

Cooking Instructions 

Preparing the Pandan Paste

Begin preparing the pandan paste by cutting the pandan leaves into small pieces, ensuring they will fit comfortably in your blender. Combine the leaves and a cup of water in your blender, then blend until smooth. The resulting mixture will need to be strained. For this, you can use a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible. The resulting vibrant green liquid is your pandan paste. Then mix the pandan water with 1 tsp of salt and some drops of pandan extracts.

Preparing the Rice

Rinse the glutinous rice several times until all of the excess starch has been removed. 

Next, soak the rice in the prepared pandan mixture for about 2-4 hours, adding filtered water if needed to cover the rice. The longer the rice soaks, the less cooking time will be needed.

Prepare the Coconut sauce

Just simply combine the coconut milk, salt, and sugar in a small bowl.

Cooking the Rice (Using a Rice Cooker)

  • After the soaking process, drain the rice thoroughly. Add the drained rice into the bowl of your rice cooker. 
  • To prevent the sticky rice from burning and to enhance the aroma of the pandan, it’s a good idea to line the bottom of the pot with a few pandan leaves. This will act as a barrier between the heat source and the rice, and also give an extra infusion of that distinctive pandan flavor.
  • Add enough filtered water to the marked point of the rice cooker pot that corresponds to your rice amount. 
  • Turn on the rice cooker and let it cook. Most rice cookers switch to a ‘keep warm’ setting automatically once the rice is done. Allow the rice to sit in the ‘keep warm’ state for 10-15 minutes to enhance the stickiness of the rice. 
  • Add the coconut milk and grated coconut to the cooked sticky rice and mix well. Continue cooking for approximately another 5 minutes, allowing all the flavors to meld together. After this, your Xôi Lá Dứa is ready to enjoy.
  • Remember not to lift the lid during the cooking process. This will allow the steam to escape, affecting the quality of the glutinous rice. Once cooked, use the rice paddle to fluff up the rice gently, ensuring the heat evenly spreads throughout.

Cooking the Rice (Using a Steamer)

If you don’t have a rice cooker, using a steamer is an excellent alternative for making pandan sticky rice. After soaking the rice in the pandan mixture as previously described, drain it thoroughly. 

  • Prepare your steamer by filling it with water until it reaches a level that will not splash into your rice during steaming. 
  • Line the steaming basket with pandan leaves to prevent the rice from sticking and infuse additional pandan aroma into the rice. Place the drained rice on top of the pandan leaves.
  • Cover the steamer and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the rice steam for about 20-30 minutes. You’ll know the rice is cooked when it becomes transparent and the individual grains stick to each other.
  • After the rice has cooked, the next step is to mix the grated coconut with the coconut milk. This mixture will be used to add a rich, creamy layer to the cooked pandan sticky rice. 
  • After the rice is done, let it rest for about 10 minutes before fluffing it with a fork or rice paddle. This will allow the moisture to redistribute and enhance the stickiness of the rice.
  • Remember to check the water level in your steamer from time to time and replenish it if necessary.

Making Salted Sesame Peanut – Đậu Muối Mè

If you want to fully savor the flavors, you can easily make a salted sesame peanut topping to elevate the dish. Simply mix 3 tsp of minced peanuts with toasted sesame seeds and a dash of salt. This crunchy, savory topping adds a delightful contrast to the soft, sticky rice, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Finishing Touches

Once your Xôi Lá Dứa is ready, top it with the salted sesame peanut mix and let the flavors mingle. Now you can enjoy this classic Vietnamese dish with a modern twist! The sticky texture of the rice combined with the fragrant pandan aroma and sweet coconut is sure to take you on a culinary journey that will tantalize your taste buds! Enjoy! 

Tips for Perfect Xôi Lá Dứa

  • For best results, use only high-quality pandan leaves that are fresh and fragrant. 
  • Soaking the rice for at least four hours will help to ensure it cooks evenly and has a smooth texture. 
  • When adding the pandan leaves, make sure they are cut into small pieces to ensure even flavor throughout the dish. 
  • Be careful not to overcook the sticky rice, as this can cause it to become mushy and lose its texture. 
  • For a unique twist, try adding in other ingredients such as coconut milk or mung beans to the dish for extra flavor. 
  • Remember to taste everything and adjust according to your preference.

Storage Tips

Xôi Lá Dứa is best enjoyed fresh, but it can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. To store it properly, make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. This will help keep the flavors intact and prevent the rice from drying out. Reheat the sticky rice in a microwave or on the stove before serving to achieve its original flavor and texture. 

If you’re unsure whether you will finish all the sticky rice, don’t mix all the rice with the coconut milk. If you do so, you’ll be unable to store the remaining sticky rice in the refrigerator and will need to consume it all in one meal.


Xôi Lá Dứa is a traditional Vietnamese dish that is easy to make and packed with flavor. The pandan leaves give the sticky rice its unique aroma, while the salt adds a subtle sweetness-saltiness that complements many other dishes. With these tips, you can master this delicious side dish and impress your family and friends with your cooking skills! 

The versatility of Xôi Lá Dứa makes it a great dish to make for any occasion. Whether you are sharing it with family and friends or bringing it along as a potluck dish, everyone will love this aromatic and flavorful traditional Vietnamese dish. So the next time you’re looking for something unique to make, why not give Xôi Lá Dứa a try? You won’t be disappointed! 


What Can I Use Instead Of Pandan Leaves? 

You can use pandan paste or essence to infuse the sticky rice with a milder aroma. However, for the best flavor and aroma, it is recommended to use fresh pandan leaves if possible. 

How Can I Make Xôi Lá Dứa Vegan? 

To make the dish vegan, replace the coconut milk with soy milk or almond milk. This will keep it dairy-free and make it suitable for vegans. 

What Other Ingredients Can I Add To Xôi Lá Dứa

You can try adding mung beans, black-eyed peas or coconut milk for extra flavor and texture. Just remember to adjust the salt level accordingly. You can also add in diced mango, lychee, or pineapple for a sweet and fruity twist! 

How Can I Make Xôi Lá Dứa Healthier?

If you want to make it a healthier option, replace the coconut milk with light coconut milk or almond milk and use jasmine brown rice instead of white sticky rice. You can also reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe for a more balanced taste. Alternatively, you can replace the sweetener with natural substitutes such as maple syrup or honey. All these modifications will make your Xôi lá Dứa a healthier version without sacrificing on flavor. 

Can I Freeze Xôi Lá Dứa?

You can freeze Xôi lá Dứa if it is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container. However, the texture of the sticky rice may change upon thawing, so it is best to consume within two months for optimal taste and texture. Reheat in a microwave or on the stove before serving for best results.