Xoi Me – Sticky Rice w/ Sesame Seeds

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Xoi recipe. Xoi Me recipe.

Xoi, pronounced soy, is a category of Vietnamese cuisine that, with its world of flavor combinations, could be the topic of an entire blog itself.  Like stir fry dishes, Xoi can work with any blend of main ingredients that sound good to you and, more importantly, that you already have in your pantry.

What is Xoi?  Xoi is simply sticky rice, also known as sweet rice.  Sticky/sweet rice kernels are more opaque than traditional white rice, and they stick together once steamed.  Whipping up Xoi recipes requires a little more forethought, as the kernels need to be soaked in water overnight before steaming, but the process of making Xoi is otherwise quite simple.

We’ve already posted one hearty version of Xoi here in our Mom’s 52 series:  Xoi Lap Xuong – Sticky Rice w/ Chinese Sausage.  Today, we are going to explore a lighter Xoi recipe, one that can be eaten alone as a snack or for breakfast, or substituted for traditional rice in any meal.

Today’s Mom’s 52 recipe is Xoi Me – Sticky Rice w/ Sesame Seeds.  Here, the sesame seeds, or Me (pronounced may-uh) are toasted to really bring out a nutty flavor that seasons the Xoi.

Xoi Me – Sticky Rice w/ Sesame Seeds

INGREDIENTS – makes 3 servings

  • 2 C. sweet rice, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 C. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt



  1. Drain the sweet rice kernels.  Place them in the top basket of a steamer, with holes small enough so the rice does not fall through.  Gently spread the rice kernels, but leave a ring of open steamer holes around the rice to allow steam in.  Cover with the steamer lid.

    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    Make sure to leave open holes in the steamer basket so the steam can rise to cook the Xoi.
  2. Fill the lower level of the steamer with at least 2 inches of water. Begin to steam the sweet rice on medium heat.  Note the time.  IMPORTANT:  As you proceed through the next two steps, you will need to return to gently toss the steaming rice every 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pour 1/2 C. sesame seeds into a small skillet.  Using low heat, toast the sesame seeds by tossing the seeds constantly using a small spoon or chopsticks.  It will take about 5 minutes to lightly brown the sesame seeds and bring out their rich flavor and fragrant aroma.  Remove from heat.
    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    Sesame seeds, or Me, are a pale white color before toasting for Xoi Me.

    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    Toasted sesame seeds for your Xoi Me recipe should be a golden brown color.
  4. (Don’t forget to toss your steaming rice.)  Using a mortar & pestle, grind the sesame seeds to break them down a bit.  Alternatively, pulse them a few times in a small food processor.

    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    Grind the sesame seeds for Xoi Me just slightly, to further release the toasty flavor of the seeds.
  5. Once the rice has been steaming for 30 minutes, sprinkle 1 Tbsp. EVOO, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and 3/4 tsp. salt onto the rice.  Toss well to distribute these ingredients.  Cover the rice and steam for an additional 10 minutes (no need to toss during this time).
  6. For the final step, uncover the steamer once more, and add to the rice the toasted sesame seeds.  Toss well and steam a final 15 minutes (no need to toss during this time).  Remove from heat.  Enjoy!

    Xoi recipe.  Xoi Me recipe.
    The toasted sesame seeds turn the steamed sticky rice into a light auburn color, yielding delicious Xoi Me.

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