Xoi Mau – Bright Vietnamese Sticky Rice

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Xoi recipe. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe. Xoi Mau recipe.

Do not adjust your screen – this week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is intended to be this bright and orange!  Xoi Mau – Bright Vietnamese Sticky Rice is often the first type of xoi (sticky rice) a Vietnamese person ever tastes, likely in childhood.  Maybe that’s why this dish is colored so brightly – to appeal to children?  There’s no clear explanation as to why the traditional version is so brightly colored, but another good hypothesis is because Xoi Mau is often served at festive events, like birthdays or holidays.  There are other variations of Xoi Mau in bright purple or bright green, but those usually relate to their respective flavors of taro and pandan (Vietnamese vanilla).  If you have flavored extracts on hand, a few drops of those added to the rice before steaming could yield some fun variations of this recipe.

It’s time to bust out the food coloring to have a little fun making Xoi Mau!

Xoi Mau – Bright Vietnamese Sticky Rice

INGREDIENTS – makes 3 servings

  • 2 C. sweet rice, soaked overnight at least 12 hours, then drained
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 drops red food color
  • 7 drops yellow food color
  • 1.5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. oil (olive or vegetable)



  1. Place the soaked, drained sweet rice into a large bowl.  Add the salt and mix well.
  2. Combine the red and yellow food color in a large spoon to make orange food color.  Pour the orange food color onto the sweet rice.  Mix well to spread the food color all over the sweet rice evenly.
  3. Spread the orange sweet rice into a steamer basket, leaving a ring of holes around the rice to allow steam to rise from the water basket below.

    Xoi recipe. Vietnamese sticky rice recipe. Xoi Mau recipe.
    A stacked steamer is needed for this recipe, with a steamer basket stacked on top of a water pot. These are inexpensive at many Asian markets. The holes need to be small enough so the rice does not fall through.
  4. Cover the steamer basket, and place it on top of the water basket that’s been filled 1/3 of the way with hot water.  Use medium heat to steam the rice for 40 minutes.  Gently toss the rice twice during this time.
  5. After 40 minutes, sprinkle the sugar and oil onto the rice, and gently toss the rice to incorporate these ingredients.  Cover and steam an additional 20 minutes, which gets the rice to a perfectly sticky consistency.  That’s it!  Serve as an appetizer or as an easy breakfast.  Enjoy!

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